My health scare in January has led me to reevaluate a lot of things in my life. I took advantage of the month I was off work to examine my priorities and determine whether they were in line with my values. Since then, I've made the appropriate changes. Some decisions were easier than others.
For instance, I realized that not only do I love my job and people for whom I work, but working at the Tracy Press also fulfills me. Truly, I'm a lucky person. Few people are lucky enough to love what they do. I need to appreciate being among the few in this case.
Loving my job was an easy realization to come to. The more difficult ones have to do with what I want outside of professional circles. There needs to be more to me than just a journalist. After all, having interests outside of our careers is what makes us well-rounded as humans. It gives us context and passion -- all things that are very important.
One thing I know for sure is that I want to take a more active role in advocacy for the obese. More than 60 percent of U.S. residents suffer from the disease of obesity, which means every man, woman and child in this country is touched by the disease. Yet even today, it remains one of the few areas where discrimination is prevalent and accepted. And that has to stop.
Having lost almost 200 pounds, much of which I had carried on my 5-foot, 3-inch frame since childhood, I have two choices: I can let my "normal" exterior fool me and those I meet by pretending I never had a weight problem, or I can use the experience and my newfound energy and mobility to help others. I've chosen the latter.
Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions, and it's time more people speak out against it as well. The Tracy Hospital Foundation has embarked on an education campaign that includes billboards around town. They help, but more has to be done. It's not fair or realistic to leave the fight up to medical professionals, schools and legislators. As someone who suffered through childhood obesity, I think I have a lot to bring to this particular fight -- and I intend to make my voice heard.
The first step I plan to take in my personal fight against obesity will be participation in the American Society of Bariatric Surgeons' Walk From Obesity. The nationwide event raises money to fund obesity research and advocacy efforts. Walks will be scheduled all over the country in September and October. Specific dates and locations will be announced in May. Keep reading here for more details.