Getting Back on the Horse

When I was growing up and faced frustrations with things like not making a sports team or not getting a grade I wanted my mom would say, “When you fall off the horse, you brush yourself off and get back on. That way you prove to yourself and the horse that you mean to stay.”

I remember getting locked in a battle of wills with a little pinto pony named Wea Queen. She was powerfully compact, quick and smart. She threw me when I tried to take her over a jump in the middle of the ring. I went up and over her head as she stopped dead in her tracks at the base of a small jump. I brushed myself off, looked her in the eye, and climbed back on. My determination belied my fear — this horse really had my number (also something my mom used to say).

My coach moved the jump to the outside of the ring and told me to just keep Wea coming around the ring and over the jump. I focused and with every way I had of communicating with her told Wea we were going over that jump. I firmed the grip of my legs on her girth. I “picked up” the reins so there was no slack and I could feel her mouth. I squeezed with my calves, urging her to pick up a nice canter.

Wea responded to my resolve with purpose. Her gate became smooth and she glided over the jump. Every time I took her over the jump, my coach would raise it a rung. What a pleasure Wea was to ride! With the jump poised at the top rung, I swung around and felt the strap on my stirrup break. I meant to stay. So, I gripped with my knees, gave her her head and took Wea over the jump.

Just a few months after losing 97 pounds and hitting my goal weight, I am trying to get back on the horse. In the face of major lifestyle changes, we’re all bound to fall off the horse at some point. The difference between getting left in the dust or sailing over the jump is in how we get back on the horse.

Seven years into the Healthy Incentives program, we are surrounded by inspiring people who have improved their health and maintained weight loss, exercise routines and a new focus on healthy eating. So, I asked some of them how to get back on the horse. In the next few blog posts I’ll share what they said.

First, from Jessica Santos with the King County Sheriff. Jessica was one of our first Health Heroes and continues to inspire.

“I have to say I’m blessed to work with such fabulous and supportive co-workers and supervisors.  My Major found me my local gym and scored an awesome monthly rate for me and I work out with my Sgt. and co-worker.  But even the with the best intentions I have found myself slowly slipping.  So just today, I teamed up with a fellow detective and we committed to logging in our daily food/calories.  We are joined together in an online food tracking program called Lose It.  We log in our food and we can see how each other are doing throughout the day.  Wish us luck.”

Are there weight management or fitness apps you use that you would recommend?

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