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120 Years, 120 Stories: Diana’s Story

By YWCA of Minneapolis
December 28, 2011
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Fitness as a family affair

Fitness wasn’t always so fun for Diana, two-time YWCA Meltdown winner and Women’s Triathlon veteran. Until recently, she worked out sporadically, and had struggled with weight issues for most of her life. Spurred by the desire to be active with her young daughters and set a healthy example for them, Diana decided to make some big changes.

I started and stopped “dieting” so many times in my life, but it wasn’t until my husband and I went on the journey together in early 2010 and made changes in our lifestyle — both food and activity level — that it was really sustainable.

In January 2010, after my husband lost his job, we decided to do the Meltdown. I had done it before and even placed fourth one year, but now that the teams were made up of two people, we decided to do it together. It was a great way for him to get out of the house and deal with the mental anguish of losing a job. We went on to win both of the Meltdowns in 2010. I felt great about the inches and weight lost in those Meltdowns.

I started thinking about what else I might do, so I started biking in April as part of a “30 days of biking” challenge. I kept it up and actually biked every day for 99 days in a row. That really got me into biking in a way I had not been before!

I have a friend who runs the Turkey Trot every year. I had never thought about running it myself until after we won the second Meltdown. I was thinking about doing the Women’s Triathlon that summer, but had never run a 5k and wasn’t sure that I could do it. I ran the Turkey Trot, and went on to run the Recycle Run put on by the Minneapolis Park Board. My husband joined me on the second race, and completed his first 5K. We ran together and it was awesome. I ran the whole way without stopping. Three weeks later, I ran my third 5K, the Race for the Cure, and I was so psyched that I was starting to feel like I could do the Women’s Triathlon. After all, I had done three 5K races in the previous six months!

The Women’s Triathlon was an amazing experience. I trained all summer and took Total Immersion lessons with a friend who decided to join me for the tri. I really enjoyed the summer so much more because I was training outside so much. After the race, I was shaking and very emotional from the sense of accomplishment I had.

It’s so important for my kids to see healthy living by example. At home, we stress the health aspects and don’t talk about weight and how we look. It’s really about being strong, physically and mentally. My husband and I have a saying that, in our old age, we would rather see an orthopedic surgeon instead of a cardiologist.

I want my 15-year-old and 6-year-old to develop good healthy living habits early in life. It’s so hard to change old habits. My husband has been such a supporter! He has transformed as well, losing 60 pounds and gaining pounds of muscle. We set our schedules to make sure that we can both work out, together when we can. We started going on bike rides together for dates — a great way to save money while he was unemployed, and to be together and exercise. We have spent our last two anniversaries biking in Lanesboro, Minnesota. This year, we did a 50-mile day, my longest ever. We also bought cross-country skis late last year and are excited about skiing together this winter.

People always ask me how I do it. Well, it’s all about input versus output — paying attention to what you eat and how much energy you use. It’s not rocket science. I think it’s more important to be physically active and get exercise, then it is to worry about what you are eating. As long as you are moving, you are moving in the right direction.