The Hardest Exercise I Ever Tackled – The Quest for My Best

By on August 26, 2016

By Kathy Carlton Willis –

I grew up skinny. I really did. I was still underweight when I married my high school sweetheart. But soon, the pounds found me. A few snuck up on me due to my limited food budget and unhealthy choices, rather than the more costly healthier choices. And as I entered my twenties, thirties, and beyond my metabolism slowed.

When I started my first diet, my beginning weight was the exact number I hope to get to as my goal weight now! And I thought I was heavy.

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Over the course of thirty years, I’ve fought multiple medical diagnoses, almost twenty surgeries, and nearly annual rounds of PT and rehab for various setbacks. Compounded by well above a hundred different prescriptions since the symptoms began. Each physical challenge seemed to add more weight.

Fast-forward to my early 50s. I was 100 pounds above my so-called “heavy” weight when I graduated from college.

Every pound robbed me of more vigor life. And as my cells slowed down, the scale increased. I felt like a slug. A slug that experienced pain each time I tried to budge a muscle. Unhealthy food choices introduced me to diabetes.

But all that changed when I faced the hardest exercise I ever tackled. It wasn’t in a fitness center or with a weight-loss group. It wasn’t with a group class. This exercise didn’t cause me to sweat—well, maybe it did.

The hardest exercise I ever tackled was determining to get up and do something—anything—to not allow my situation to get any worse.

Before the “want to” is engaged the ability to make healthy choices will never be permanent. It might last for a while, like a fad or a trend. But soon the old ways will creep back in. It’s more convenient to do what you know than to pursue a new way of living. Doing the right things in life requires challenge, discipline, focus, determination, and willpower.

Maybe some of you are in a similar predicament. You’ve put on more weight than you thought possible. You’ve fought medical challenges that complicated your pursuit of health. Giving in to middle-age metabolism has caused you to purchase clothing in larger sizes. The easy diets you went on in your early adult years no longer work. I get it. It’s no picnic!

This article is the first of a year-long series about my nutrition and fitness journey. Will you join me?


Kathy Carlton Willis

Kathy Carlton Willis

Kathy Carlton Willis writes and speaks with a balance of funny and faith—whimsy and wisdom. She shines the light on issues that hold readers back and inspires lightbulb moments. Almost a thousand of Kathy’s articles have been published and she’s written several books, including Grin with Grace and Speaker to Speaker: The Essential Speaker’s Companion. She and husband Russ live in Texas with Jazzy, their hilarious Boston terrier. Learn more at:


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The Hardest Exercise I Ever Tackled – The Quest for My Best