I’ve been overweight since the 4th grade. In fact, I’ve named my belly “Alberto” because he’s been a part of my life for such a long time. Well, it is time to move on. I am slowly (very slowly) ending my toxic relationship with “Alberto.” For the last four years I’ve been relatively active. I completed the entire P90X series back in March 2011. Since then I’ve taken up jogging, bicycling and swimming. In 2013, my wife (Sheelagh) and I accomplished a 10 mile run while simultaneously buying a new home, raising five children and living out of suitcases for the whole month of July. During the bitter cold winter of 2013-14, we both attempted the Purdue IronMan-in-a-month Challenge. We would have completed the challenge but Sheelagh’s mom was living with us and passed away on February 21st, 2014. Needless to say, we had a very busy week ahead and let exercise take a backseat to family matters. We drove from Indiana to Utah, spent a week working on funeral arrangements and estate distribution matters and then drove back to Indiana in time to get the kids home for school. After a month of trying to work through emotions, changes and heavy discussions with the kids about the Plan of Happiness, I decided to give the IronMan-in-a-Month another go. I’m currently just 33 miles away from finishing the challenge and I have a whole week and a half to do it! About two weeks into the challenge (part II), I learned of the Purdue Sprint Triathlon and with a lot of family encouragement, I signed up! I swim very slowly, but I knew if I could survive the swim, I could finish the race and I DID!! This is a photo of me posing with my boss participant number (permanent marker) tattoos and my bike in the back of our Mormon Swagger Wagon (2002 Odyssey, baby!). I’m already looking for another Sprint Marathon, and even thinking that I might survive a half-marathon this summer. The best health decision I’ve ever made was to give myself plenty of time to change my behavior and start a new habit of healthy living. I take my own sweet time on my runs, to avoid injury and burn more calories, and the month-long challenges act as a way to keep me motivated and take small steps towards a healthier future. I have a burning desire, as I think most of us do, to keep my body healthy and if I’ve learned anything about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is that desire is all you need to start making seriously huge improvements. I believe those improvements don’t have to be confined to spiritual improvement, but physical, relational and even intellectual (you should hear the story about my educational journey…). Desire with a lot of faith and the right set of actions leads to some amazing results. If I can do this, so can you!
April Thompson is 37 years old and lives in Houston, Texas. She and her husband have four children. She loves trying new things, including sports, foods, and crafts. She is a homemaker, blogger, hair and makeup artist, and personal trainer and currently serves in the Young Women’s auxiliary. She loves teaching the youth about the Word of Wisdom, health and fitness.