Sharing the inspiring story of my friend Darrell Jones who is showing our community you can restore health and find joy and new friendships in the process. Good luck in your marathon this weekend and see you at the JFK 50!
As a child I always had a strong sweet tooth. There were areas of my life where sugar and candy was heavily used as a reward system. My addiction to sugar led me to eat many pounds of candy per week at night. These temporary moments of comfort lead me smack into health problems and more dental issues than I care to remember.
Fast forward to May.7, 2015. I was 36 years old and feeling constant fatigue, depression, and suffering from terrible anxiety attacks. The pressures from 13 years of single parenting, mentally demanding job, and long commutes were wearing on me. My lungs hurt and often shortness of breathe was felt from 17 years of chain smoking. I could feel that something needed to change and my son was concerned about me. I was 232 pounds at 5’11 and feeling “light headed” when when tying my shoes.
I decided to go get a full physical and blood panel to see what my issues were and what could be done to help me. The results showed high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pre diabetes, and some vitamin/ mineral deficiencies. The doctors prescribed me a handful of medications to combat these issues…to the tune of approximately $200 per month. Aside from the monthly costs, I have always disliked taking pills and feared the side effects from these drugs. Do I just take the pills and hope for the best? Or should I change my lifestyle? My decision was to change my lifestyle and only take the medication if it was still necessary.
On May.7, 2015 I decided to quit smoking cigarettes and take up running to improve my health. I vividly remember those first few runs where I would get dizzy, “see stars”, and unable to jog longer than a minute or so without walking. I remember crying a bit after the second run and realizing this inescapable reference of how poorly my body was functioning. Luckily a friend/ neighbor introduced me to the local Bros & Bras running group. This supportive group gave me motivation, a sense of accountability, and access to athletes of all levels. After a few weeks of proving to myself that I was dedicated to change, I asked around and found Two Rivers Treads in Shepherdstown, WV. I had never been in a running store before and was a bit overwhelmed. I left with new shoes, information regarding Dr. Marks running clinics, and encouragement.
Over the last 2 years I trained consistently 3-5 times per week. This lead to a loss of over 30 pounds, excellent blood pressure, stable blood sugar, normal cholesterol levels, with tons of energy and endurance. Since smoking cessation in 2015 I have run over 20 races to include multiple Ragnars, half-marathons, and the Freedom’s Run marathon in 2016. I have seen even more significant improvements within the last 8 months by following the Maffetone training principles and following the ketogenic lifestyle.
I quit smoking, cut the sugar, and changed my lifestyle for the better on May. 7, 2015. This year I am celebrating that personal victory by running the 14th annual Potomac River Run marathon on May. 7, 2017. This anniversary date marathon will be used to qualify for the JFK50 this year in November. Never give up, cut the sugar, subscribe to LCHF eating, learn proper running form, and encourage others around you.