OneStepStories-DougBWith my health deteriorating, and my weight out of control, I decided to “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

Diagnosed with deteriorating hip sockets and a bulging disc, exercise was not a possibility for me (or so I thought). I sought after the simple pleasures of food and television to make life bearable.

My only child, Hannah, became pregnant with my first grandson. I remember thinking that I should record messages for him so that he could watch them later on in life to know who I was after I had died. I woke up and said, “If I really believe I’m going to die without making changes, then why not die fighting?”

I was told by surgeons that I should never engage in high impact exercise again. This led to the deterioration of my health and took me down a long path to obesity and depression.

My good friend and co-worker, Donnie Bateman, shared his love for running with me and we began to exercise together. As Donnie shared how much running had changed his life, I remembered how much I enjoyed running on treadmills years prior. I purchased a used treadmill from a seller on Craigslist, brought it home disassembled in my car, and never looked back.

I remember being able to run a full mile for the first time. I also remember the moment that I dropped below 300 lbs for the first time in years. When all this began, my goal was to run a 5K and not finish last. I have upped my goal a bit: my new goal is to run a half marathon, and to enter a marathon by my 50th birthday. This will happen.

I know now that I can never go back. I see things so much differently now. I get joy from things as simple as buying a pair of jeans off the rack without trying them on. If you have never gone through the tireless process of finding clothing that fits, you would never know the impact of this kind of life change. Things like this are priceless.

Make the decision to change, and then be willing to die making it happen. It really is that important. Only you can know what your body and mind are capable of.

Douglas Bowling, Marion, OH

March 28, 2016