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Patty Longmire, 47, Knoxville
– In 1995, Patty went to a party where she was supposed to dress in Western Wear. She had to go to the party wearing unzipped jeans. That was her first real wake-up call that it was time for this non-athlete to do something about her weight. A commercial diet plan helped her lose 60 pounds in six months, but most of the weight she lost eventually found her again.
Patty, a medical underwriter for Tennessee Brokerage Agency dealing with insurance, has a story that’s not unlike the experience of countless people who diet, lose weight, and gain it back. She is finding out that the secret to success isn’t in your stomach. It’s in your head. Weight won’t come off and stay off for good unless you are ready to make permanent changes to your lifestyle. And changes in diet only help for so long if your life and work are sedentary.
Patty needed to find something she could believe in long term to get the weight off and keep it off.
This lifelong resident of Knoxville will tell you she was never active as a child. “I preferred playing with Barbie dolls and reading,” she says. She tried softball and volleyball when she was younger, but it wasn’t until just a few years ago that she found a reason to get active and fit. Her husband wanted to run a marathon and she wanted his trainer to be her brother, Phil Bevins. Bevins is an avid runner and leader in Team in Training, an organization that uses race training to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
When she went with her husband to that first meeting, the energy was contagious and before she knew what had happened, she had signed on to walk a half marathon. Many races later, Patty has gone from novice race participant and fundraiser to mentor and even a walk coach. “The friendships forged that year and years later have been amazing,” she says.
But in the fall of 2011, something happened that would prove to be a setback in Patty’s journey to personal victory. Her mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and, three short months later, passed away. “Today, that seems like such a short time, but when we were living it, everything seemed to move in slow motion,” says Patty. She poured herself into care giving and when her mother was gone, she lost focus.
“I didn't know what to do, how to do it, or for that matter, why do anything?”
After the passing of a year, Patty came to discover that the grieving process is a journey. Some days are filled with joy and other days are still sorrowful and slow. But she’s learning to focus on the good days and make them the best she can.
“Life is precious and we must not waste what time we have,” Patty says. “That is why I am on this journey to better health. I just don’t want to waste anymore days.”
One of Patty’s favorite quotes is from author and columnist John Bingham: "The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start."
You have to start somewhere and you have to start out small. You can't go from being a couch potato to running a marathon in a day. It takes time, courage and discipline...but we are worth it.