Why do I strive for a healthy lifestyle? I worked past a moment of tragedy and saw an opportunity for growth. The small changes I made along the way helped me to bounce back and set standards for a positive outcome.
The “big change” in my health routine came after we lost our preterm son eight years ago. The loss came a year and a half into our marriage and first duty station, which was overseas. Unfortunately, there was nothing the doctors or we could have done to stop the delivery of our son. It all happened too fast.
It was a learning experience, to say the least. Depression crept its way into my life. I didn’t care much about what I was doing with my body – food or exercise. A few months passed and I was still in a fog. It took a comment from my husband about the upkeep of our home to snap me out of it. I am a stickler about the cleanliness of our home and he recognizes that if the house is not in order I must be out of sorts.
That was my wake-up call. I started to recuperate by taking long walks through our village, local fields, and trails. It cleared my mind. I started to come out of the fog.
My doctor told me it was important to try to conceive again sooner rather than later if that is what we were interested in doing. We gave it a try and I was blessed with another pregnancy. The pregnancy was considered high risk, so I was limited to bed rest. I didn’t let the limitations stop me. I ate better, fresher, healthier foods. I made the small changes I could. I stayed calm and took care of the baby and myself.
After the delivery of our daughter, my husband taught me how to run. We took advantage of our beautiful surroundings and created an outdoor fitness routine that we could do as a family. Three months into the routine, he deployed. I chose to continue the routine and built upon it. As I did this, I found my attitude and choice in food changed as I became “healthier.” I was more confident and it showed. The photographs, videos, and messages I sent my deployed husband were full of encouragement and optimism. By the end of that deployment, I had lost over 65 pounds and my house was in order.
Fast-forward seven years — I have become more educated about food and exercise. I take time out of the day to have quality time with each member of my family. I make most of our meals from scratch so I know what we are eating and shop for produce at the local farmers’ market for fresh foods. Together, we participate in community fun runs and sports teams. My daughter and I even attend fitness classes together.
I decided I wouldn’t let the loss of our son dictate my life. I would find a way to have a positive outcome from it. I chose to make a change toward balance – have a healthy mind and body – inside and out. I take the time every day to reflect on the loss of our son and know his loss was not in vain.