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Mummy Barder's Pilates Journey - From Her Point of View

“Oh, Amy I can’t do this”, “it hurts”, “I can’t get up”, “I can’t lie down”, this was the start of my Pilates journey. Rewind to March 2020 and the start of the first COVID Lockdown. Amy, was staying here with me for a week and I couldn’t hide from her, although I tried hard, my difficulties going up and down stairs and just really that I didn’t move very easily. I had been relatively active and had done Zumba and Yoga and Pilates locally in the village we then lived in before we moved to Oxford, but after a neck injury due to a car accident, and prolonged diagnosis and treatment I’d had stiffened up over the course of a couple of years and also gained a lot of weight. It had crept up on me as these things do and I was in denial too that it was easier to just have a shower, who had baths these days? In fact, I couldn’t get in the bath and if I did, I couldn’t get out.

During that week Amy became the mother and I became the stroppy teenager, but I agreed to give Pilates a try. She was very patient really and I agreed I would do a bit of stretching every day! She then got me on a chair every morning using some of her equipment too. She set me up on Zoom, made me order some weights and a band on Amazon and went home leaving me to it. I was quite bored in lockdown as we had just moved to a new house, all travelling was cancelled, and I did enjoy our chats every day. Bless her she did encourage me and very slowly I started to look forward to my lessons as it gave structure to my day.

I decided I’d like to join a class, but she told me very gently I wasn’t up to it and would have to work towards it. Well, I don’t like to be told I can’t do something, so I rose to the challenge although I decided at one point Pilates wasn’t very good for me! Sometimes bits of me still hurt but nothing a hot water bottle won’t sort out! A lot of it was gaining confidence and not being self-conscious about my size and I had to accept it wasn’t going to be a miracle cure. The thing is I really had not much to do and part of me wanted to show her I could do it and wasn’t ready for the knackers yard yet!

I started the classes last September and really enjoyed them and seeing the other ladies and gentlemen became a bit of a social life. I realised too I could go up and down stairs much more easily without making such a dreadful thumping noise. It was so bad at one point I wanted to get them carpeted!

I am very proud of Amy and I was delighted when she launched her own website. She trained as a Pilates teacher whilst still working full time in theatre PR and I knew all the hard work she had put into this behind the scenes. The hours she put in every weekend and evening and I’m so pleased it’s come to fruition for her. Who could have predicted a pandemic and that theatres would close and Pilates would become her full time vocation?

Her website is so user friendly too and again took a lot of work behind the scenes and I insisted I book and pay for classes along with everyone else as I am taking a space. I do have to write the classes down in my diary as I sometimes forget what day of the week it is!

So, I did 3 classes a week and suddenly realised I’d found my waist again! After Christmas I did dry January because I knew I was drinking far too much wine and it’s full of sugar. Having done some research about arthritis I found that especially in menopausal and post-menopausal woman inflammation was the cause of so many issues and sugar found in so many drinks and types of food was one of the worst culprits.

So, after January I decided to try not to drink wine at all. I don’t beat myself up about having a drink I will have a vodka and tonic if I feel like it and some champagne on a special occasion but I haven’t drunk wine since the New Year. I then decided I should look at my diet. Amy has gone on and on and on about me eating more green food and less sugar and carbs so I thought I’d give it a try quietly and do it for me and no one else.

Nothing happened very quickly but again doing some research I read that it wouldn’t happen very quickly as the liver has to recover. Exercise too was crucial but it didn’t have to be aggressive and Pilates, and even just a walk was enough to keep my old bones from ceasing up completely. I still can’t do every Pilates position or move. I find scissors very hard in the Abs series and also the Roll Over. Amy has very beady eyes and can see me looking out the window when I don’t want to do something! But you know it doesn’t matter, that’s the joy of this type of exercise and it is not a competition.

Although Amy is my daughter and I could be accused of being biased, she is a very proficient teacher. Her eye for detail is quite extraordinary and she will immediately tell me to slightly change my position if it’s not right. It’s quite something when she’d teaching over zoom and not in the room with you. Amy teaches Pilates because she loves to do it herself, what started as a way for her to relax in a stressful job has become a way of life for her and she has taught me it can be a way of life for me too and you know what you are never too old to learn something new!

I still do Pilates 3 times a week and although I hate to admit it, I enjoy and look forward to it. Amy bought me some new Pilates clothes from Sweaty Betty for my birthday in February and I am delighted I can wear them with pride. I know I’ve shaped up, but I still have a long way to go. It’s hard for a parent to admit they are wrong, and their children are right but against the odds Amy never gave up on me and here I am just turned 67 and more flexible and in less pain this I was a year ago.

Amy doesn’t know two things though, firstly I’ve lost nearly half a stone in weight and secondly, I am not giving up chocolate!

Sorry darling! Love you.

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