#BlackGirlHealing: How The Gratitude Trek Changed My Life

My mom passed in 1998. She died at the age I am now, 53, and is why I started volunteering for GirlTrek. It was around the anniversary of her death that I happened to run across an article that said: “Aren’t you sick and tired of losing our mothers too soon.” We found out my mom had pancreatic cancer one day, and two weeks later, she was dead. I am so grateful and credit my mom’s guiding light for leading me to GirlTrek.

My beautiful sister-friend Ruby told her sister-friend Angela about GirlTrek.  Angela took the GirlTrek pledge to live her healthiest and most fulfilled life, and from that day on, she started walking, and walking and walking!  Angela walked every single day for 365 Days straight! Sickness, death, blizzards, heatwaves, or vacations didn’t stop her. I was so inspired.  We all were. Even the President of the Fortune 500 Company she worked for publicly acknowledged her.

Several more sisters were inspired and embarked on their 365 Journey. There was Andrea, Tonya, and then Jennifer and others across the nation. We were so inspired by them all and I wanted so badly to be part of this 365 Club, but each time I tried, life would happen.  I would let life’s moments — good and horrific — sideline my efforts.

In 2017, our GirlTrek sister Kee from Tennessee inspired me on her 100 days of workouts journey. I looked forward to seeing her beautiful sweaty selfie posts. I was so excited on the last day of her journey.  She was another sister shouting into my soul: “Carla!  Yes, you can!” With every sweaty selfie of Kee, I gained more courage. My self-talk became more positive, and I started believing that “Yes I could!”

I made up my mind that after the 40-Day Gratitude Trek, which started in October, I would continue to 100 days of workouts. GirlTrek’s core principle is that self-care is a revolutionary act and that I am worth at least 30 minutes a day. When I first started the 100 Days of workouts journey, it was very difficult to put the work in. Now, it feels like second nature. I am super proud for pushing myself even on the most difficult of days. I feel more confident in myself like I can do anything I put my mind to. I have been managing stress much better since I started this journey and I feel amazing. I have more energy and sleep much better. I tend to be a workaholic and it is no stretch for me to sit at my desk for 10 hours, which is not healthy at all, but now I make it a point to leave and do my workout which has balanced out my stress level.

The big question was would I continue on the 365 journey. I am proud to say, “no.” I gained so much during this journey, but one takeaway for me is that I need balance in order to live my life to the fullest!

I thought I would come out of this weighing a lot less, with a hard body to tout my success, but I really feel that even better than those expectations, I gained a new attitude to be grateful for life’s blessings, big and small.  The ability to do 30 minutes a day, five days a week is more than enough. The time I was spending every day not to miss a workout, I will use to attend more GirlTrek events in my community, recommit to surrounding myself with some of the best health and fitness mentors in Atlanta that I miss so much.

Today, I rejoice and give thanks for all the creative fun ways I incorporated workouts into my daily life solo treks and workouts in the gym, city tour, beach treks and bike rides on vacation with hubby, trail hikes and climbing mountains with sister-friends,  the lessons learned, and of knowing that it was the will of God in my life to receive inspiration and support from my village that led and guided me on my 100 days of workouts journey and to onto what lies ahead.


BlackDoctor.org is excited for this content partnership with GirlTrek to feature #BlackGirlHealing, an initiative created to document the narratives, struggles and successes of Black women on the journey to living their healthiest, most fulfilled lives through the habit of daily walking. This initiative will further the mission of decreasing health disparities and stigma among women and girls, and further the conversation that self-care is a revolutionary act of love. Join the movement at http://www.girltrek.org.