Dana Martin Writing

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A [mostly amusing] blog about travel, life, and TSA pat-downs
Dana Martin Writing

“H” is for Health

Grateful April in the A-Z Blogging Challenge
On the road again.
For the first time in my son’s professional baseball career he is on a team we
can get to without a 5-hour plane ride and $2,000 in expenses, so on nights he
pitches, you can bet that we drive the three hours to see it. That’s where I
found myself last night. I had six hours in the car to think about my “H” post.
As I munched sugary
car ride goodies and sucked down a giant coffee while sitting nearly motionless
for eight hours, I knew exactly what my “H” would be. Health.
Despite my total
lack of discipline yesterday followed by a kamikaze-like attack of a “mama meal”
at 9 o-clock at night, I really do think about my health. A lot.
I was conditioned
young to think about health. My sixth grade P.E. teacher bribed her students to
run a 6-minute mile. If we did, she would treat us to a milkshake from
McDonald’s. Irony aside, it worked. Four of us managed to do it, jeans and all,
and enjoyed our shakes while the loafers enjoyed watching.
In junior high, that
same teacher persuaded us to run track, infusing so much excitement into winning
that a small group of us decided to “train” (we thought we were such jocks)
outside of school hours by running around our neighborhood on Saturday mornings.
We felt very athletic. This behavior carried over to high school track, though,
and I made a habit of getting up early to run, right up until I was 19 years
And then, marriage
and kids.
It didn’t happen
right away—the extra pounds, the muffin top, the complete disregard for my
figure, pants size, floppy underarms or cholesterol level. The pounds snuck on like weeds in a flowerbed;
one or two at first, and before I knew it, my once immaculately manicured
landscape was littered with lumpy, bumpy, unattractive invaders.
I began to blame my
body changes on the mirrors in Ross dressing rooms. Bad lighting, that was it.
When my pant size went up again, my best friend convinced me that manufacturers
were to blame; hadn’t I noticed that sizes didn’t fit the same as when we were
younger? Manufacturers were making clothes smaller now. That must be it! They
were running a conspiracy to make women feel fat. Great

My problem certainly wasn’t
that every Sunday I’d eat an entire box of Raisinetts and bowl of popcorn while
watching NASCAR on the couch for four hours. My new figure could not be the
result of cheeseburgers, French fries, and nightly ice cream or cookies. Looking
back, I’d guess my daily caloric intake to be about 3,000 in those days while my
exercise had gone to zero.

The turning point
came at a baseball game many years ago. My brother-in-law complimented my new
figure, saying how nice it was that I was finally filling out and turning into a
woman. I was only 32. The remark caused me to look at myself through his eyes,
and I finally saw what I had chosen to ignore: I had let myself go.
The changes didn’t
come overnight. It took a few more years of discipline and exercise with plenty
of failed attempts. Eventually, I realized that my attitude about my health had
to change; I began to see healthy living as a lifestyle, not a
I’m still not
perfect. I hate drinking water… and I do experience episodes like last night
where I absolutely fail at self-control. But unlike the past, it’s only a
one-day fail; I’ll be back on the Spin bike tonight, and not just because I
want a slender figure. Today, I have different
I want a healthy
body. I was blessed with good health, good organs, blood to donate, eyes that
see, and legs that move me, and I’d like to show some appreciation. There may
come a day when I’m not so lucky.


  • J.L. Campbell

    Too true that excess weight creeps up when we're not looking. I've been fighting the same 40 pounds on and off for 20 years.

  • Joan Raymond

    Thanks for sharing your health struggles and triumphs with us. I think once one sees healthy living as a way of life and not a chore, makes all the difference in success.

    Congrats for choosing success.

  • A month of....Blog

    Excellent as usual! I've just pinned your sign on Pinterest.
    A month of Blog…

  • Kathy Wiechman

    Great post, Dana! I was forced into healthy living at 16, when I was diagnosed with "juvenile diabetes." It was do or die, literally. And I'm still here decades later, still watching those numbers, but still living an active life.

  • Kym Showers

    love & agree….now I'm headed out for a hike…..xxoo

  • Annis Cassells

    Love this analogy: "The pounds snuck on like weeds in a flowerbed; one or two at first, and before I knew it, my once immaculately manicured landscape was littered with lumpy, bumpy, unattractive invaders." This is exactly the way it happens.

    Motivating, my dear Dana! Walking up to get the newspaper in two minutes. xoA

  • Craig Edwards

    All too true. Good on you for altering your mindset to your benefit!

  • Robin

    As someone who has been fighting a chronic migraine for the last ten years (that would be the SAME migraine), I can wholeheartedly agree about your health. If you haven't got it, you haven't got anything!!! People simply do not understand how devastating chronic illness is. So, take care of your body. Treat it will the dignity it deserves. And, even if you are sick, do what you can to maintain whatever you HAVE. There will come a day (I believe that) when this migraine thing gets solved, and I don't want to be so far down that I can't get back up. Always do what you can with what you have!!!

  • Robin

    I realize I didn't comment (really) on your blog. Yay for you for jumping in there and getting proactive when you saw that there was a PROBLEM. Not everyone does that you know…

  • Kimberly Gabriel

    Uhm – manufacturer's sizes have gone up. 😉 You must be so proud to watch your son pitch. 😉 Glad you got to see him last night.

  • Jonathan

    Great post. I saw a lot of my past struggles getting in shape in your journey. I finally got back into the swing of things for self-therapy after a rough stretch. Since then, when I think of going for a run it never feels like a chore; I actually look forward to having the free time to do so. Congratulations to your son, again. That's a great achievement! 🙂

  • Mark Means

    Getting, and staying, in shape is tough and only recently did I realize that it all starts with re-wiring my brain and eating correctly.

    Or, at least trying to. We've started by using a juicer and are loving it.

    It's a rough journey, but totally worth it!

    Left and Write

  • Dana Martin

    You guys are all great! Sorry to have missed your H posts today; I will look at H and I tomorrow.

  • CalicoGirl416

    What an awesome post!! I've been in the process of "letting myself go" for the last few months and I've been trying to motivate myself to start exercising again. Appreciating my good health (while I still have it) is a great start!! Thank you!!

    The Good Twin @ thewinetwins.blogspot.com

  • Frances Stiles

    Good health is so important. I wish when I was younger that I knew how important. I wish now that I had gone into some profession where I could help, like nutritionist. Well I did work for Weight Watchers for 15 years so I guess that's one way of helping. Great post, Dana!

  • Grover

    The amount of chocolate I was given for Easter this year was ridiculous. I actually made a video reminding myself how many calories are in all those eggs. So far I've managed not to stuff my face!

    Inane Ramblings

  • David Macaulay

    Muffin tops and Ross, lol. Good post, Dana. I think through most of my 30s I did hardly any exercise. It's only in recent years that I have changed it around a bit and it is addictive – just takes a lot of willpower.

  • Dennis


    Healthy is an important topic and I take it seriously. Each of us must find our own path to health. The test is does it work for me.

    I love your "You are what you eat" image. I'm going to adopt it as a motto.


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Dana Martin Writing

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