Why: Nicole’s Story
I strive to live a healthy lifestyle because it took a long time to get where I am today. There was a lot of struggle before success, but I fought through it all, and I am still working hard to reach my health and fitness goals. These are the top three reasons why I live healthy and happy:
1. To fight disease and manage my weight.
I spent the majority of my life being overweight. It is hard being picked on as a kid because you are fat, so that is something you learn to grow up with. As you mature, you’re expected to put your big girl pants on, get over it, and fix the problem. That is exactly what I tried to do, but many things got in the way of success. I come from a long line of family members with an array of health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, cancer, and the list goes on.
I was just 22 years old when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. I was a stressed out single mom with over 100 pounds to lose. Between gaining 50 pounds when I was pregnant with my son, to major back surgery and depression, it was not easy. I watched my sweet grandmother pass away, suffering from these diseases, and she started with diabetes at 35 years old. I did not want to journey down that path, so I improved, and every health problem I once had, is now gone. I do not know what the future brings, but I will do everything within my power to prevent disease and keep myself healthy. I feel very blessed to be able to come as far as I have. I have learned my health is in my own hands.
2. For my brother.
My brother Anthony and I were very close growing up. We were only 18 months apart. After 9/11, my brother joined the Marines. It was definitely a new experience for us. As a single mom, my son didn’t have that male figure in his life. My brother helped me out tremendously, loved my son, and did whatever he could to help us. He also knew how much I hated being overweight, and tried to help me work out and get me on the right path with exercise. He was deployed to Iraq in 2006, and it brought a wave of emotions knowing what he was getting into. In January of 2007, we got that knock on the door everyone fears. He was shot and killed in combat. This brought an overwhelming amount of depression for a while, a lot of questions, and a lot of emotion. It took me a long time to pull myself together after something so tragic. My brother was always happy, always joking, very fit and very determined. I spoke with him before every mission, and I knew he didn’t want me to be unhappy in life, or depressed if he didn’t come home. He would want me to be healthy, happy, and a good mother to my son. He would want me to meet a good man, move away from so much that was bringing me down, and succeed in everything. A lot of it was easier said than done, but I learned to live my life happily because he cannot. It also took me a little time between my back surgery and second child, but I lost 80 pounds. My brother’s memory helps my determination.
3. For my family.
I married an amazing man a few years later, oddly enough a soldier named Anthony. What a coincidence! As you all know, supporting your husband is so important, especially in the lifestyle we live. Keeping him a healthy weight gets him through PT tests, and many hours of work each day. Not to mention, who doesn’t love a healthy home-cooked meal each night? I also don’t want our children growing up unhealthy and having to face some of the diseases that can easily be prevented. I hope by giving my kids healthy meals and keeping them active, they will learn good habits to last their entire lifetime! We all live a Paleo lifestyle, but my husband and kids are more 80/20. Finding a good balance between foods that are healthy AND taste good is how we make it a lifestyle.
My husband and my kids bring a world of joy to my life, so keeping us ALL healthy and happy is very important.