My dad’s health convinced me to make a change.
My journey really began in 2008 when I decided to visit my father knowing he was very ill and didn’t have long with us. I realized then he suffered because he didn’t take care of himself. He was diabetic, ate and drank excessively, and had the attitude of “living to eat.” When he walked, he’d sweat profusely and each step was an obvious burden, leaving him breathless. He received countless warnings from doctors, but they fell on deaf ears.
He was 5’6” tall and weighed more than 350 pounds.
I realized this would be my future, too, because I was making the same choices he did. Doctors had warned me that I was borderline diabetic, my blood pressure was elevated and I was battling fatigue all the time.
I was almost 40, weighed 212 pounds at 5’2” tall, and feeling like a prisoner in my own body.
As I was having these revelations, every time I picked up the Bible I would find passages on gluttony and slothfulness. I was reminded that this body is temporary and that God gives us our bodies expecting us to be good stewards of all He has given us. I felt He was telling me to stop using food for comfort and to instead turn to him.
With the encouragement of a good friend, I began the Journeys program.
I was anxious to get started, but one factor I hadn’t considered is that the commitment would be hindered by my busiest time of year - tax season. The program required 10,000 steps a day, but my desk job was day and night during this time. Plus, we had to commit to not eating out for 12 weeks.
That first night of Journeys was a killer. The workout was harder than I expected, and when we learned Nancy would be monitoring our food logs it was overwhelming. No more quick runs to Taco Bell, McDonalds or Sonic. From now on eating healthy and making better choices was the expectation.
The second week of the program left the most lasting impression. What Nancy said made the difference for me in being committed: “Ladies you will use every excuse as to why you can’t. I accept no excuses!” I learned that I can use anything as an excuse. If I wanted to change I had to take those words seriously.
With that, I made myself get up between every appointment to get those 10,000 steps in. I also made it a priority to work out, even if it was midnight or later when my work was complete. I cut up a week’s worth of veggies to keep handy at my desk, and proactively made a meal plan for the week. As long as I was prepared I could keep going with the hectic schedule and still lose weight.
It took me 9 months, but I lost 85 pounds.
That was 8 years ago. I’ll never say my journey has been perfect but what I will say is that life for me is very different. I choose to make healthier choices in my eating and maintain an active lifestyle. I love cycling with great friends who have like-minded goals. I love working out with my peers in spin classes. I love that all these years I’ve been able to count on my family, Nancy and all the CoxHealth instructors to be cheerleaders and friends. Most importantly I am taking care of the vessel God put in my charge as I lean on Him for my comfort. I will be forever thankful.