I am a couch potato. I have earned the title through a lifetime of exercise avoidance. Now I don’t just avoid exercise in a gym—lots of people do that. I avoid it in my day to day life as well. I go out of my way to find elevators, escalators and people movers. Indeed, I try to stay away from places where much walking or any climbing will be required.

 So you see, I am not one of those women who would exercise “If I just had the time” or one who gets herself moving every once in a while but knows she should do more. I’m not even a woman who used to be fit but hasn’t exercised regularly in the last few years. No, I was an unapologetic couch potato before the term was invented, and frankly, until recently not all that unhappy about it.

Then a couple of months ago, I was told that I was pre-diabetic, but could avoid the condition with a combination of a strict diet and a rigorous exercise program. It’s amazing how such a diagnosis can help focus your mind. I knew I could deal with the diet–at least at the beginning. I’m about 130 pounds overweight and have been dieting or thinking about dieting for most of the last 45 years. (I’m 60.) However, in the past, given a choice between a moderate diet with exercise or an extreme diet without, the latter was always the hands-down winner. This time, however, the doctor made it clear that exercise was a crucial component.

Thus, a month ago I ended up at Healthworks, furious that I was going to have to give in and get moving. The day I arrived to join, Karen, the manager at Back Bay, greeted me cheerily and was no doubt taken aback when I retorted, “How am I? I’m pissed off because I don’t want to be here, but my doctor says I have no choice.”

On this not very hopeful note, my journey to health began.

– Cheryl

What inspired you to change your diet and exercise habits?