FLASHBACK- about 15 years ago: I was feeling crappy. I was having a hard time getting moving in the mornings and sometimes by the end of the day I had NO energy. I wasn't eating healthy or sleeping well. Working out...YEAH RIGHT! Then my weight started to creep up. I was constantly light headed and craved carbs. In my mind, I kept thinking something was wrong, but I passed it off as me burning the candle at both ends.
I was 21, living alone, working long hours, partying, partying...did I say partying? Yeah, and partying. Late nights with the matching late night meals and LOTS of alcohol. (Sorry Mom. I love you!) I had recently gotten a divorce and was "catching up", I guess you could say I felt that I deserved that lifestyle of being young and free. Then one day, something happened.
I went to a friends house for a party. After making my rounds, hugging and greeting the other party goers, I went to use the bathroom. There was a scale in the corner and I decided to weigh myself. It had been a while since I weighed myself so I didn't really have an expectation, I just went for it. The scale read:
In big, red, bold numbers the scale read 204! At that point, I screamed out to my friend "Hey, I think your scale is broken. Do you have another one?" She told me that there was another scale in the bathroom upstairs. I ran upstairs, went in the bathroom, and pulled out the scale. Surely, this scale would give me the "right" weight. That scale read:
Reading that number hit me like a ton of bricks! Immediately, my inner voice yelled with disbelief. I calmly walked downstairs, grabbed my purse and jacket and walked out. I wasn't at the party for more than 15 minutes when I left, but I knew that I needed to excuse myself because I didn't want to put a damper on anyone else's mood. That sat with me for a few days and my inner voice said: "You'll take care of it".
Several weeks passed and like I had done in the past, I put the idea of my health and weight gain on the back burner. One morning I was running late for work, and as I frantically scrambled to find something to wear, I started to scavenge for something, anything to wear! It seemed like everything was dirty, so I moved a piece of furniture and found a pair of pants that I had been looking for for the better part of 2 months. I grabbed them, attempted to slide them up and could not get them past my thighs! What is this!? The pants that I attempted to put on were a size 14. That was it! That was the day that I made a commitment to change my eating habit and get in control of my health.
At the tender age of 21, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Commonly referred to as PCOS (previously referred to as Stein-Leventhal Syndrome) is a hormonal condition affecting women of reproductive age. In many women, the condition enlarges the ovaries and causes multiple cysts to form. It affects hormone production and has a long list of symptoms. Some common ones are:
So wait a minute? You mean to tell me my beard, mustache, weight gain, gorging on white rice, noodles and croissants wasn't just because? There was a reason why my body changed and I felt like crap! After my diagnosis, I received medical care to get in charge of my health and control the condition. I won't lie to you and say it hasn't been a bumpy road that requires me to adjust my habits as I age. I will say that I made a commitment to myself, changed my diet, incorporated regular exercise, cut the alcohol and anything else that is counter productive to my life change. I balance moderation with indulgence and have found that I feel and look healthier than ever!
I share this story not just to talk about my PCOS; I share it because there are many health issues that can affect men and women that create challenges and impact a person's quality of life. I had a turning point when I got on the scale that day. In some way, I believe that it is not until a person experiences that turning point that they are able to make a decision to commit to changing habits. This turning point is where a person can move forward and take the steps needed to get healthy and fit.
Everybody's fit looks and feels different, but once you get there you will know. Don't worry if your fit doesn't look like a fitness model or Mr. Olympia. Your fit should look like a healthier, happier version of your old self. The commitment you make to yourself to gain control over your health will no doubt translate into other aspects of your life . That is when you can say that you will be able to take on anything that life throws at you and become the best you that you can be!