My friend Kelly inspires me. Not just because she lost over 100 pounds. She has created ways to encourage and empower others to become healthier too. As a mom she raised a daughter with diabetes and for 20 years served as a coach for other parents supporting their diabetic children. I invite you to read and think about ways you can become healthier and how you too can encourage and empower others.
Thanks to Kelly Pheulpin for being the guest writer for these next two issues of GreenPreacher. As you read I think you too will be inspired by the discipline, wisdom, playfulness and compassion that she brings.
My Journey from unhealthy to the better happier me:
‘Sitting in the office waiting for my doctor, I already knew she was going to bring up my weight gain again: I gained another 10 pounds. Finally she knocked on the door and came in, her look of disapproval had my stomach sinking. “Kelly, if you don’t learn how to control your diet you will be giving yourself insulin in addition to Rachel. Who will take care of her diabetes if you’re not around?” This was my wakeup call. Yes, I have an amazing support system in my husband, but could he be successful all alone? Did I want to chance it? Was losing weight and be healthy so hard to obtain? I was going to find out.
Following my appointment I went directly to the YMCA and signed up for a membership. Now what? I started by trying out the treadmill, elliptical, swimming, and weights. Nothing held my attention, how was I going to succeed if it felt like so much extra work? In talking with one of my girlfriends she told me about a class at the Y she was loving, Zumba. She said, “You adore dancing, so I bet you will also enjoy this.”
I met up with Jess the next night to try a Zumba class, though I didn’t hold much hope that it would be my key to success. When class started, the music was pumping and the instructor began moving, her smile and movements where contagious. When she cooled us down 50 minutes later I couldn’t believe I had just worked out for an hour it didn’t feel like working out. It felt like a dance party. My clothes were drenched, but I felt good. I had found my workout.
I started attending class 3 to5 times a week trying out all the different instructors at the Y. After three weeks I had lost 5 pounds and I was excited, I knew I had found the start to my healthier me. Jess and I continued to meet for Zumba but also walked 3 times a week on the treadmill. It was like our “coffee hour”. There was one day I saw Jess running on the treadmill and I was very envious. I had always wanted to run but my asthma prevented it (according to my doctors). I explained this to Jess and she suggested trying it one minute at a time, and if I found that I couldn’t breathe, then they were right. Then she pointedly asked me: what is the harm in trying 1 minute at a time? She was right one minute at a time was the way to go!
I downloaded the ‘Couch to 5K program’ in October of 2011 and started following it faithfully. In early November my family encouraged me to sign up for my first 5K that they were all running. I was nervous and thought, “How will I do this? I’m only on week 3 of the program and running up to 5 minutes at a time.” My cousin, who is an avid runner, also encouraged me to sign up see how it goes. So against my own better judgment, I signed up. Race day came in early December and I wasn’t at the point in the program where I could run the whole 5k but I was going to do my best. I was able to run almost the entire 5k! It took my about 50 minutes to complete but I did it. At this point I had lost 25 pounds and was feeling like a new woman but I know I had more work to do.
Next step in my journey: nutrition. I had spent most of my adult life educating others about healthy diets for themselves or their loved ones living with diabetes but I wasn’t practicing what I was preaching. “Lead by example” became my new mantra. I started setting mini-goals for myself such as if I lost x amount of weight I could do or buy something special. One of the smartest mini goals I made was when I lost 60 pounds I decided I would go for my Zumba license so I could help others exercise and be healthier.
One of my proudest moments on this journey was feeling confident in my own skin to demonstrate all the Latin dance moves I learned for my Zumba instructor test. I was licensed to teach in early 2012.’
Next installment: ‘No One Left Behind’…Kelly begins a new runners club where the slowest runner sets the pace…and everyone ‘wins’.