#BlackGirlHealing: Creating a Healthy Lifestyle

My name is LeighAnna Kingvalsky. I am 25 and a New Orleanian born and raised. I love pizza, beignets, snowballs, crawfish, pralines, red beans, greens, and so many other dishes that are inherent in giving New Orleans’ its flavor. I am also a daughter, a young black woman, and an advocate for metabolic disease prevention. So, you can see where my willpower constantly comes into play on a daily basis.

My journey and passion for wellness began at a young age with exercise. At the age of 7, I remember sitting in front of the TV before school and watching ab routine infomercials. My mom would laugh. Fast forward to high school. I am running cross-country and totaling at least 30 miles per week, during training season.

However, the infused tibia and fibula bones of my left ankle soon affected my motivation to keep going. My senior year I stayed away from everything I once loved. I became severely depressed and carried this spirit with me throughout my college years. After getting on antidepressants and feeling alone, a therapist recommended something as simple as adding exercise into my daily routine. Would you believe it worked?

Today, I am no longer on antidepressants. Today I get up, lace up my sneakers, go for a run, participate in a group exercise class, and I trek. I trek because walking is OUR foundation to get going and keep moving. I trek because my mental health depends on it.