Inspiring journey starts with first step

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Cindy Rickman decided to change her life. “I was just tired of being tired. I had tried several diets and nothing worked.”
While growing up in Kentucky, Cindy was involved in sports through high school. After high school, the pounds starting adding up. Cindy’s family moved to Salisbury in 2001, and she went to work in the dental field. “I didn’t think twice about what I ate. It didn’t matter if it was good for me or not. My weight eventually topped out at 331 pounds.”
With supportive family and coworkers, Cindy opted for gastric bypass surgery in 2010. The weight started coming off. She said, “I couldn’t overeat. It was just too painful. I settled into a pattern of eating six small meals a day, concentrating on getting some protein and liquid each time. It is OK if I have a cookie, but not more than two. My husband and I now share entrees.”
While good results were still happening, her motivation was slowly going away. “I went to Rowan Regional Medical Center’s ‘Ladies Night Out’ and looked at the exercise options. I was nervous about trying any kind of exercise, but I went to the Salisbury Rowan Runners table and signed up for an upcoming class,” added Cindy.
Cindy began to focus on toning up and strengthening her muscles. “I wanted to be healthier and smarter about my decisions,” she said. “I started the Beginning Runners Class and soon had an added goal of running a 5K, something I had dreamed about doing. If I say I am going to do it, then I am!”
At the outset of the class, Cindy realized that she couldn’t run a mile. She said, “I walked the biggest part of it, but I met others who had the same goal that I did. They wanted a healthier lifestyle, too. The members of the class got to know each other, and soon they were helping with my motivation.”
Cindy started to improve and actually completed her first 5K at the Dairy Dash in late September. Her most recent 5K was at Santa’s Run for Charity on Dec. 1. Her mom, dad, sister and husband Ken all came out and held large signs to encourage Cindy. She credits her coworkers and family for support all through her journey.
Currently, Cindy runs about four times per week at distances of 2-5 miles. She stays in touch with some of her classmates and often runs with a Salisbury Rowan Runners group in the mornings. Her weight is now down to 190. “I learned how to run the right way, and now I couldn’t be happier. I just have to keep moving. It works for me,” she said.
All good exercise programs have goals and Cindy lists her own, “I want to keep running 5Ks, run an 8K without stopping, and do these to help support the community as well. That is important to me as well.”
There will be a lot of talk about resolutions and getting in shape in the next few weeks. Best results come when exercise is mixed with proper diet, and reasonable and reachable goals are set. Diets alone have a 2 percent longterm success rate. Find an exercise that you like to do, and consider getting involved in an established program. Do it with a friend or two, and hold each other accountable. Don’t make your program too complicated; you can always add more later.
There are plenty of choices. Go see or call Ester Marsh at the Hurley Y or Rayna Gardner at the Forum. They have fantastic established programs and lots of quality personal trainers.
My next beginning runners classes are at the Rowan Cabarrus Community College building at the Kannapolis Research Campus. Called “Fortify Your Fitness,” one class starts at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 8, and another starts at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 10.
Call 704-216-3512 or go to for more information. Both classes meet once a week for 8 weeks. My individual coaching is available at
Bottom line, if it is right for you, research the options and make the hardest step — the one that goes out the door. Cindy Rickman’s favorite motivational quote is, “Yesterday, you said tomorrow!” and it will work for many more of us.