By Member of the Month
LIVE WELL is proud to introduce Darlene, April’s Member of the Month! Darlene shares with us how exercise and changing healthy habits CAN make a difference in your life. Her incredible journey will inspire and show you how dedication, motivation while having fun at LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic can make an impact on your life.
My journey with LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic started the day I went to see a surgeon about knee replacement surgery. I was using a cane and had had a limp for at least 15 years. I have moderate arthritis in my lower back, hands, some of my toes and my neck as well as both knees. I am also an emotional eater and would eat whenever possible. I had come to the point where it was easier to do nothing physical because it hurt. I became a true couch potato. As for the surgery, of course I was too heavy to have it done as I had been all my life for anything that I wanted to do. At the same time my husband started having health problems that were very frightening and needed to be sorted out. All in all, I was an overweight mess of pain and depression, and was totally overwhelmed with life.
The first person to mention LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic to me was a friend. We went out for dinner and she told me how much better she was doing in her life. The next was my family doctor who told me it would help my weight, probably my depression and get me to the point where I could get my knee fixed. My reaction was “sure it will.” The third person was my husband’s doctor. She had recognized that I was in pain both physically and mentally as well. It took me several months to actually go check out the clinic. I am so very glad I did!!
As I started out with the exercises, I took one look at the room full of machines and just knew this was going to kill me. And all the smiling people I saw - were just members of a cult. Did I mention I am also a pessimist? Anyway, as I spent a couple of days learning the exercises that were specifically given to me to help and not aggravate my physical problems, I realized that I was feeling better emotionally as well. I have met some great people and we help each other through some of our rough patches. I started to truly enjoy going to my sessions twice a week. So much so in fact that I now go three times! I have learned that when I feel overwhelmed I have to do something about it and not just sink with the ship. The best solutions for me are to talk to about it and not let it fester, and indulge in self-care by walking, deep breathing, gardening or whatever it takes to keep active.
Another big change has been in my diet. I eat and enjoy salads now instead of grease and sugar. They are my enemies and not my “feel better” buddies. I handle my cravings for sweets by getting only one cookie instead of a whole box, and I can enjoy that cookie without guilt. There is so much more to do than to sit around and eat all day.
I enjoy life so much more now than I ever have before. I walk without a limp, I have lost 30 pounds and have gone down about three clothing sizes. I have joined a choir and I am looking to experience many other things that sound interesting. I actually enjoy exercise instead of avoiding it and I make goals. I have two big ones in the works at the moment: 1) to try dragon boat paddling, kayaking and rowing; 2) my husband and I are going to go to Hawaii next year and our goal is to enter one of the distance walking events they have hopefully the 10K. I can’t run because of my knees and my back, but I will walk it and finish it! MY LIFE HAS CHANGED!
I want to thank Julie, Lauren and Kieran at LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic Abbotsford for their caring, understanding and support. They have helped me make the great changes in my life and to realize I can keep making positive changes. I would also like to thank Dr. Ali Zentner and her staff for their support and encouragement.
Thank you to Darlene for sharing her inspiring experiences with the LIVE WELL Community. It truly brings us such JOY that our members never gave up and keep striving for good health!