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Focus on Fitness with Julie Kenney, V

Published: 12/14/2016
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Editor’s Note: Julie Kenney runs Blackberry Farm in Harpswell, Maine. She’s an avid, thoughtful horsewoman and a life-long learner. When we heard that she was making changes and taking strides to be healthier and fitter, we knew she’d be a welcome addition to our Focus on Fitness. Although she wrote that publicly documenting her progress is much harder than she realized, we’re thrilled she’s said, “Yes!”

Read Part I

Read Part II

Read Part III

Read Part IV

By Julie Kenney

It was bound to happen.
My 47-year-old body decided that it was time for something to break down.  Apparently, my right knee wants an early retirement.  I’m not ready for that.

A few months ago, my right knee started giving me lots of pain indicators.  I cut out the jogging five days a week, babied the knee at work, and rested it when I could.  It got better. 

Over the course of the fall, I adjusted my workouts and changed them up, only jogging once or twice a week.  I was reminded that I truly dislike doing indoor workouts.

Just recently, my knee again flared up with swelling and high pain indicators and I was forced to make an appointment with an orthopedic doctor.  I’m now scheduled for an MRI and follow-up orthopedic doctor visit. 
The good news is that from the initial x-rays, my bones are aligned correctly with lots of space between the bones indicating normal cushioning with no signs of arthritis.  The MRI will serve to check on all the soft tissue in my knee, including the meniscus (which most likely is the culprit here).

I actually have more good news.  Even though I’ve experienced a decrease in aerobic activity the past few months, my body weight is holding steady.  My new healthy eating habits have, in fact, become a good habit.  I am truly thankful.

Depression is a real mental disorder that can undermine any positive change you are trying to make in your life.  Other people surrounding you can contribute to depression by being negative, but your worst enemy regarding depression can be yourself.

I admit, there were a few days that I realized I was feeling defeated and then I worried that the pounds would come back on my body, as they so easily have done in the past.  I had worked so hard at shedding the weight and I didn’t want to backslide in my endeavors to live healthier. 

In addition, I had given all my old, larger-sized clothing to the local Salvation Army.  I would have nothing to wear if I started to increase in size. That would not be pretty!

My new goal over the next few months is to get my knee as physically healthy as possible and to maintain my current weight.  I am purposely looking to plateau my weight.  So many diets fail at this point as people get depressed when they plateau. Then the downward spiral of unhealthy eating begins and lost pounds are found again, often adding back more pounds than were originally lost.

After my knee understands it will not be retiring anytime soon, I am looking ahead to continue shedding additional inches from my body and reducing my clothing size at least once more.  I have the faith, determination, and healthy habits that will see me through this challenge.

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12/15/2016 Dr. Steve Peters
Julie, I love that your healthy eating has become a habit. So many people go on diets that they struggle to maintain for a period of time and once they reach their goal, go right back to their old ways or they give in and binge. If you make the lifestyle change, you can just continue eating but eating healthy. It does take discipline because America wants to sell you fast, processed foods and it can be hard to find support. I am so pleased that you decided to share your experience and to motivate others. Living a healthy life is the best gift you can give yourself, your family and your horses. Way to go!
12/20/2016 Christina
It is hard work to make changes in our lives and easy to get bogged down by a set back or a negative perception of where you are in your journey. I really love your positive attitude! The power of positive thinking allows us to achieve anything. Keep up the great work!
12/21/2016 Mom
Love your articles. I Just re-read them all. You're doing such a great job. Take care of that knee.

"While there are many things you can fake in life, pretending that you know horses when you don't isn't one of them" - Cooky McClung