Becoming a parent and becoming healthy!

It is funny how being responsible for another individual changes your entire outlook on life. After giving birth to my son I quickly lost the baby weight and kept it off for most of the first year of his life. Although I wasn't actively exercising, nursing my son and just being busy kept the weight off. However, before my pregnancy I'd been overweight so I should have focusing on trying to lose the pregnancy weight and some! When I stopped nursing I continued to eat as if I was still burning an extra 500 calories daily,  a big no no. I soon tipped the scales at over 200 pounds!

After two very public attempts to lose the weight, I decided to do something and make it stick. I began to exercise consistently and did not use having a child as an excuse not to exercise. I  purchased a jogging stroller and took my son out with me on walks and eventually jogs. When I exercised in the house with my videos, my son encouraged me and often joined in. As my health became a priority, my son started to model the good behavior.

During my journey to healthy living I realized that in order to be the best mother, I had to be a healthy mother and set a good example for my son. Not only does he understand exercise but he has also developed a love for race "bling" - the running medals that I earn after every half-marathon. He now runs an annual Thanksgiving Day race and earns his own medals! I ran my first half-marathon in October 2010 and this year I've run 5 more! I've made plans to run ten half-marathons in 2012 and I proudly display each of my race medals both for myself and for my son to see!

My attention to healthy living will enable me to live a longer life, encourage my son to be active and eat healthy.  As a parent I owe it not only to myself to be as healthy as possible but to my son too. At four he is already aware of the importance of exercise and I cannot wait until he is old enough for us to run a race together! I foresee a lifetime of healthy living for both us. I am so glad that being a parent has changed my outlook on my health!

Children's health is at the top of every mother's mind. What's your favorite tip for raising a healthy baby? By replying, you will be entered to win an exclusive Million Moms Challenge Gift Pack, which includes an iPad2, a custom-made Million Moms Challenge pendant and a $50 donation in your name to Global Giving.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Million Moms Challenge. The opinions and text are all mine. Contest runs November 14 to December 18, 2011. A random winner will be announced by December 20, 2011.

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