I have bad knees.  I have arthritis. I have asthma.  I’m bipolar.  I’m tired all the time.

This is a short list of excuses I used so that I could promptly come home from work, and position myself in front of the TV every night with one of an assortment of microwavable meals, a pint of vodka, and a lot of feeling sorry for myself.

A few years ago, I was in a pretty terrible place.  My live-in boyfriend of 5 years had just suddenly up and left without explanation.  I found out a few days later, there was another girl. He left me with the full rent, and bills to pay on my own. While the relationship had been stagnant for some time, the total life change came as a complete shock.  My bipolar kicked in full swing depression.

I hated my job. It weighed on my emotional stability, working in an extremely hostile and unorganized workplace.  It almost never got all the bills paid, now that I was living alone.  At the end of the day, all I wanted to do was forget about everything that happened that day, and the easiest way to do that was dive into a martini glass.

Last October, I signed up for a gym membership.  It was a start, right?  I went about every two weeks, and I’m sure my personal trainer thought I was a waste of time.  I was.

I put off doing healthier things, because….well….excuses.  I finally – on a whim – decided to say “to hell with my bad knees and asthma”, and signed up for a coached running course that would lead to an eventual 5K.  It came complete with assignments that I HAD to do during the week, or I could not POSSIBLY progress to the next phase.  It gave me a sense of urgency and responsibility, both financially and to meet my ultimate goal.   I also found that a lot of other runners compete with bad knees and asthma.  They find ways to work around them.

Around the same time, I decided to give up alcohol altogether as well.  And a friend introduced me to Shakeology and BeachBody Fitness.   In my first two months, I’ve lost 18 lbs.  I can honestly say – this combination of changes in my life have changed me in a very permanent way.

I feel almost no urges to drink anymore, and when I have a bad day and want to reach for a martini – I go running instead.  Endorphins are a powerful thing, and they will stick with you throughout the week if you keep it up.  My knees are actually doing so much BETTER since I started running.  My stamina has grown by leaps and bounds.  My depression is under control.  I have my days, but I cope by “feet to street”, now.  It works for me.

You can make excuses all you want, but it’s not going to get any better if you don’t actively do something to change your life.  Diet will play a huge part in that.  This is only the beginning of my journey.  How will you begin yours?