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Wellness Journey with Annie and Jay 2005-2014

Live Like You Can

By Janis Mcdonald

Annie Reutinger, owner of San Miguel House Rentals, showed up at my gym in June 2005. After finishing the initial assessments, health history, longevity predictor test and readiness survey, she was on her way.

Annie’s readiness to lose weight was on the top of her priority list. However, Annie had one more priority that was vitally important to her. From the first workout, she always wanted her husband, Jay Clark, to join her.

Jay had finally retired from a 45-year career in journalism and owner of national public relations agency in 2003, looking forward to living in San Miguel de Allende with his wife and two golden retrievers. Jay’s plan was “retiring from everything and relaxing!”

Jay was mindful of his dormant heart condition, caused by a minor heart attack 30 years ago, and found a San Miguel doctor, had a checkup, left with his email and phone number. Okay, he was set for life! Nothing further needed to be done.

As Annie’s successful weight loss journey continued over the next year, she would softly recommend, suggest, beg and finally threaten him all to no avail. Jay felt, “nothing further needed to be done!”

Annie did not have the right key to unlock the door to fitness for Jay. In fact, Jay actually opened the door by becoming interested in improving his golf game.

Jay was given a Christmas present of “golf conditioning training” with me in 2005. After a few lessons, Jay discovered that I was not a “swing coach.” In fact, I didn’t play golf at all! However, by the time he discovered our “ploy,” he was hooked on feeling the fitness difference in his life realizing it was vital to successful aging.

Annie continued to lose weight while finding more energy, better posture, relief from back pain and pride in finally beginning her self-care which resulted in more confidence and life satisfaction.

Jay unknowingly was also training for several “surprise” medical setbacks, which finally resulted in open-heart surgery in 2008. The Cleveland Clinic doctors commented on his exceptional physical condition that helped him tolerate the procedure and greatly hastened his recovery. Jay performed his cardiac rehab at the gym in San Miguel under the directions of his doctors at the Cleveland Clinic.

Jay recently said, “A friend’s wife says I have more lives than a cat! Maybe, but just having the cardiologist’s contact information is not enough to make that happen. Not by a long shot. As I come to grips with mortality, I know having a strong fit body will support me as I age.”

During Annie’s weight loss journey, she went through a “loss-gain period” where she got lazy, stopped exercising and regained her weight. Her body rebelled, her back pain returned.

Annie said, “What was I thinking? I realized I am not getting any younger, and it was now or never. Yes, vanity was one reason to get going again, yet I also know too much weight is just one risk factor for so many ailments we might face in our older years.”

Annie returned to the gym with a vengeance, began Weight Watchers online and has lost 40 pounds, still going down, looking and feeling 20 years younger.

What a path we have traveled together and separately. As life rolled along, through thick and thin and back again, Annie and Jay always show up at the gym with enthusiasm and laughter to do the work. If it’s l:30, I will always think of my dynamic super duo, Annie and Jay.

Janis Mcdonald is a long-time resident of SMA, Wellness Coach and Owner of Private Gym.


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