Hello Dr. Laura,
With 4 little ones, I never thought I had time for myself to have a hobby. My "hobby" was trying to balance motherhood, while working from home. However, I recently developed an all encompassing hobby that was in large part inspired by the nags and nudges you have so generously given me over the years, on the air.
I was coping with being fat, I was 5'4" and over 200 lbs. but my hair started falling out in chunks and fat sounded much worse when combined with bald. I made a visit to my doctor only to find out my cholesterol was 242 and I had officially graduated from overweight to obesity. They prescribed me a cholesterol lowering medication. I didn't fill it.
I began to devise a plan to get myself out of the mess I created without taking medication. I didn't feel I was capable of erasing my food addiction, I was, however, capable of finding something as equally as addicting as food, that could reverse the affects of the food addiction. It occurred to me I had friends who were runners and they weren't fat. I committed to a 5k and started running with them. I HATED running at first. I was determined to become addicted to this so called "runner's high."
When I completed this 5k I got the itch. I began to challenge and compete with myself. I knew I could do a 5k faster than 36 min. Two years later, I PR'd with a 22 min 5k, and won, out of over 80 people in my division. The camaraderie and fun times we share training together, and going to races together makes for a great hobby. Furthermore, I never knew the beauty in my own "backyard." I have lived in Southern California all 37 years of my life, and I cannot believe I was missing out on such amazing natural wonders. The beauty we experience on the trails, as the sun is rising while most people are still sleeping, is awe inspiring.
You have truly inspired me. I took literally what you said on the air, to exercise on "obligation NOT motivation." I run every morning, Mon - Sat; I don't know anyone who is motivated to climb out of their warm cozy bed at 5 am. I continue to obligate myself because I have never regretted a great run with friends.
I love my running hobby because I am a multi-tasker and it "kills [at least] 7 birds with one stone": 1) exercise 2) develops talent/hobby 3) natural drug-runner's high, anti-depressant and cholesterol lowering 4) balances my life, 5) adds hours to my day/increases energy 6) great therapy (what comes to our runs, stays on our runs) 7) Clean fresh air, and cheaper than a stinky sweaty gym.
Dr. Laura, this has been truly life changing. I can honestly say I am good example to my children now. I have lost 60 lbs, got my cholesterol down to 185 without medication, run 2 marathons, dropped almost 1 hour off my time and qualified for the Boston Marathon.
Thank you for being such an inspiration to so many people.