Author Julie Dent is the Director of Sales Operations at Aliat and a participant in our Wellness Program.
It wasn’t very long ago that Wellness was not on my mind – at all. At 34 years old, stress from several outside influencers began taking its toll on my once petite frame. I would lie in bed awake for hours as my mind raced. My breakfast began to consist of nothing but a “line of Oreos” as my sleep deprivation induced a craving for sugar. Weight began to stretch my business clothes making it uncomfortable to simply sit at my desk.
My career has always been my priority, but I didn’t realize how much my personal wellness was affecting my energy levels.
Each morning, I would sluggishly roll out of bed, grab something processed and in a wrapper to devour at lunch and head to the office. I did not have energy to make a nutritious meal as my sleepless night had a grip on me. Once at work, I would sit at my desk for countless hours solving problems for clients without ever having a thought for myself. Life in its essence was exhausting. I found myself in the center of a vicious cycle created by lack of sleep, poor nutrition and physical inactivity.
In the beginning of March, our Wellness movement swept across our companies.
As part of the program, I decided to complete my health risk assessment. This is when it was discovered that diabetes has been lingering in my midst. At 34 years old and 126 lbs, it seemed ridiculous to be diagnosed as pre-diabetic; but it wasn’t.
In an effort to get ahead of my health, my husband Curtis and I decided we were going to start to take advantage of the 12k step loop right outside of our doorstep in South Waterfront.
This past Saturday morning beginning at OHSU, we headed North toward the Tilikum Bridge. The Tilikum Bridge is a perfect pedestrian-focused conduit joining the West to the East side landscapes high above the Willamette River.
Our trail led us circling to the back of the Portland Opera House towards OMSI along the gorgeous riverfront. My calves ached and my right pinky toe felt numb as my walking shoes were being broken in. We spotted a docked submarine and many varieties of birds.
We continued our journey while taking in the soul-rejuvenating scenery over the Steel Bridge then wrapping South toward the Saturday Market. My mouth was parched and my thighs cried for reprieve.
My daily average of 3k steps had me out of breath and wondering if I could ever possibly make this journey again. Each passing street car taunted me. It would have been so easy to hop on and ride the rest of the way back home. But no. I was not going to give in as Curtis’ stamina was not going to beat me!
Finally, 12,000 steps later and two 5 minute breaks on benches along the walk, we ended at a Subway for a healthy salad and 16 ounces of water as the sun began to sit on the horizon. My daily step total ended with 15,645 steps, a sore toe and an amazing night of sleep.
On Sunday, Curtis and I ventured out and completed this same route once again to my astonishment. This time, it was easier. My muscles felt better as I stayed active. I literally felt healthier ending the day at more than 17,750 steps.
Upon my awaking at 5:00 a.m. on Monday (this morning), I sprung out of bed eager to hit the trail. My muscles craved the challenge. My lungs begged for fresh air. For the first time in years I had more energy. I’m at 8,218 steps and it’s not even noon!
With a healthier diet, more sleep and increased activity, diabetes no longer has a chance. It’s going down.