There was a time in my life that I ate 2 – 3 meals a day at fast food restaurants and smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes a day. I had high cholesterol, that I was convinced couldn’t be controlled without medication, because I just knew it was genetic. If that wasn’t enough my doctor had started testing me for type II diabetes. I was certainly on a path of destruction and I didn’t even realize I could do anything different.
10 years ago this past March I quit smoking. I had smoked for over 30 years. When I laid the cigarettes down for the last time I began to eat everything in the house. Not only did I eat junk food and fattening foods, I ate till I was so stuffed it hurt to breathe.
I finally decided this simply was not going to work. And the journey began…
I started walking. Just a few months earlier I was afraid to do the one mile fun walk at the Susan G Komen 5k for fear I couldn’t make it. But I started slow….1/4 mile, 1/2 mile, 1 mile. Every morning I got up before the sun, went to the local park and walked my pup Freckles. My plan was, if I get him into the habit of walking he won’t let me sleep in…and it worked.
Eventually I started changing my eating habits. I was feeling so good I decided I wanted to treat myself better. I quit eating red meat. I started reading a book called The Eat-Clean Diet by Tosca Reno. I learned how to eat foods and cook foods that were good for me. I learned to eat spinach!
I soon got bored with walking, it just wasn’t challenging enough. I started participating in boot camps and I started running. When I started running (despite being an athlete in school I always hated running) I couldn’t complete a 1/4 mile without stopping to walk. But eventually I started running more and more. I set a goal to run a 5k the next year at the Susan G Komen. I would run in memory of my Aunt Kathleen who I had recently lost to breast cancer.
That entire year, the thought of my aunt’s struggle to fight cancer, got me through the pain of training. If she could fight so hard and be so tough fighting against such a horrible disease, then something as minor as sore legs should not deter me.
I ran that 5k with a sign, honoring my aunt, on the back of my shirt. As I climbed the final hill, headed toward the finish line, exhausted and emotional, a lady tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Kathleen would be so proud.” I cried the rest of the way to the finish line. Tears of pain, emotion, love, excitement, memories of Kathleen all drained from my eyes. I had met my goal of running 3.1 miles and knew my life was changing for the better.
A lot has changed since I smoked that last cigarette. Over the next couple days I hope to share the rest of my journey to a healthier life. I hope you will stop back by to read the rest of the story.