Cheryl Arcand is a new employee to the City of Saint Paul, beginning in August 2015 as an Account Clerk with Financial Services.
Cheryl’s lifestyle is certainly different than what it was just five years ago. It is a story of gradual change that began with a desire to pass a fitness test for a job with the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a Wildland Firefighter. The test involved walking 3 miles under 45 minutes while carrying a 50 lb. backpack. At that time, she was unable to complete the walk under 45 minutes, even without the back pack. So, she began training – first increasing her speed and then gradually adding weight to the backpack. Cheryl reached her goal of passing that test and was hired. She worked as a Wildland Firefighter for about five seasons.
Then, a few years ago, she saw on Facebook a posting about a race called the Warrior Dash. This race is a three mile obstacle course run. She had never been a runner but decided to sign up for the challenge. She trained for that following the Couch to 5K Run Training Program (www.coolrunning.com ). The beginners’ program is less of a running regimen than a walking and jogging program. The idea is to transform you from couch potato to runner, getting you running three miles (or 5K) on a regular basis in just two months. Cheryl completed the training and the Warrior Dash, then continued registering for other races. She found that by registering for a race, the thought of that upcoming event would get her “off her butt” even when she didn’t necessarily feel like it.
Cheryl began gradually eating better as well. She didn’t diet but changed to healthier foods and cut out artificially sweetened drinks, switching to water. She has lost 22 lbs. and is at her goal weight. A couple years ago, she found out that she had a gluten, corn, dairy and egg sensitivity. She admits it has been very difficult, but she has cut these foods out of her diet. The result has been that the chronic headaches and asthma she had suffered since a teen have disappeared; she no longer needs to take ibuprofen for arthritis she had in her hands. Knee pain she experienced that kept her from running faster is gone.
What Cheryl wanted to share as an important part of her story are two things: (1) Change will happen best when gradual. (2) A goal is essential for motivation. She continues to sign up for races for motivation. Watching for the buzzing and flashing of her Fitbit each day once she reaches 10,000 steps keeps her moving too.