As I often say to my son: Life is a series of transitions.
This time last year I celebrated a major milestone. I had exercised at least five times a week for 52 consecutive weeks. I was in perhaps the best shape of my life, and I immediately committed to another year of fitness and health.
Halfway through my personal challenge, my dad passed away.
He died the day after his 80th birthday and just a few weeks before Thanksgiving and Christmas. During this time of intense emotion, stress, and grief, my workouts were a salvation.
Then a few months later, the fitness community that I had belonged to for 3 years was abruptly dissolved. For the first time in a long time, I was without a trainer, and the vibrant community of women who had supported me and inspired me was gone too.
It was another death in the family.
My old trainer used to say that her goal was that each of us would become our own guru. If we could eventually turn to ourselves for knowledge and guidance, then she would be a successful teacher.
For the first few weeks after my fitness community vanished, I clung to the familiar. I cobbled together old workouts and meal plans and tried to continue like nothing had changed. That could only last so long.
My 52-week workout goal started to seem stupid. I thought about quitting a lot. Then I thought about why I started working out in the first place.
Three years ago I was really overweight and scared that I would develop diabetes.
Diabetes had contributed to the deaths of my grandfather, father, and favorite uncle. Sometimes my mom can barely walk because of the pain diabetes causes in her feet.
I remembered how I wanted to be a healthy role model for my son—in every way that I could. I thought about growing old with my husband.
I had to find my own motivation and become my best advocate. I rediscovered my love of yoga, Pilates, and running. I nourished myself and my family with nutritious and delicious food.
I ate a lot of cookies too.
I was not perfect, but I kept trying.
It’s June 2016, and here I am again. I have completed a full year of fitness. I am not in the best shape of my life. But I do feel strong, confident, and comfortable in my own skin.
My Smoked Salmon & Summer Berry Salad is adapted from a recipe from the now defunct fitness community, For the Glow. If your fruit is really sweet, you may want to dial down the sweetness of the dressing. If you’re craving some creaminess, add some diced avocado. You can also add cheese—feta, chevre, or even some knobs of cream cheese would work. Kite Hill Cheese makes a great dairy-free ricotta. Adjust this salad to what you need and want.
You know best. If not now, you will.
Smoked Salmon & Summer Berry Salad
- 4-8 ounces smoked salmon chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 4 cups mixed greens of your choice
- 1 small orange, segmented
- ¼ cup fresh blueberries
- ¼ cup fresh raspberries
- 2 tablespoons walnuts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon coconut nectar (or liquid sweetener of your choice–honey, agave, etc.)
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients and set aside. (If you add chia seeds, the dressing will become thick as the seeds absorb moisture.)
Because raspberries can be delicate, I like to make this salad in layers with no tossing. Put 2 cups of the greens in a large bowl. Add half of the blueberries, raspberries, orange segments, smoked salmon, and 1 tablespoon walnuts. Cover with the remaining 2 cups of greens and place the remaining fruit and nuts on top. Generously pour the dressing over the salad.
This recipe makes a generous meal for one person or a side salad for two.