While I typically share my thoughts on life and cooking in my recipe posts, I hope you don’t mind a bit of a behind the scenes look at some non-food related aspects of my life.
I’m often asked how it is that I develop food, test recipes, and manage to keep my figure. It’s definitely not because I spend an hour each day at the gym with a personal trainer, have the metabolism of a 14 year old, or deprive myself of “forbidden” foods. Instead, I believe it has everything to do with the type of foods I eat and not living a sedentary life.
Finding happiness with food has been a journey on itself. Plus, after 3 kids, my body doesn’t respond to exercise like it did in my 20s. Exercise is what I do to take a break from the daily stress of working full-time, writing cookbooks, running a company, and being a wife and mother.
Although I began to swim at the age of 15 in Germany, I didn’t really know how to swim. As an overweight teen I needed a way to exercise for weight loss that did not require coordination or athletic abilities. The public swimming pool was a bus ride away and admission was only 2 Deutch Marks (about $1.50 at the time). I had never swam in my life but I knew how to breast-stroke.
The first week was tough. I only managed to swim for fifteen minutes before being exhausted. The second week I swam twenty minutes, then thirty, and I consistently added time every time I got in the water. Eventually, I was able to swim for an hour and I loved my pool time. Once I came back to the States I didn’t have access to a lap pool, so I sadly took a twenty year break from swimming.
Everything changed last year, when I got tired of all the group exercise classes at our gym. I found myself stuck on a workout rut and finding every excuse to not work out consistently. On a whim, I decided to take adult swim lessons to learn how to breathe efficiently, work on technique and other strokes, as well as create workouts that wouldn’t be repetitive.
Sure, the physical activity and the nature of swimming is amazing for my back. But most importantly, swimming provides the quiet time my mind really needs. When I’m in the water I’m not thinking about work, deadlines, my kids, or my to-do list. The world quiets around me and all I can focus is on the next stroke and taking the next breath.
With each swim workout my mind is renewed and my spirit is recharged. When I get home I feel refreshed and alert. I can’t say that I’ve been able to find that with any other type of workout.
My girl is also not very athletic so when she took on swimming this year I was surprised. Swimming comes easily to her (although she works very hard) and she loves it. So in the end, swimming has come full circle.
One of the things I’ve learned in the last year is that swimming isn’t just for kid leagues, high school, college, and professional athletes. Swimming is amazing for adults too! In the last year, I’ve met other adults who love the pool. Some got in the pool and just went at it, others took a couple of adult lessons like me.
After I shared a couple of swim pictures on Instagram, FINIS began to encourage me. After I learned about some of their incredible community outreach efforts, I instantly wanted to support them back. I specifically love their So More Can Swim initiative. From adult swim lessons to goggles for kids, their goal is to support to organizations that help make swimming more accessible.
If you are looking for a way to reduce stress, find a quiet place for yourself, or a new form of exercise, I hope you give swimming a try. My only regret is that I waited twenty years to get back in the pool.