Getting healthy, staying healthy – these topics are all the rage these days. We talk about them endlessly, in part, because we can’t help but hope to find a silver bullet, a quick way to fix a problem that was years in the making – being overweight and/or stuck in some unhealthy habits.
For me, it took years to undo those habits, but I feel like I have accomplished that goal. I still have some distance to cover toward my weight loss goal, but when I look at my activity level now versus a few years ago, as well as my eating choices, I know I have come a long way.
A month after the birth of my second child, I went to my postpartum check-up. The scale had barely moved from my last visit, BEFORE he was born. My eyes widened and I thought to myself, ‘No. I am not going to just have kids and get fat. My life is too important to me.’
So I made changes. I started getting up early and walking before work, enjoying the alone time this afforded me as an added bonus. Within a few weeks, I found myself doing a little bit of running with the walking. Not long after that, the ratio flipped, and I was running with a little bit of walking, and then, just running. I still remember the first time I suited up in a windbreaker in a downpour to adhere to my morning routine: Running in the rain? I was truly a runner! Within a few months I had dropped the baby weight and then some, feeling and looking better than I had in years.
Add in my efforts to reduce stress eating, drink more water and less soda, improve my willpower against french fries, and I was actually building a new lifestyle for myself! I told my friends and family what I was doing, so they could help me stick to my guns. Encouragement from my inner circle has been invaluable. Most recently, I joined a local running club, with weekly fun runs scheduled around the area. This has been a real boon to my exercise regimen, as I look forward to running on new trails and paths each week, and have come to value the camaraderie and support of the group. Even when the weather is less than lovely, I remind myself that there will be others out there putting feet to pavement, and I head out to join them.
There may not be a silver bullet, but if you want to get healthier, give yourself goals – short term as well as long term — and enlist friends and family in helping you achieve those goals. Find an activity you enjoy so exercise doesn’t become a chore, but instead something you can’t wait to do!
These efforts may sometimes be hard to maintain, but the rewards are worth it. For me, a healthier diet and activity level for several years has had numerous immediate benefits. I can run and play with my kids without thinking twice, and I feel strong and healthy. The nagging back pain that I thought was just part of life after pregnancy is gone. Sure, I’ve had a few bumps in the road along the way and I‘ve not reached my ultimate weight-loss goal yet, but that scary postpartum weight I saw on the scale five years ago? It’s a thing of the past, and it’s never coming back.