I’m in a little bit of denial that my Commit to Fit year is nearing the end. It’s been such a wonderful year of good work with Billy and Sarah, but because it’s been such a huge year of changes in my life outside of the program, it sort of feels like I’m just getting started.

When I started the program, my son was six months old. Now he’s nearly 18 months - walking, talking, sleeping through the night, and exploring the world independently. I’ve gotten both stronger and faster - important for keeping up with a toddler! - and also probably have more energy, though it’s hard to tell, because being a single parent of a toddler is just exhausting by definition.

In taking stock of my year, I’m noticing the changes beyond the numbers on the scale and measuring tape. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Posture: One of the things Billy frequently says as I train is “headrest”, which is shorthand for “Imagine yourself sitting up straight in the seat of a car and pushing the middle of your head back into the headrest.” And I find myself doing this outside of the gym as well, making a small correction so I’m not hunching forward or jutting my chin out in a way that constricts my neck. This correction, in addition to the strength I’ve build in my shoulders, upper and mid-back, have really made a difference in how I hold myself in my daily activities. I feel more balanced and confident moving through the world.

  • Flexibility: I’ve always been very flexible throughout much of my body, easily moving in and out of positions others find challenging, like splits and forward bends. As I’ve become stronger, however, I’m finding myself less flexible. Both Billy and my yoga teacher Kristie have commented on this and explained that this is a result of my muscles getting stronger and losing the hypermobility that was actually a result of the weakness in my muscle tissue. Though there’s a part of me that misses that “achievement” of being able to move in those ways, I’m still more than flexible enough for my daily life (and my yoga practice) and am glad to know that this loss is actually a positive change.

In general, I’m really thrilled with my progress over the course of the year. And I’ve learned what is perhaps the most important lesson of the year, which is that even when I’m sleep-deprived and exhausted and have child care challenges and am far too busy with work and raising my son, there’s still time for exercise and healthy food choices. I still managed, despite the challenges, to show up for my appointments with Billy and Sarah, to buy and cook healthy food, and to get some exercise every day. I also managed to prove to myself that I could sustain this during my travels, even when I wasn’t seeing Billy and Sarah every week, and I know that as I move through my time after the program, I can remind myself of this.

I’m hoping to inspire other new parents, too, that even when you are exhausted and overwhelmed, it’s important to take care of your own health, fitness and nutrition. Working on this is a way to sustain your family and set a good example for your children. I’m really glad to have had this chance to learn these lessons, and am looking forward to using these last few weeks in the program to map out a plan for moving forward with the rest of my life.