The phrase “Sick and tired of being sick and tired” has received a lot of use by talk show host Dave Ramsey, a debt counselor, but it’s literal meaning marks the beginning of Lorena Contreras’ road to better health and lifestyle change. She took 4 trips to the doctor in a single month, unable to recover from pneumonia. After receiving a recommendation to join Medford’s YMCA Wellness Program, she hoped the knowledge and support it provided would give her the tools she needed to help her gain strength back in her lungs. That was year and a half ago. Today you would meet a lady who has become the “CEO of her own health” (to steal another phrase, this from JJ Virgin). You will run into her at the YMCA 5-6 times a week now. She has taken charge of her diet like… well, someone who has the resolution to say “no” when offered (several times) by a good-intentioned buddy (someone interviewing her for a blog) anything that would sidetrack her from clean-eating and ridding herself of sugar-addiction. Less than 2 years ago could she have envisioned and believed that today she would have the discipline to prepare her meals on Sunday nights to get ready for a busy work week and making it to the gym- both in opposite directions and each 15 minutes from her house? Even now as I write that last sentence, the little bit I’ve gotten to know Lorena, I think she would be annoyed with me for making it sound like she is a superhero, like it’s easy for her and she does it perfectly every time. For most of us… those are super human habits. But Lorena will tell you that it didn’t get easier. Getting out of bed for a 5 am cycle class hurts. Saying “no” to friends still leaves the fearful thought “Am I being selfish?” And, yes, sugar still tastes good! These factors don’t change. So why can Lorena keep up those habits? At first, it was the social network she received from the Wellness Program, then it was the awakening belief that SHE truly had the power to be the change agent in her life as she watched the scale move down. After falling off the wagon and seeing her progress erased by old habits, it became the stubborn unwillingness to return to them. And lastly, it’s the realization that the pain you feel when breaking down muscles is what causes them to grow, and the heart pounding, out-of-breath sensation is getting your circulation going. No one can avoid pain in life, the secret is learning to evaluate it! In Colorado, near the Rocky Mountains when a storm starts brewing the herds of cows instinctively run in the opposite direction. Unfortunately for them they are slow and end up running with the storm, prolonging their pain and fear. The buffalo, on the other hand, seem to know that the quickest way to get away from the storm is to get out of it’s path. They run through the storm to the other side of it. Yes, they felt discomfort, BECAUSE they did not waist energy trying to avoid it! We humans get to choose which herd we want to be in, but we don’t get to choose whether life involves storms or not. Lorena decided that if she had to be sick and tired, it would be due to pain from breaking down muscles and tired from giving it her all at the gym! Besides, a buffalo seems so much cooler than a cow!
Note: This is an interview I did over a year ago. I’m adding it here from my old blog. I still see Lorana at the Gym and her commitment inspires me!