Personal Wellness Stories - Renee D.

Two years ago, I decided I was tired of my weight gain. Having struggled with weight issues most of my life, I hadn't been able to be as active as I always wanted to be. It was time to do something.

Slowly, I started to change eating habits. First, I cut out soda, opting for water instead. Over time, I concentrated on eating more vegetables, fruits, and lean meats. At the same time, I also decided to not deny myself my favorite foods. If I truly craved something, I would instead enjoy it in healthy amounts.

My next step was to become more active. I joined a gym and got up at 3 a.m. to get to the gym by 4 a.m. At 5:30 a.m. each day, I was on my way back home to get ready for work. I found I had more energy and an uplifted mood: I was up and ready for the day!

Exercise became a regular part of my life. I challenged myself with spin classes. Although I was not in the best of shape at the beginning, I challenged myself at levels that were appropriate. Plus, there was lots of camaraderie in the class. My fitness level progressed, my body shape changed, and I found myself experiencing fewer aches and pains.

So many positives were happening to me thanks to these small changes. Overall, I was more energized. And I did not even touch the candy drawer! I lost the weight on my own, and to date, I have kept off the 58 pounds I lost.

As I progressed, I continued to modify my lifestyle in small bits. I started bringing a handheld lunch, put on music, and continue to walk during my lunch break whenever I can. It is a great way to decompress and wipe the slate clear for the afternoon.

Last May, I experienced a setback. I had to have a torn meniscus repaired. But even though I was grounded, I continued eating healthy. When I recovered, it was easy to get back in the rhythm of my exercise routine. It was second nature.

Throughout my fitness journey, my primary motivator was my need for energy to have fun with my 4- and 6-year-old grandchildren. I want to be there to see them reach their milestones.

To keep on track, my self talk is positive. I make reasonable goals for myself. I see this process as giving so much more to myself than taking anything away. It has been a huge confidence builder. In a way, it is a gift of a lifetime!

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