Guest blogging this week is Donna Rogers. She was the recipient Mayor’s award in Long Branch…

When my children were young I would walk on the boardwalk every morning. I was active with both of my children and very involved with the P.T.O. At that time, my weight and my health was good.

As my children got older, I started working full-time. My morning exercise routine was neglected. My night time meal choices were very poor. As a result my weight had increased from 140 to 225 lbs.

I was beginning to feel the health effects of being obese. I had no motivation, and no desire to be physically active.

Each time I would visit my doctor he would inform me, “politely,” that I needed to lose weight or it would affect me physically. He was right. I was feeling short of breath climbing up steps, my blood pressure was climbing, and my bloodwork was showing early signs of the onset of diabetes.

My friend knew my frustration with my weight and she had been a Lifetime Member at Weight Watchers and she suggested we go to a meeting.  She called me out of the blue on May 1st, 2013 and said there was a meeting at 5:30 PM and asked me if I wanted to go. I answered yes and never gave it a second thought. The day had come and I was about to get the biggest reality check I had ever gotten.

Joining Weight Watchers that day completely altered my life. It not only taught me how to eat properly, but motivated me to join a local fitness center, where I take 3 classes a week (yoga, core and power).

My husband and daughter, who had been running races for many years, encouraged me to join them. I would always say, “NO!” when they asked me to join them. My excuse was that I wanted to lose the weight first.

After joining Weight Watchers and losing 50lbs., I decided to challenge myself to walk the Beauty & The Beach Run/Walk. That was in 2013. I walked the race, until the last 2 tenths of a mile, and then decided to run across the finish line.  The first time I ran in a race was in 2014. My husband and daughter asked me to run with them in the, ”Fallen Heroes 5K.’ I said, and I quote, “I am only running one 5k.”  Since that proclamation I have ran over 35 races. I have run everything 5ks on up, including 3 half marathons and my very first marathon on May 1, 2016, the New Jersey Marathon.

It is important to me to share my story. I hope if you are reading this and struggling with weight and health issues, that you understand, you can make a change. Make one small change and build from there. Here are some of the things that helped me succeed and they might help you, too.

  1. Make small changes, to your diet. I was a huge carb person (bread, bread and more bread) I started by eating half a bagel or one slice of bread. I did not deprive myself of the things I wanted, I just cut back. The more I would eat, the more my body would crave it.
  2. Make sure you supply your refrigerator and cabinets with healthy choices. If you like to pick between meals, make sure you have some crunchy vegetables available. I prepare my lunches for work on Sunday for the week. It keeps me from ordering out often and saves money.
  3. Eating out, party or events. Be prepared. If you know you are going out to dinner look up the menu online, see what is available before you go. If you are going to a party and don’t have a choice. Choose your best option and skip dessert.
  4. Schedule your time for exercise and find exercise buddy. My daughter has helped me more than she knows. She calls or texts me and says “DD” going to the gym on Saturday, or taking the 5:30 a.m. class at the gym on Tuesday. I will meet you there. My daughter Katie is also the one that found the Beauty and The Beach Run/Walk. She finds the races and sends me the link. I respond, “SIGN ME UP!!”
  5. Keep moving. I use the Fitbit Flex (Basic Model) to see how many steps I walk in a day. I sit at a desk all day on my computer and I still manage to get at least 10,000 steps in a day, between the minute I wake up until bedtime. I purposely park further away at work, gym and grocery store.

The choice to improve your life involves change. Change does not happen overnight. With every change comes challenge, obstacles, and set backs. If we improve on one thing and commit to it we will see progress. We don’t always see the change right away, but we will feel the difference in our body and will want to continue to make progress instead of excuses.

Keep moving forward, one moment at time. – “DD”