Dianna Laverdiere, 53, Charlotte, Michigan
For the first half of her life, 53 year old Dianna Laverdiere of Charlotte, Michigan enjoyed good health and an active lifestyle. Then, her career job kept her at a desk. Marriage and raising three children provided some activity, and she made efforts to exercise and enjoy some bike riding. But as time went on her situation gradually got out of hand. By mid 40’s she weighed 270 pounds and was on medication for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Since she performed administrative work for a hospital system, there were plenty of reminders about the road she was going down. Enough was enough.
“I set a goal to lose at least 100 pounds before 50,” she recalls. “I began exercising and was seeing a small weight loss but no changes in my health issues. So, I increased the frequency and intensity of my workouts and moved to healthier eating habits. Within several months the weight really came off, I became stronger and was able to reverse my health to the point that I was able to go off all medications.” Then, another hurdle: breast cancer. “Since it does not run in my family, I believe it was due to my obesity – just another reason to keep exercising!”
By the time she turned 50, Dianna met her challenge by losing 130 pounds. To celebrate, she decided to do a sprint triathlon, and every year since has given herself a fitness challenge to stay the course. At 51 she rode her bike 100 miles in a day in a Susan B. Komen “Ride for the Cure.” The next year she planned to join a rowing crew but had to put it off due to a questionable mammogram and another biopsy. “Thankfully, it came back negative, and I’ve been cancer free for eight years. But I was too late for the rowing. That’s when I heard about the National Senior Games and decided to make a go at qualifying to cycle in the 40K Road Race.”
To her delight, she qualified and competed in the 2013 National Senior Games Presented by Humana in Cleveland. “I came in 12th and wish my time was better, but I can pat myself on my back thinking about where I was five years ago.”
“I’ve been told that I am an inspiration to many, but what I tell people is that they can do this too if they set their mind to it,” she says. “I suggest to others to put fitness challenges in front of themselves to get motivated to train hard and move forward.”
It’s clear that the only thing Dianna Laverdiere has really lost is her weight.