Saturday, April 6, 2013


I'm participating in this year's A-Z challenge, and so will be posting daily about a subject focusing on a letter of the alphabet.

Getting healthy and fit is not for sissies.

If you're like me, you'll have to change your ENTIRE lifestyle. Think that's easy? Think again.

I began running at the age of 52. I had never exercised before -- I'm not exaggerating. I wasn't familiar with push ups, except for bras; didn't know what planks were, other than boards my kids used to build a tree house; had no idea that a fartlek wasn't a bodily noise. I was the consummate couch potato, except with four kids, I never had time to sit.  "Athlete," however, was not the first word that would have come to mind to describe me.

Most of my life I was underweight. I drank milkshakes every night to try to gain weight (Ohhhhh,   [insert anguished face here]  why  did I not enjoy those days more??) I ate junk food and sugar like it was the end times. I was simply uneducated about the harm those foods were wreaking on my body. 

Fortunately for me, I'd inherited amazing metabolism, so until I had my fourth child and then shortly after became perimenopausal, I never gained weight from my poor diet. But after a hysterectomy, I packed on the pounds and the day finally came when I knew that I MUST make a change.

Altering years of bad habits was a slow process, and I had much to learn along the way. After I started  running, I realized I needed to better fuel my body. Thus began the research into what I should be eating.  

I took baby steps...The first thing I did was cut out soda, and that was brutal because I drank liters of it. I didn't like water, so I began using Crystal Light Pure packets. (I've never liked artificial sweeteners.) Once I had completely substituted those for soda, I began using half packets. I slowly weaned myself off the flavorings and switched to plain water. It was amazing to me how after I stopped guzzling soda, water tasted wonderful!! I now drink at least 68 ounces a day for good hydration.

In addition to cutting out the sugary drinks, I began adding in more vegetables and whole foods, with the goal of moving us toward a more plant-based diet. We started eating fewer processed, packaged goods. I began to be more adventurous and tried new things, like quinoa, kale chips and nori, and expanded our diet to include them. I switched to almond milk, real butter and almond butter. I started educating myself about GMOs.

Today, I run half marathons. In the fall, I'll begin training for my first marathon. It's been an interesting journey, but I feel better than I have in years. 

Nope, this healthy stuff ain't for the faint of heart. 

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