At 42 years old I found myself pregnant with my 3rd child after having remarried after 7 years as a single mom. Between running Wellpath and raising two children, I was always able to find the time to make fitness a priority whether it was walking to work every day or hitting the gym. In fact, letting up on my healthy lifestyle was never an option for me given what I preach to my clients every day. But with my 3rd child I stopped all exercise out of fear that I would lose the pregnancy. Guess what? I gained 60 lbs. In fact, out of honor, I probably should have named our boy Ben or Jerry. I actually weighed more than my husband by the time I delivered “Cole”.
The week after Cole was born, we moved Wellpath 10 blocks south to 903 Madison Ave where we are on the fourth floor. I was so out of shape, walking up the stairs was nearly impossible for me. I had never been this out of shape my entire life. Hearing everyone’s 3rd child “My body just didn’t bounce back like the first two” stories I feared that I had gotten myself into a hole that I would not be able to get out of. I worried about how I was going to inspire my clients to lose weight and get fit if I myself couldn’t do it. Between pumping, seeing clients, and rushing home to be with the baby, my new husband and my other 2 children WHERE was I going to find the time to lose SIXTY pounds? Panic nearly started to set in. That’s when I discovered hiking.
Hiking has been my salvation in the non-stop chaos of my life. It started with a little hike a block from our home in Riverdale. The baby was only a few days old when I put him in the front pack, grabbed the dog, my two older children and a hiking stick to help me along and headed out to a little 3/4 mile trail on the Hudson River. We were all so happy being outdoors……and 1 hour of exercise passed like it was 10 min. I was hooked and I had no idea it would take me where I find myself today. After a few times we outgrew this “starter” trail and I found a book called The 50 Best Hikes in NYC. After 10 years in NYC, I cannot believe that I didn’t know about the expanse of wilderness that lives within an hour of NYC. Every weekend I would pack up all the kids and the dog and take on one trail after another, each adventure hiking 3-5 hours of hiking up and down the trails in the woods of New York. Depending on the terrain, and with carrying the baby, I was burning up thousands of calories and enjoying every second of it. My muscle mass started increasing which was speeding up my metabolism, and the pounds just started melting off. It was hard but it was infinitely more enjoyable than hours in the gym.
It took a year of hard work and discipline to get all the weight off, but I did it and the added bonus was that I found my biggest passion in life after my family and my work with women. I am so passionate about the hiking that in 2012, my husband and I decided to take on section hiking the entire Appalachian Trail….all 2180 miles by my 50th birthday. Most vacations are spent on the trail 3-8 days at a time conquering between 30-110 miles with each section. One section called the “Maryland Challenge” (Hiking the entire length of the AT in Maryland) we completed in 1 day, a total of 42 miles. It took us 16 1/2 hours. We did it in February and we spent almost half of it in the dark because of the shortened days. In our first year of hiking we completed 410 miles.
I have loved sharing my adventures with my clients who are always so supportive and enthusiastic about my pursuits. Wellpath really has become an extended family for me over the last 13 years. More than a few clients showed serious interest in the hiking, but their most common comment was “I would like to try it, but I don’t know how to get started.” So when I asked if anyone would like to join me on a day hike or even an overnight and the response was so positive, I decided that I would integrate a hiking program into Wellpath’s “Wellness” path.
We will be offering 1 day hike a month starting in the late winter and 1 overnight hike once a quarter starting in the spring to let everyone get up to speed before they dive into a tent. All of the hikes will be lead by myself. It will be fully instructional, teaching the basics of hiking and backpacking so that you can strike out on your own right away confident in the skills you acquire.
All proceeds from the hiking will go to one of our charities that we support (see Ask the Dr.)
So stay tuned for the launch of our hiking program and do not hesitate to contact us with any questions at any time.
“Do not go where the path might lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Dr. Jame’ aka “Pigtails”
FUNDRAISING ON THE TRAIL
My passion in High School was to finish and join the Peace Corps. I had started volunteering in various venues early in Junior High, and it had a trememdous impact on me, enough that I wanted to commit my entire life to one of serving the underserved. Due to a profound life event, I felt I had to change gears and focus on serving in a way that gave me some financial independence and stability, so I became a Doctor. I rationalized that I could keep my mission of helping the underserved through medicine. And for 3 years of my residency, that is exactly what I did. I served in a low income community clinic and it was an amazing time in my life to feel like I was sharing my fortunate life with those less fortunate. Although I was invited to stay on there long term, I knew that the politics and closemindedness of our medical establishment would make me feel like I wouldn’t be able to practice freely and provide the best care for my patients. It was a difficult decision.
It was then that another life bomb got dropped on me and I had to face the reality of supporting my two young children alone. While I always believed that there are many ways to heal people, I never would have thought that owning a successful Upper East side Medical spa would be the venue to satisfy my deep urge to serve the underserved. And joining Doctors without Borders or something similar was completely out of the question as a single mom of 2 young children. I figured, I would bide my time, focus on raising a couple good human beings, while working at inspiring a wonderful and diverse group of Wellpath women and eventually revisit my passion to serve when my children were grown.
But, now that I have a 3rd munchkin, making any huge leaps is looking further away. So, I am hoping to get involved one child at a time by raising money for the thing that I am most grateful for……..my 2 legs and the physical fitness to pursue my athletic passions. I have adopted ATLSO, A Leg To Stand On, a charity that provides prosthetic limbs to impoverished children, so they can be mobile, independent and contibutors to their communities and their families. For just $250 a child can get a prosthetic leg. I can’t imagine how tragic it would be for me to lose my mobility. I can’t imagine how life would be as a child to not be able to run and play with your friends. Not to mention, the stigma.
Please help Dave and I give some kids some limbs. We will do the hiking. All you have to do is give us a pledge for whichever hike we are about to do. And if anyone is interested in doing the hiking with us……..we would be thrilled to share this life changing activity with you. Hiking the Appalachian Trail in its entirety will take 5 more years at about 333 miles per year. Think of how many children’s lives we can change over that time!!
Please follow us on twitter @pigtailspiratek and on our facebook page Pigtails & The Pirate King
Thank you for your love support and enthusiasm.
Pigtails & The Pirate King