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Changing lifestyles and improving health

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BEMIDJI – In the last year, I lost more than 60 pounds and dropped five pants sizes.

I wouldn’t say I’m proud – if anything, I’m ashamed to have gotten as large as I was – but I’m definitely happier. And healthier.

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Yet, I want to do better. Not so much in terms of weight loss (though I wouldn’t object to dropping another 10 pounds or so); mainly, I want to be fit again.

My husband and I moved to Bemidji in 2007 because of our then-active lifestyles. We lived in the Twin Cities and packed up every Thursday for weekend excursions along the Superior Hiking Trail or in the Boundary Waters.

Moving north made sense, since that’s where we spent our free time.

It all worked quite well, for about three months, until I got pregnant with our first daughter.

Then I got lazy.

I stopped hiking, snowshoeing and camping. As I became less active, I planned fewer meals at home, eating far too often from drive-through lanes.

That lifestyle came to a head last February, when I threw out my back. As I lay flat on the floor for a week or so, I forced myself to face just how unhealthy I had become.

I was small-to-average-sized throughout high school, and despite adopting unhealthy eating habits in college, hours of tennis each day kept the pounds from getting completely out of control. But after graduation, marriage and pregnancies, I traded daily exercise for all-day-long snacking.

I vowed to change.

I started on April 9, counting every calorie I ate and recording daily weigh-ins on a hallway wall calendar. Nearly eight months later, I’m 64 pounds lighter

Yet I’m still not quite where I want to be. Size-wise, I’m doing OK, but I miss being fit, when I could run a couple of miles without feeling overly exhausted or spend a few hours on the court without needing two-minute breaks between points to catch my breath.

So, call it a resolution if you want, but my goal for 2013 is to find and adopt an exercise routine that I can do, mostly for free, within my own home or neighborhood.

And then stick to it.

I’ve come this far, it can’t be that much harder to go the rest of the way.

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Bethany Wesley is a news reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer.

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