COMFORT FOOD: I was working construction, and I got laid off when the economy took a crash. I was eating for comfort: pizza, hamburgers, fries, chicken nuggets ... and I was drinking, smoking, chewing, everything.
Smoking Cessation 101: Since I was laid off, I couldn't afford to buy cigarettes or chewing tobacco, so I stopped cold turkey. I loved the mental challenge. My wife and I helped put on a fundraiser for a sick little girl in 2007, a classmate of my kids'. I put in money for a three-month membership to a gym and started going five or six days a week.
A SLOW START: I could run maybe half a mile or a mile. It was another mental challenge to force myself to go to the gym, and it was fun. I was losing weight slowly. I wouldn't even step on a scale; I was mainly trying to be healthy and get myself motivated. After the first month, I started thinking, why do I run and then put junk food back in? So I slowly incorporated healthy food into it.
Zero to 26.2 in three years: I used to think running was ridiculous. But last winter, I'd wake up and throw on some long johns and sweatshirts and run 5 miles when it was 10 below. It's kind of healing; it clears my mind. It helps me mentally with two jobs, four kids and a wife. I don't know if I would be able to do all that and handle it without being healthy. I just signed up for Grandma's Marathon with my three older brothers.
Couch potato no more: I got a job two-and-a-half years ago with Fed Ex grounds crew at the airport, and more recently a job as a service tech for a pool company. I work at Fed Ex 4-7:30 a.m. I'm home by 4:30 or 5 from the pool job. We have dinner, I work out or run, play with the kids or do yard work, hang out as a family, put the kids to bed at 8, and go to bed at 9:30. I don't get a lot of sleep.
Picture-perfect: My oldest son says, "You look so different now from the pictures on the mantel." The kids come running with me sometimes: I'll go for a 5-mile run and the older two will bike and I'll push the younger two in the stroller. What I like to eat is different now. I love spinach. Now everybody teases me if I have a chicken nugget: "Oh, do you have to go run five miles now?"
Sheila Mulrooney Eldred is a Twin Cities freelance writer.Contact us If you or someone you know would be a good candidate for "How I Got This Body," e-mail us at email@example.com and include your name, age, contact information and an explanation of your fitness story.
More from Star Tribune
More from Variety
Should Hillary Clinton become the president, Bill Clinton would become the first male White House spouse. This poses a pressing question for Americans: what would we call him?
Columnist James Lileks will host guided tours of Loring Park this summer.
Visitors: 238,313 in 2015. Square miles: 340. Established: 1975. The basics: Voyageurs National Park, on Minnesota’s border with Canada, got its name from the…