Healthy Living Week: Josie's Story

>> Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Josie writes:

Hey, (never home)makers! I saw your tweet about an upcoming week celebrating healthy living . . . and I thought I'd share. Maybe my story is interesting, maybe it's not? You decide.

Note from us: YES. Every story is interesting :)

I can’t say that I was ever really interested in healthy living or nutrition. I was athletic as a kid and into my teens until my asthma became a great excuse to get out of gym class and sports teams. When I was 13, I chose (against my family and doctor's advice) to become a vegetarian. My family wasn’t supportive, but they were all overweight and under-active, so I didn’t care.

I also can’t say I was the healthiest vegetarian (vegan for a few years), yet being one was all I thought I needed to do to be considered "healthy." In my late teens, I took up yoga, then I got bored and quit. In my early 20s, I started working out at the gym, then I got bored and quit. Then running came. You guessed it: I got bored and quit.

In my mid 20s, I went vegan again and started going to the gym a few times a week. This pattern lasted about 5 months before -- you guessed it again -- I got bored and quit the gym. I was a quitter, I couldn’t seem to stick with any kind of fitness activity. I didn’t care, though. I was only 10-15 pounds heavier than I wanted to be -- it could be worse, right? Let's not forget that I was tired, irritable, over-caffeinated, always hyped-up on sugar. I was a carb addict, too. To me, though -- it was alright.

In December of 2009, my mother was rushed to the hospital. She was having a heart attack (actually she had two and was having a third in the ambulance). She ended up having a slight procedure and was sent home with a "new" diet to follow. Nothing to worry about, these things happen all the time . . . and it was probably just from all those Big Macs she ate in her 30s, I told myself. Right? I didn’t need to worry because I didn’t eat meat.

Fast-forward 3 months, my mom was back in the hospital with yet another heart attack. This time, she underwent quadruple bypass surgery. I freaked out; I scheduled a physical to make sure I was OK (it had been 5 years since my last general health visit), cut out most white breads and rices, drastically reduced my sugar intake (bye-bye 8 packets in my coffee!), and started exercising -- for good, this time. If my mom didn’t get sick, I’d still be consuming mass quantities of unhealthy foods. I’d still be a quitter. Now I’m a former-quitter? A quitter in recovery? Ex-quitter?

I’m now training to run a 5K and then a 10K. My untreated-for-over-5-years asthma is slowly becoming less and less of an issue, and I feel better -- not perfect -- but better. I’m not as tired as I used to be, I’m usually not irritable anymore and I generally feel better. I am now committed to my health and to fitness. I have recently discovered an interest in nutrition -- my nutrition, vegetarian nutrition, nutrition in different cultures, etc. And if I wasn’t 3/4 through an MFA in Design program, I’d be applying to a RD one.

Who’s to say I’m not going to quit again? Well, I'll tell you this: I'm done quitting. I'm in my late 20s. Now is the time to develop life long healthy habits. What I experienced with my mom. When I saw her go through surgery, it woke me up. Through diet, exercise, and -- if needed -- medicine, I can work to prevent the same from happening to me.

Thanks for reading!

Josie (check out my blog here)

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