'Back to the basics'; Reporter shares story of moving to healthier lifestyle

Twenty-thirteen is a milestone year for me.

Come Nov. 28, I will hit "The Big 4-0." Health-wise, I feel as if I'm at least 20 years older than the age printed on my driver's license. I've not felt this unhealthy ever, really. If you were to look at a doctor's office "target weight range" chart, I'd probably fall a good 20-30 pounds over what I should be for an adult female who's 5 feet 2 inches.

I have recurring, nagging lower back pain that sometimes radiates down my right leg, and I'm almost certain it's related to those extra pounds I'm carrying around. Heck, I sound like real a wet blanket, huh?!

The sad part about all this? Where I am now is in absolute stark contrast to where I was with my health just 2.5 years ago. At that time, I was, without a doubt, in the best shape of my life. Strong, fit, eating well, energetic, and most certainly feeling better about myself at work, at home and in life. I felt proud, too: proud to have reached that level of physical health and self-confidence.

At the end of 2009, I felt similar to how I do right now, but the situation wasn't as severe. I made the commitment to get healthy, and started a journey toward figuring out what I needed to do to get there. I read up on nutrition, fitness and how hand-in-hand, they can help you achieve spectacular results in a relatively short time. I was excited about everything health related that I read and implemented.

New Year's Eve 2010, my husband and I helped to motivate each another during a 12-week, lifestyle challenge, and we both did well. He lost 30 pounds. I lost 20. My health numbers (heart rate, cholesterol levels, body mass index, etc.) were outstanding.

At the end of those 12 weeks, I felt unstoppable. I felt as if I'd be able to avoid rotten food choices and that I'd never slack on exercise again. I swore I wouldn't return to that unhealthy place from which I fled. And for a while, I maintained that mindset. Once I reached my first set of goals, I set new ones. I tried new types of exercise to challenge myself further. If I had an off day, I'd be back on the straight-and-narrow the next day.

Flash forward to now, and what's changed? How could I go from feeling my healthiest to feeling that I've hit rock bottom? How could I have let that top-of-the-world confidence give way to feelings of shame after having "let it all go?" Well, probably like most mortals, I have a list of excuses. Lots of 'em!

Things started to slide when I began working more hours on the job. I have to wake up in the middle of the night to be at work by 3 a.m. I don't care what any graveyard shift worker says, your body NEVER gets used to that! My job requires me to be on the go most days--from news story to news story--with sometimes no guarantee of or predictable access to healthy food or even bathrooms (yikes!).

My time off work isn't the same each day, so it becomes difficult for me to manage stress and getting things accomplished with my kids and home responsibilities. In short, LIFE happens! It's the same stuff we all have to deal with. But admittedly, in the thick of all that, I lost my self-discipline.

I lost my focus on what's best for my body. Life began to elbow out my successful healthy lifestyle choices. The irony: when you think about it, being healthy makes all that other stuff so much easier to tackle! At least that's what I've come to realize.

Working toward, achieving and then maintaining a healthy lifestyle is so important. It is not something I'm ever going to throw up my hands and say, "I just can't do that!" So right now, I'm at a point where I need to get back to basics, and if you are too, I'm asking you to join me!

Let's refocusnow that we're off and running in the New Year. Our goal: improving our nutrition choices, fitness habits and overall health in 2013. Who's with me?! It's not just about looking good in your jeans or struttin' your stuff in a bathing suit. It's about being a better you for yourself and your family, and I know we can do it if we Commit 2 Be Fit --together.