"If anybody would have asked me at anytime in my life if I would become a runner, or at least someone who chooses to run, I would've laughed and told them not a chance. But that has changed now and I just completed my first 5k. I'm still slightly shocked that I did it. But more than that, I'm proud. I'm proud of this small accomplishment that, to me, has become a huge turning point in my life.
This is my story.
Five years ago, I was about 6-7 months pregnant with my first son. I have since had two more. Yep, three boys in less than five years. Heaven help me! And while I have loved my journey of becoming a mom and raising my boys, there have been plenty of bumps along the way. The two biggest (for me personally) have been my battle with depression and my physical appearance, meaning weight gain. Those two put together make for not a very happy mom/wife. Don't get me wrong; I've had many happy moments and so many great memories being made with my children and husband. Just deep down inside, there's always been a hollow feeling that I know I'm not completely happy with my seemingly happy life. Through so many blessings, I've still found myself upset. When my last baby was born (in June of this year), I finally accepted the realization that I NEEDED to do something about my weight. Through being pregnant and giving birth three times so close together, I had gained over 50lbs from where I used to be. I knew that was part of the main reason my depression had been worse as well. Not only did I have very low self-esteem, I was tired and exhausted all the time. I just didn’t feel good. I knew that in order to take care of my kids, my husband, the house, and myself, I could not continue living the way I was. Something big had to change. After an emotional heart to heart conversation with my husband (who has been SO loving and SO supportive of me through everything), I decided to get a gym membership.
My baby was just 6 weeks old and I suddenly had a new spark of determination to be a happier healthier me. There's something about a newborn that makes you want to become the best version of yourself for them! My first night at the gym, I ran a half a mile on the elliptical and it took me 15 minutes and almost my life. I felt like I would die. I knew I was out of shape, but that first day was a huge wake up call. It was very discouraging but at the same time, motivating because it made me so much more determined to work even harder. I kept going to the gym as much as I could, between 3-5 nights a week. I was able to see major improvement after just a few hard workouts. More motivation! I've never enjoyed exercising, especially running, and I still don’t. But I figure that maybe if I do it enough, I will learn to like it. At the end of August, I was asked if I wanted to join a team to run the Run for the Cure 5k. My initial reaction was a laugh, followed by "Heck no!" But after telling my husband and thinking more about it, I decided to register for the race. That right there was a huge step. Once I had registered, I then had a goal to work toward. I started working harder at the gym. I was getting faster and less tired out. I had more energy. I was starting to love the way I felt every day!
The morning of the race, I was nervous but excited. I knew I had so much support all around me. It was a beautiful day and I had a great time. When I crossed the finish line, I had the greatest sense of accomplishment I've ever felt. I just did something extremely difficult for me and I was successful. Something I NEVER thought I would do, and I did it!
Now that the race is over and the excitement has died down, I know that this is still just the beginning for me. While I still don't love exercising, I love the way it makes me feel. And now I know that I can do hard things. I know that I can set a goal and work towards it. I can be successful. I feel that in every aspect of my life now. After joining the gym, I've lost almost 15lbs. I have 35 more to go until my ultimate goal, but honestly, it's not even the numbers on the scale any more. It's a healthier me, it's the way I feel every day, and most importantly it's about me being able to be a good wife and a good mother. I can be good at those things if I can be happy with myself. That hollow feeling I used to have is slowly becoming filled. Eating well and exercising regularly has become a lifestyle for me now, and I'm going to strive to make sure my boys are healthy and active as well. I still have my struggles to work through day to day, but after achieving such a huge goal as a 5k, I feel like now I can do anything!" -Emily H.
Valerie and I are so proud of Emily and her determination to make "health" a priority in her life, not just for herself but for her whole family! Trying something new, such as competing in a 5K event is SCARY the first time and we're thrilled to have been a part of that experience with her. Thank you for being part of Team Lifetime Wellness Challenge and we'll be cheering for you as you continue on your journey and...probably nudging you to do another race or two with us next year. Keep running!