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In a week and a half I'll test for my Red Belt in Taekwondo. This represents a rank that I've long been intimidated by, and still am slightly. It's well beyond my initial goal when I began. The amount of material required for red belt testing is more than any rank I've advanced so far. Throw in a bunch of dive rolls and board breaking, and I still have a few things to pass off before testing, but I'm far enough along to know that it will all come together for testing.
This shows just the advanced belts, there are 12 belts total. If I keep testing at every opportunity, I'll be black belt recommended in December (I'm not sure when my final black belt testing will be). Basically everything I learn now is in preparation for black belt testing. It gets intense at this point, with more self defense demos coming up, as well as the sparring requirements. I began taekwondo just because I expected it to be hard, I wanted a challenge, something new. I didn't expect it to come naturally, I didn't even expect to be able to do it all. That has actually made it very fun. I also did it to get more of a backbone, and that is working. For those who know me in real life, don't be too surprised if you find that I do voice my opinion now and then or stand up for something. My online friends and readers may not think of me as wimpy, because I'm brave on paper, but in real life I've always been quiet, soft, and one who avoids confrontation at all costs.
I also do taekwondo simply because my body works, and I am thankful for that. I am thankful that I CAN. In my early twenties I was in nearly constant pain to some degree, mainly my lower back. I was also sick and tired most of the time, sleeping 11-14 hours a night, plus naps. I never would have thought anything like this was possible for me. I love proving my past self wrong, and proving that anything is possible if you are willing to sacrifice and work and take a leap of faith (or 20). I've been tested for Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, and a few other doozies in my past, and I am ever so thankful to have a clean bill of health today. I'm 35, so maintaining that will take work from here on out. With age, it becomes harder to lose weight, harder to keep my immune system in balance, and harder to keep my hormones in balance, but I am optimistic and will continue to work at it. I want to still be kicking and doing yoga as a senior citizen, and that will take work and self-control.
My diet has improved significantly since figuring out and eliminating the source of wheat in my pills. My cravings are less, my appetite is less and for more healthy foods. I'm losing weight and feeling and looking better, and stronger. There's always more work ahead, no more coasting, but things are looking up! I haven't been cheating, and when I don't cheat, I lose weight, simple as that, thanks to Dr. D'Adamo's research (things used to not be so simple, but enough background for today!)