From Fat to Finish Line

By Kristen Johnson

Taking care of ourselves, taking care of our bodies, eating right, exercising – all things we know we should be doing, but it seems so out of reach at times. It’s not easy to get motivated all the time. It is easier to sit on the couch with a carton of ice cream than it is to go out for a walk and eat a salad. But, one thing is for certain – it’s easier to do with a friend (and I speak from experience).

The documentary, From Fat to Finish Line, follows a group of dedicated runners who have committed to competing in and finishing a multi-leg, multi-day relay race. Each participant has something in common – they have all lost a great deal of weight, or are in the process of doing so. Most of the participants lost 100+ pounds, and 2 of the runners were about halfway done with their weight loss goals which will end in a loss of 100+ pounds at some point. This group of ordinary people, turned ordinary runners, completely inspired me. (Actually, I started the documentary in the middle of the afternoon with my trusty knitting needles……and I left about halfway through it to go for the walk I knew I should be taking! I finished watching it after my walk!)

More than two-thirds (68.8 percent) of adults are considered to be overweight or obese. More than one-third (35.7 percent) of adults are considered to be obese. More than 1 in 20 (6.3 percent) have extreme obesity. Almost 3 in 4 men (74 percent) are considered to be overweight or obese. (NIDDK/NIH).

Those kind of statistics are staggering, and the health costs are enormous. So, supporting each other in our health and fitness goals is obviously something that we can and should be doing for each other. When friends want to get together “for dinner” we should be getting together for a walk or bike ride instead. When we have meeting after meeting scheduled at the office, we should be turning those meetings into “walking” meetings. Instead of streaming videos and playing video games, we should be spending that time on the elliptical machine or at a Zumba class.

Watching this group lift each other up, support each other, and cheer each other on completely uplifted me in spirits and encouraged me. I have participated in a few charity walks and runs, and I can’t begin to tell you how good it feels to have people cheering you on – often complete strangers who run or walk next to you or watch from the sidelines. I have also completed several long bike rides, and I couldn’t have finished them without friends pushing me on to finish. And the only reason I lost weight and got into good physical condition 10 years ago, is because I did it with 3 office mates. Encouragement in the key and I’m so happy to see this group, and others like it, continue to work together to take care of physical health.

Thank you to the runners and the producers of this wonderful documentary for lifting me up and encouraging me to continue to get up off the couch and just do it, even when I don’t want to!

1 Corinthians 9:26-27 (NRSV): So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air; 27 but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified.

Serve all with love.

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