In January 2020 I stepped on the scale and was shocked at the number that showed up. The scale said 207! My first thought was, “this scale is broken or needs batteries or something. I can’t weigh 207 pounds.” I began to think, when did this happen? How did this happen? The answer was clear. It happened over time because I wasn’t eating properly and I wasn’t exercising regularly. In that moment, I felt like I hypocrite. The mission of Sadie Strong is to promote the early detection of breast cancer and inspire healthy lifestyles. How could I inspire someone else to live a healthy lifestyle when I wasn’t doing it myself? I was not leading by example. And I was definitely not investing in my own health and wellness. I was convicted. I needed to do something different. And I needed to do it right away! I decided in that moment that I was going to make a change, not just to inspire others, but more importantly to invest in myself! I wanted to take better care of myself and take control of my health so I decided to change my eating habits and exercise regularly. I set realistic goals and started that day. 

I began by assessing my food intake and modifying my diet.  I realized two things: my portion sizes were way too big and I was eating and drinking too much of the wrong things. It really helped me to keep a food journal and write down everything I ate, which allowed me to see the types of foods I consumed and allowed me to substitute better food options.  I incorporated more plant-based meals and snacks and limited processed foods, high sugar foods and eliminated sugary drinks. I didn’t want to create unrealistic eating habits that I couldn’t sustain over time. This was tough in the beginning because I love food especially foods that aren’t necessarily good for me.  

The combination of healthy eating and consistent exercise was the key for me.  In the beginning, I exercised about three times per week by walking on the indoor track at work and on the treadmill at the gym since it was too cold to go outside.  I increased my distance and speed as the weeks progressed until I was able to walk some and jog some, and then run. You have to find what works for you and what you enjoy doing. For a little variety, I began to ride the stationary bike on some days. When the weather was warm enough, I began to walk and run outside. I continued to see the benefits of my efforts and felt more energized.  I decided to commit to exercising every day for at least 30 minutes or other set-distance goals and pushed myself to see how far I would go. I challenged myself every day. I started riding my bike and loved it! Exercise became my self-care routine during the pandemic. It kept me physically and mentally well. 

When I stepped on the scale in January of 2021 it read 175.4! I lost 32 pounds and I was feeling GREAT! Living a healthy lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint. There is no quick fix or magic pill. Living a healthy lifestyle takes commitment, dedication, sacrifice and consistency. The rewards outweigh the sacrifice and it is the best investment that we can ever make for ourselves and our family. I have learned so much about myself since being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017.  I realized that I am resilient, I am strong and I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength!