Jodi's Story: by jodi stilp
When Jodi Hughes, Ministry to Women Coordinator at Solid Rock, turned 59 in July 2009 she immediately started thinking about turning 60 the next year. To celebrate this milestone birthday, she wanted to tackle a challenge she’d never done before. Jodi had cheered her daughter, Anne, on at many races and was amazed by the different shapes, sizes and ages of the athletes out on the course. She saw some old, overweight ladies crossing the finish line and thought, “How on earth are they doing that? On second thought, why couldn’t I?” Jodi decided to shoot for the moon and walk a half marathon (13.1 miles). A self-described non-athlete, Jodi began her journey overweight with yet-to-be diagnosed health issues. She told no one about her plan when she secretly started walking. Her first walk was fifteen slow-and-steady minutes. It went better than she expected and she gained some confidence. Over time she slowly increased the amount of minutes she was walking.
In October 2009 she swore Anne to secrecy and disclosed her plan to walk a half marathon. They chose a June 2010 half marathon, immediately booked a vacation house, and registered Jodi for the race. Jodi also told a close friend about the race and they began training together. Their walks became an avenue to expand their friendship, get healthy, and stay accountable to their goals.
When she didn’t walk with her friend, Jodi walked with God. Walking became a mental resting time for Jodi, her moments of Sabbath in a busy day. It was her time to take a collective deep breath, soak in the scenery, and let God minister to her heart.
Then January 2010 came. The winter weather made it tough to get outside and the frequency of Jodi’s walks began to taper. It didn’t help that Jodi was feeling really awful. She attributed it to getting older and had no idea that in reality she was very sick. Jodi’s vision was blurry; her leg was numb. She suffered from debilitating headaches and sleep deprivation. Always a cool, calm administrator, she began to feel like she was losing her focus. Jodi decided to go to the doctor for a physical but neglected to schedule the required follow-up appointment.
By April 2010 she was at the end of herself. “Body, soul and spirit – everything tanked.” She broke down in front of a friend and then prayed, “Lord, if you want me to go back to the doctor make it obvious.” The very next day she listened in shock as her doctor ran down the laundry list of all that was wrong with her broken body. “High blood pressure, high cholesterol, triglycerides that were out of whack, type two diabetes and blood sugar levels that were closing in on emergent.”
(Jodi and her granddaughter, Olivia - December 2009)
Jodi’s diagnosis terrified her. Head reeling, she knew things had to change. Her options were to manage her diabetes with high doses of medications that had crippling side effects, or manage her diabetes with lower doses of medications, exercise and a healthy diet. Jodi opted against letting the meds rule her life and set out to change her lifestyle.
The first thing Jodi tackled was her eating habits. Her pre-diagnosis modus operandi was to forget to eat all day and carb up at night, consuming foods that comforted both her appetite and her emotions. Jodi kicked comfort eating to the curb and said “no” to any and all diet plans. She learned her daily caloric intake and began fueling her body with the right kinds of foods by embracing a balanced eating program. She ate three healthy meals and two snacks a day, switched her breads to whole wheat, and fell in love with veggies.
Jodi started walking again, this time twice a day for 30-minute intervals. She never did “anything over-the-top or knocked herself out” with her exercise routine. She set goals that were comfortable for her and committed to making her walks non-negotiable.
As she got better, Jodi realized just how sick she had been and how much better she felt each day. She had renewed physical and mental energy to enjoy her walks and push herself toward her half marathon goal. The extra weight she carried began to melt away and within months she lost 50 pounds!
(Jodi and her granddaughter, Olivia - December 2010)
Jodi learned to manage her diabetes while she exercised and put this knowledge to good use on June 26, 2010, when she walked an entire half marathon, finishing the course one minute ahead of her goal time. Way to go Jodi!
(Jodi and Anne after the 1/2 marathon in Sunriver)
(Jodi's Family: Aylssa, Anne and Olivia)
I asked Jodi what her biggest fitness challenge is. She surprised me by saying, “I’m in it right now. It is a challenge to switch from dramatic crisis exercise goals to exercising strictly because I’m Not My Own. I want to exercise as an act of worship and have that vision be the motivation that holds me to the lifestyle changes I’ve made.”
When I asked Jodi how she’s overcoming this challenge, she got really passionate. “The only way I’ve found to overcome this is to intentionally choose to obey. I’ve been meditating on the truth that either Jesus is my Master or sin is my master. There is no gray area. When I disobey, I allow sin to reign in my life. When I obey by exercising, I am willingly making myself a slave to God.”
Jodi offered this encouragement to women facing large health hurdles and weight loss challenges.
- Just start. Choose an attainable goal and stick with it.
- You don’t have to run. You can walk your way to good health.
- Go to Jesus instead of food. This goes back to the question of who is your master - sin or Jesus?
Jodi chose to let Jesus be her Master. She chose to move forward one step at a time. She plans to walk the 10k on June 11th and wants to know who will be joining her. Galatians 5:25 says, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Won’t you tie on your walking shoes, start moving forward, and keep in step with the Spirit?
Persevering With You,
A few more things:
- Jodi Hughes would like to invite you to walk with her this Tuesday morning at 8:30am. If you would like to join her, meet her under the Bethany Village sign 4756 NW Bethany Blvd at 8:15am. If you would like more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We have created a group on Facebook called Not Your Own. Join and start connecting and training with other women from Solid Rock. Click here to join.
- Check out the Toolbox icon to the right of the page for links to training schedules, workouts, gear, etc.
- Don't forget to click the Join Us icon and let us know you are on board!