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From the Couch to the Track: Janet’s Journey

From the Couch to the Track: Janet’s Journey

These days 45-year old Janet McDuffey is preparing for another half marathon. It will be her 7th race this year and her 108th race since she her first one in April 2010.  She’s excited about her next challenge and determined to make it her best race ever.  This is the new Janet McDuffey…however she hasn’t always been this way.

This is Janet’s Journey:

In October 2008, 40-year old Janet looked in the mirror and realized that she needed to make a change. The person in the reflection had low self-esteem and was unhappy. She had gained 100 pounds over a 5-7 year period and was at her highest weight of 270 lbs.

Soon she began to realize that change wouldn’t happen until she learned who she was and how to love herself (including the weight).  She started by facing the mirror daily and saying “I love you Janet”.  Once the love fest developed she went to her doctor for help. He gave her advice that she followed such as keeping a food log and following a similar-like South Beach diet. She also eliminated fried foods and stopped using cream and sugar in her daily coffee.  She cut out fast food, which for her was difficult because the divorced mother of two was always on the go. Fast food was quick and convenient yet it was one of the culprits of her weight gain. She began planning and preparing healthier meals and as a result she lost weight.

After 3-4 weeks of incorporating a healthier diet, Janet began to exercise. She admits that at first she was a bit lazy and could barely walk for 15 minutes at a time on the treadmill…yet she didn’t give up. At the end of 2009, she had lost 50 pounds but Janet didn’t want stop there. She wanted to lift weights but was nervous and intimated. So she went to the gym at 5:00 am because very few people were there at that hour of the morning, which lessened her fears.  She also took a weightlifting class for women.  Then one day a friend asked her to walk at the track. She agreed and met her there with the intentions of walking a few laps however something happened. She decided to run.  Janet ran the full lap and admits that it felt great.  Although she was out of breath afterwards she was excited about doing it again so she ran the next day, running two laps. Every couple of days she increased her distance until she ran four laps, the equivalent of a mile.

As Janet’s love for running increased, she developed a desire to run a race. She signed up for her first 5K race, the Komen Race for the Cure, in April 2010 but yet again she was nervous. She had visions of falling on her face and people laughing so she signed up for another race a few weeks earlier as a trial run. Running the 5K race was exhilarating to Janet. When the new runner returned home she immediately registered for another race scheduled the following weekend…she was hooked.

Since her first race in the spring of 2010, Janet has participated in three full marathons…26.2 miles.  She runs daily, does strength training 3-4 times a week, and takes an hour interval class once weekly.  She fits in her fitness regimen, while working full-time in community health, by strength training in the morning before work and running in the evenings. She’s also a member of a local track club that meets regularly.

Her transformed lifestyle also consists of making smarter food choices such as taking a healthy lunch to work daily (even though lunch is provided by her employer).  Each morning she makes a smoothie with spinach, kale, and almond milk for breakfast. Her home-packed lunch consists of salads or veggies and protein patties. Because of her busy schedule, the old Janet used to eat fast food many nights for dinner. Now, the new Janet cooks a healthy dish on the weekend that she can quickly reheat for dinner each night. Like most women, she has cravings…salty, crunchy foods. However, she doesn’t deny herself anything. She still eats junk food on occasion but only eats a small amount.  She’s believes that a small piece tastes the same as a big piece.

One of Janet’s biggest challenges is attending family and church dinners where the menus consist of fried and fatty foods. She goes but eats her healthy dinner prior to attending. When she first adopted a healthier lifestyle, some family members were critical and thought she had gone too extreme. Some supported her and some did not however her son, who was her biggest champion, got on board. As a result, he lost over 100 pounds.

These days Janet’s primary goal is not losing weight. Her focus is to build strength, be healthy, improve her running, be fit, and add years to her life.

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