Let’s Start at the Beginning

Happy Monday, friends! We made it through the day! So, the beginning of my blog kind of started with some of the basics of dietary theory and what I’m about….but, I didn’t really tell you much about myself. And I got to thinking..it might be kind of helpful for you to see where I’m coming from and what got me started on my healthy journey. Hopefully, some of you will be able to relate to where I came from and how you can improve your health and happiness, too.

First, I need to flashback to my teen years. When I was in my early teens, my Mom got pretty sick. She was diagnosed with poliomyelitis, which is an inflammatory muscle disease that causes progressive weakness, shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, and many other symptoms. People with this disease may experience a gradual decline in health, barely noticeable until one day they wake up and can’t get out of bed or get out of their chair. Poliomyelitis is classified as an autoimmune disease. She also had high blood pressure, asthma that later progressed to emphysema, arthritis, and a myriad of other chronic conditions. This happened when my mother was in her 40s and 50s – right in the prime of her life; in fact, right at the age that I am now. She spent most of those years bedridden, depressed, on many medications including steroids, as well as several other meds that have really awful side effects. She spent a lot of time in the hospital, too, and I did the best I could to muddle through my middle and high school years. My Mom died when she was only 57 years old. I was 23 then.

Fast forward to me at the age of 44. I had never really paid any attention to my health. My diet was horrible, consisting mostly of fast food and processed junk from the grocery store. I didn’t really have time to cook or exercise or do much of anything healthy. I was certainly making poor choices when it came to my health. I had gained a lot of weight when I quit smoking. I topped out at 177 pounds. For someone who had always weighed around 110 pounds, this was pretty devastating. I was also feeling pretty bad. I had no stamina; I could hardly walk up a flight of steps without getting winded. My muscles ached and I had constant headaches and muscle aches. I took ibuprofen several times a day to get through a day. Some days, I could hardly get out of bed to go to work. On the weekends, I just couldn’t get up, and when I had to cook a big meal for my family, I thought I would never get through the day. My ankles and fingers would swell, and I would get short of breath just from standing and cooking. I felt like my health was in a downward spiral and I got really scared – beyond scared, actually. I had a vision of me lying in a bed with my children gathered around, watching me die. I felt hopeless, and helpless.

I finally realized that I had to do something. I had been taking my daughter to Zumba classes at Fitness with Serena. As I watched her, I wondered how anyone survived those classes. But I also knew that I had to try for my health. I signed up for their program of diet and exercise, joking that I might die in the process. Dying actually was my greatest fear; I was pretty sure I would have a heart attack. However, I managed to survive and get through a class, with several breaks. I learned how to eat healthier, and as I started to make my diet and health a priority,  I realized something. I really liked it! In fact, I liked it so much, I realized it was a lifelong habit. As I started to lose weight, I started to feel better. With the exercise, came a little more endurance. I decided to start walking to work. I kept improving my diet and learned more and more. I took a lot of baby steps to get to where I am today…and I am so grateful that I started with just one small step. I’ve been so inspired by the people I’ve met along the way that I decided I want to help others reach their health goals, too. I’m still learning and growing as a person, and getting healthier by the day. There are still things that I can’t do, but someday I will. Today I know that I need to take care of me first in order to take care of my family. I want to be around for them for a long, long time. I don’t ever want them to go through the pain of seeing their Mom being taken away so young.

I hope that I will have the privilege to change lives as my life has been changed. Will one of them be yours?  I’m so excited to begin this next leg of my journey and hope that you will come with me.

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The Healthy Rainbow | Lisa Belles
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