2018 UPDATE – “Walk to Tuk Got Me Moving and Active”
Melissa Sangris updates us on her life over the past year, overcoming a difficult pregnancy and once again captaining her Walk to Tuk team.
2018 UPDATE: One year ago, in the 3rd trimester of my pregnancy with my third daughter I was hospitalized. During this time I was often unable to walk due to an uncomfortable condition known as Polyhydramnios (extra amniotic fluid in the amniotic sac). I was medevacked to Edmonton and remained there until my daughter was born and was I was healthy enough to return home. I started walking daily and doing exercises at home 6 weeks after the birth of my daughter. That was one year ago, and since that time I have lost a total of 60 lbs!
This year I team captain again because I enjoy walking with others and I felt that some community members would like to participate again. I put an ad on our YKDFN Facebook page stating that I was looking to form a team. Within a few hours we had assembled a team of twenty. It feels so nice to be out walking and doing something positive with my fellow community members. I know that living in the North can be really tough, both physically and mentally, especially during the short, dark, and cold days of winter. But I truly believe that walking can change your life for the better. I will always be grateful to Walk to Tuk. It changed my life and continues to do so, to this day.
At Christmas of 2015 (at the age of 35) I weighed 202lbs and by the New Year I had added another 10lbs. I could try blame it on the Turkey or the pies but in reality I was just not active enough and didn’t care about what I ate or drank. I was putting my kids, career, home, family and everything else before myself. To make matters worse, I was diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety.
But that all changed – slowly but surely. That same December I said to myself, “now is the time to join Walk to Tuk”, so a coworker and I signed up two teams.
We started our journey in January. Our two teams were called the “YKDFN Wellness Walkers” and the “Ice Road Walkers”. I was surprised at the amount of interest we got from people. Approximately 25 YKDFN members from N’dilo, Dettah and Yellowknife participated with us. We would walk on our own during the week and would try our best to walk together on weekends, meeting at the ice road. Some of even walked the whole way from Yellowknife to Dettah and back when it was minus 30 degrees Celsius out.
Luckily, it was easy to keep track of our times. My coworker Andrea Fowler and I would call the team’s members, gather the minutes and submit them on the Walk to Tuk website. Over the course of the two months we followed our teams’ progress along the river on the Walk to Tuk map. It was neat to see how far along the river we were each week.
It didn’t even take us too long to get to Tuk! We were soon notified that our teams had completed the challenge.
Each team had took the opportunity to celebrate the victory. We had a luncheon at our Wellness Office in N’dilo and gave out the “I walked to Tuk” t-shirts along with the door prizes donated by my department.
But the best part of the whole thing was that I didn’t stop walking once the two-month long challenge was over. While participating in Walk to Tuk I noticed that I had dropped a few pounds. I was sleeping better too, had more energy throughout the day. I even was feeling happier and able to cope with stressful situations better.
So, I decided to continue walking and by June 2016 my weight had dropped to 174lbs – that is 38lbs of weight loss in 5 months! I also stopped drinking pop, alcohol and eating fast food. The walking made such a positive impact on my life that people around me started to notice. Every day I got compliments on how much weight had I lost and how good I looked. But to me it was about more than just losing weight…it was about getting healthy and managing my depression and anxiety. Now when people ask me “what did you do?” I simply say “I just walked!”
After losing 38lbs I got the surprise that I was expecting my 3rd child. I made sure to continue being active because walking is so beneficial for your pregnancy as well. It helps to control nausea, fatigue, constipation and back pain. It helps to prevent and control gestational diabetes and helps me to stay fit, to prepare for labor and delivery. Speak with your Doctor to get the go ahead. Just put one foot in front of the other and you’ll see the benefits every day.
I hope that by sharing my story you consider joining Walk to Tuk. I promise nothing but good will come out of it and who knows, it could change your life for the better!
More info on Melissa Sangris:
Melissa Sangris is a member of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. She is the Family Wellness Programmer for the YKDFN Wellness Department. She coordinates and facilitates the Mama and Bebia Program every Thursday at 1:00 pm. Mama and Bebia is a free program for expectant and new moms/parents, including those who reside at the Vital Boarding home. The program provides a safe environment for parents to learn in and have fun. She can be reached at 920-2925 for more info on this program.