My path to wellness (part I)

well·ness [wel-nis]
  1. the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, esp. as the result of deliberate effort
  2. an approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating diseases.
Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved June 28, 2010, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/wellness

It seems like it happened suddenly, but the reality is that it was a long, gradual deterioration.  Pants that I used to feel pretty good in no longer fit – but I could explain that away as the addition of “a few” pounds. Taking the stairs to my 3rd floor cubicle at work left me panting for several minutes – but I blamed that on my platform shoes and heavy laptop bag. Walking down the street with my kids would cause my teen to ask “why are you breathing so loudly” – “it’s my allergies”, I told her. My inability to tackle housework (or really anything other than TV) in the evening? Lack of sleep. The very dark circles under my eyes? Allergies. My cravings for dessert? Hormones.

I’ve always considered myself a healthy person, always a strong person, and always taken both for granted. Then in 2008, following my annual check-up with routine bloodwork, my doctor informed me that my blood sugar levels were elevated and I was on the road to diabetes. Me?! I was horrified and ashamed. (So ashamed that I didn’t tell my husband.)

But still I found it inconvenient to make the life changes necessary to address this problem.  I didn’t have time to exercise!  I was an overworked high tech marketing manager with a long commute, three children who needed my care, and a husband who had just launched a new business and was working 80 hours a week.

Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to exercise.  I used to be a runner; so obsessive about it that I ran twice daily, up to 6 miles a run.  But over time I was sidelined by injuries, bad knees, children, … life. While getting into progressively worse shape, I would see athletes and feel envy. Inside this round, soft, unhealthy body was the fit, 25 year old girl crying to get out.

Then in early 2010, when I was required to re-enroll my family’s medical insurance benefits, I learned my employer offered a cost-advantage to employees who completed a health self-assessment form. It was confidential, and what did I have to lose from completing it honestly?  So I entered my weight (a guess), my blood pressure (excellent), my blood sugar level (not excellent), and answered a slate of questions how much alcohol I consume (very little), whether I always wear my seat belt and apply sunscreen (of course), how much stress I have in my life (uh…) and other lifestyle factors.  At the end of the assessment I was asked if I’d like to be contacted by a health coach.  Sure!

About a month later, out of the blue and with the assessment completely forgotten, I took a call mid-afternoon at work.  The caller was Dee, my assigned health coach and the woman who was to redirect me onto the path of wellness.

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One Response to My path to wellness (part I)

  1. Pingback: My path to wellness (part II) | A Suburban Life

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