BY: Sarah Donnangelo TSMMA Ramsey
“…to date I have lost 34 pounds, dropped three dress sizes, and have increased my strength and flexibility.”
I have dealt with the impact of chronic illnesses on my life since I was five years old, namely difficult to control diabetes from the time I started school to severe arthritis resulting in bilateral knee replacements and two elbow surgeries before the age of 43. These issues have also contributed to my longstanding battle in managing a healthy weight. But almost a year ago, I made a decision that has changed my life. After going to a routine doctor’s appointment and stepping on the scale, I finally took that first step. I left my doctor’s office frustrated with myself and drove directly to Ramsey TSMMA. For months, I had been thinking about taking one of the introductory classes that I had seen advertised, but I always seemed to have an excuse not to go in and check it out. Well, that was the day. I spoke honestly with Sensei Rapoport about my physical limitations, as I wanted to know whether it was reasonable for me to consider kickboxing as a way of helping me reach my personal goals of weight reduction and stress management. He reassured me that everyone works on his or her own level and modifications could easily be made to accommodate special needs
So I jumped in with two feet and have not looked back.
“Even on days that are challenging and my last thought is to go kickboxing, I am always happier at the end of our class.”
I may not have the natural skill of others, but I do have determination and perseverance that has helped me throughout my life. I now attend kickboxing classes four times each week and can do things that I never could have imagined, including punches, kicks, crunches, and, most recently, push-ups. Even on days that are challenging and my last thought is to go kickboxing, I always feel better physically and emotionally at the end of the class hour. I have learned that it is very important to make myself a priority, and kickboxing is a significant part of how I am going about accomplishing this. I still have a long way to go in terms of reaching my ultimate weight loss goal, but, to date, I have lost 34 pounds, dropped three dress sizes, and I have increased my strength and flexibility. Even more important is that with each new doctor’s appointment the medical professionals who have known me for years are amazed by the improvements in my blood work as well as my general health. Their words of wisdom:
“Keep up the great work and continue doing whatever you are doing.”
I still face the everyday challenges that life throws my way; however, my determination coupled with the support of my family and constant encouragement of staff and students at Ramsey TSMMA have brought me a long way. Believe me, if I can do this, ANYONE can do this. It has changed my life and my future!