I have never been very athletic. As a child, I was never involved in sports and did not exercise. I never was concerned about weight and I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. It happened to be junk food all the way. I was also a smoker since the age of 14. As I got older and had children, I did begin to add weight. I was not the thin person I always was, but I had to begin to watch what I was eating. At the age of 30 I quit smoking and went from a size 6 to a size 12 in a year. My weight eventually leveled off and I still am cigarette free. When I was about 35, I was not feeling well and decided to have a physical. I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, Hashimotos Disease and my cholesterol was at 300. I was given medication to treat both the diabetes and the Hashimotos. I hate taking medication, but the endocrinologist told me that diet and exercise could not change my health conditions. I was adamant about not being on medication, so I changed my diet and started exercising with a friend. I began running daily. While my friend was available only a few days a week, I continued to commit to 6 days a week of running. After about 6 months, my health improved dramatically. In addition to eating better, the exercise got me in the best shape ever. I struggled and pushed myself to run even though I hated it. My husband was a black belt in full contact karate and encouraged me to try the sport. I was very intimidated as I am very uncoordinated and not athletic at all. I went to class and committed to the same 6 day a week schedule. I was awkward and really not talented at all. I continued to train and kept going back even though there were very embarrassing days. Within 2 years and at the age of 41, I tested and earned my black belt in full contact karate. I worked incredibly hard to get there and it was something I never thought would be possible for me. I continue to train 6 days a week and am in the best shape ever. I am a mentor to other students, and through my hard work have become one of the best students in the dojo. I don’t think that I would have done this in my younger years. At my age I have motivation, heart and a hard work ethic that paid off. I do better than some students with talent because of my tenacity and commitment. My black belt was one of my proudest days and I look better now and am in the best shape ever. In my 20s I was a smoker, but thin. I am in great health and my body is in great shape.