KARA: "I admire that you are very knowledgeable about nutrition and exercise – talk to us about the importance of that in your life."
SHANNON: Exercise and eating healthy became an important part of my life during my first pregnancy. Since then I have worked out with numerous trainers and taken classes on nutrition and tried to take good care of my body. I must admit that my first motivation was quite vain. I wanted to look good. But the more I learned, the more my motivation changed to taking care of my body because I had a greater love and appreciation for my body and the miracle that it is. I also learned that the way I treat my body now will determine my quality of life as I age. The thought of spending the last 20-25 years of my life immobile or full of disabilities was not pleasing. I knew, just like everything else, you have to plan for the future. If I wanted to be healthy and functioning well in my old age, the preparation started now. Also, just like everyone else, I recognized that when I ate healthy and exercised I had more energy, I just felt better. Some of the main things I try to do are... exercise daily rotating between cardio and weights or yoga, drink lots of water, eat fruits and veggies daily, try not to eat carbs after 5:00 and no soda."
I have to stop here for a second and comment on something Shannon said - she just talked about not drinking soda. I was a big soda drinker until about 6 months ago. You know how some people just live for Diet Coke? Well, that was me - except I liked the "hard" stuff - no yucky Diet Coke for me - only Regular Coke would do! I used the excuse that Coke took away my headaches. It was my "drug" of choice. Because my family also liked soda, we had it all the time. All. The. Time. In December of last year, I was trying to figure out some things I could do to get more healthy, and decided to cut out soda from my diet. Two of my boys agreed to do this with me - Alex, because he was going into training for football (and there is NO soda in football!), and Matthew, probably because he just wanted to do something with Mom and big brother, Alex. So, for the last 7 months not one sip of soda has passed our lips. The result? Well, I can say that I haven't lost weight - which is REALLY surprising to me, BUT I feel so much better. I don't get headaches often anymore. And I drink a lot more water, which is very healthy. It's made making more healthy choices much easier. Alex, of course, is much stronger - he joined the track team at school - trained hard - and made it through the first few football practices without throwing up (something that not all the players were able to do! Haha!). But, I have to tell you that it's made the biggest different for Matthew. He has had a "chubby" problem six he was 6 years old. It's been so hard for him, because none of his siblings are even close to chubby. It's affected his self-esteem, and just plain made him miserable. He has lost a major amount of weight. This kid has shot up in height and trimmed down like you wouldn't believe! One day, not long ago, I heard him say... "Sometimes I wish I could have a soda. But then I think about how good I feel, and I don't want one." Wow. Seriously... I wish I would have challenged all of us sooner - if for no other reason than to help Matthew. Ok, sorry about that little side trip, but I'm so happy with the results of doing that one little thing, that I wanted to share it with you. I've often, since I started interviewing women for this blog, tried to implement something that I've learned in the interviews. I think it's made me a better ME! Back to the interview...
KARA: "Can you talk about your trials and how you were able to get through those trials? What lessons did you learn from your trials?"
SHANNON: "Like everyone I have had my share of trials. I experienced a 5 year bout with depression. I had the usual symptoms. I did not want to get out of bed. I would sleep for days. I had no desire to do anything, even those things that used to bring me joy. When I was awake I was usually crying. I wanted to be alone. I found no joy in life. I did not want to be on this earth any longer. It was a huge burden to talk on the phone or answer the door (which I did not) or even go out to lunch or out with my husband. I didn't want to be around anyone and avoided everyone. Everything was a burden. All I could do was sleep. I tried medication for a few months and had no success. My success in overcoming this monster was two fold. I started to attend the Institute of Healing Arts. This is a place where I participated in emotional release therapy. I learned that depression was the result of being stuck in your anger. Even anger you don't know you have. When we experience various situations throughout our life and hold onto anger or resentment without even realizing it, we can become paralyzed. Eventually our body physically cannot stuff anymore emotion and everything comes to a standstill. This is due in part to all of our energy going toward keeping our feelings inside and then we have no energy left to propel us forward. Consequently, we become stuck. We can't move forward. Once I realized what the problem was I knew it was something I had the ability to overcome."
I just want to thank Shannon about talking so openly about depression. I think that it is something that is more common than we understand. Hopefully her words will help someone who reads this. Stop by again tomorrow as we continue our interview.