"It wasn't that I was sick or anything. But I didn't have the energy I used to, and I was starting to worry about my future health."
That worry is what led Shellie, 39, to take a good, long look at her daily habits. "Staying in shape takes time," she said, "and time is what I just don't have as a single mom with a full-time job."
An office manager with an 8-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son, Shellie was at an unhealthy weight. And her blood pressure and cholesterol numbers were starting to creep up. That concerned her, because her mother has type 2 diabetes and her father died of a heart attack when he was just 48.
"I realized that I had put myself on the back burner for too long and it was time for me to make time for myself, even if it was just a few minutes a day," she said. "I wrote myself a note and taped it to my bathroom mirror. It said, 'I will take a 10-minute walk during my morning coffee break every day this week.'"
The next week, another note went up on the mirror. This one said, "I will take a 10-minute walk during my morning break AND my afternoon break every day this week." Those two walks added up to 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week, and she was delighted to find that they did NOT take any extra time out of her day.
One of her coworkers, Tara, started walking with Shellie during their breaks. "Tara wore a pedometer that kept track of how many steps she took. She had this contest with herself to see how many steps she could record during a regular work day. I wanted one of those gadgets!" Shellie said.
She got herself a pedometer and clipped it on every morning. At work she looked for every opportunity to get up and walk around. "I'd walk over to someone's desk instead of e-mailing or phoning them. Once in a while I'd walk up the stairs to the second floor just for no reason. It was actually fun to check my pedometer and see the numbers."