Walking My Way to Wellness


By Donna Wong

I like to eat. I enjoy ice cream, and I love flavored creamer in my coffee. I can open a bag of chips; and the next time I look at the bag, I go, “Wow, it’s half gone.” 

While I have battled gaining weight my whole life, the lowest point for me came right before the pandemic. 

My husband is a marathon runner and a triathlete. Our 15-year-old daughter runs cross country and plays soccer at her high school. One day, we went to one of the Central Florida theme parks. My family watched as an attendant pulled me off a ride because the safety bar couldn’t go down due to my size. I was humiliated and wanted to hide. 

“I really need to do something,” I said. But I never did. 

Then one day, my husband, who works at a hospital, came home with an announcement. 

“My friend is on Weight Watchers and has been successful, and we get it discounted through work. So, I signed you up,” he said. 

“You what?” I said, in shock and anger. “I can’t believe you did that.” 

I added a couple of other choice words. But as it sunk in, I thought, “Maybe this is the kick in the pants I needed.” 

I downloaded the app in March 2020. By August, I had dropped 30 pounds. I was surprised what a difference it made in how I felt. 

About that time, a friend and I were commiserating about how we should get out and move more. We decided to walk 2 miles. We had to stop and rest several times. I wondered if we could make it back to our cars. 

Then I lost my job due to COVID. I was taking my daughter to our local trail every morning to run at 6:45 a.m. So, I called up my friend and asked if she wanted to meet me the next morning and walk as far as we felt we could. We decided to commit to doing it three days a week. At first, we would stop at every bench and rest. Other women heard about what we were doing, and a small group formed. 

wellness over illness

It’s much more than just walking. We’re doing life together. We have a vested interest in one another and cheer each other on: “Looking good!” “Great workout!”  

Today, at 53, I’ve lost 75 pounds and no longer have to take medication for diabetes and high blood pressure. I’m up to 4 miles, five mornings a week and also walk with a group every Wednesday evening. 

To those who say they don’t have time, I understand how they feel. I used to say the same thing. It’s one of the reasons I keep a note on my phone so I can remind myself and share it with others. It reads: “If you don’t make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness.” 

Since lockdown restrictions are lifted, my husband, daughter and I are back at the theme parks. And guess what? Now they have a hard time keeping up with me! 

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