September 27, 2020 at 4:00 AM
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When I went through my Life Coach training in 2010, my teacher, Dr. Martha Beck (frequent “O, the Oprah Magazine” contributor and best-selling author), said a phrase that still guides me, “Intention plus Attention equals No Tension”. Last week, I ran my first 5 K in 18 years, a result of using this mantra.

Before the race, I declared, “My intention is to see how fast I can run and still have fun, to celebrate the glorious creation that is my body.” I paid attention to this mantra and walked whenever the running felt less than fun. At 57, I finished faster than the average time of women 50-55. This milestone is the result of an intention from 11 months (and 30 pounds) ago when I started my fitness journey. At that time, my desire was to have my body propel me through my life’s adventure, instead of me dragging my poor, overweight, cranky body around like a ball and chain.

11 months ago, my body was a problem. Every joint hurt, and my sleep was interrupted nightly with muscle and joint pain. I was teaching 4 fitness classes a week, and I was the heaviest I’ve been since I was pregnant. My body was a mess. I set a fitness intention, after a loving conversation with one of my instructors, to ditch the high-fat diet I had been following and just eat clean while committing to a daily 30 minute walk. I started the My Fitness Pal app, and it was easy, no tension at all. The first 20 pounds came off really quickly, because I paid a lot of Attention to my Intention of “eat clean and walk”. And then I wanted more.

I met Dr. Jenn Gaddy while preparing for a hike in Utah to re-hab my wonky knee. Dr. Jenn is a Sports Performance Physical Therapist, and she is the smartest person I’ve ever met when it comes to helping your body perform at the highest level without injury. Dr. Jenn helped me create a new intention, “Build my strength and age backwards.” After 5 months of working with her, I’m running again, and I can do push ups with my knees nowhere near the ground (I couldn’t do one when we started). I am a much younger person than I was a year ago, and my clothes are back to single digits. I have respect for, and ease in, my body, and now it’s useful to me. My body is a source of joy, not shame, and that is the inevitable result of setting an intention and paying attention to it.

I completed my 5 K with no tension, and it was actually fun. I was more than a little sore the next day, but that’s to be expected. All intentions have effort involved, but that effort doesn’t have to be stressful. If you want a new, stronger body, set an intention to come see Dr. Jenn at our Girl Power for Good community center or contact her at to start your journey toward no tension!