Last week, I met a woman who really inspired me, and so I thought I'd share her story here. I'll call her Mary...
I had seen Mary lots of times at the gym over the past month. She was always taking the same classes as me, and we often smiled at each other before or after class or on our way to the treadmill, etc, but we had never spoken until last week, when we ran into each other at a play place for our kids.
As we began talking, Mary told me that she had recently lost 65 pounds. As I asked her how she did it, I was really amazed by the answer. After having her third child, Mary suffered a medical condition that the doctors explained was largely a result of being overweight. She was told if she lost weight, the condition would go away. Mary realized that she was young and that she had no excuses, so she set out to lose weight.
Having been completely sedentary her entire life, Mary didn't exactly know how to start. So, she started off small: instead of taking a lunch break and sitting in the cafeteria with her co-workers, she began walking during her lunch hour instead. At first, being so heavy and unfit, Mary could only make it about 1/4 mile. But slowly but surely, she was able to walk more and more each day, and the weight began to come off. In addition to walking, Mary decided to make a small change to her diet that she knew she could stick to: switching from soda to water.
With these two small changes (a short walk each day and drinking water instead of soda) Mary lost 65 pounds in 6 months!
While the weight loss in itself is a huge accomplishment, Mary's story amazed me for other reasons as well:
First, Mary is a mom. Of 3! We all know how hard it is to be healthy and take care of ourselves when we also have to take care of other people. And yet, she did it!
Second, Mary is a WORKING mom. She works full time. So in addition to taking care of her kids, and herself, she also works, and has to find time to work out while doing everything else.
Third, Mary is encouraging others to be healthy as well. While her walking started out as something she did alone, her coworkers started to notice how healthy Mary was becoming by walking, and she has now attracted a small group of followers who walk with her everyday. She has not only gotten herself moving, but just by being a positive role model, she got others moving as well.
If this isn't encouraging for the rest of us, I don't know what is!
Mary still wants to lose a lot of weight. She said most people, by looking at her, would never guess that she had just lost 65 pounds, as she is still quite heavy. In fact, she told me she refused to even join the gym until she lost at least 50 pounds, because she wanted to show herself she was committed before making an investment like a gym membership.
But to me, it wasn't about the number on the scale or the size pants she wears. Mary inspired me to keep going with my own health goals, because she showed me it is possible to do it all and still take care of myself too.
I hope Mary's story encourages you as it has me!