Diet & Weight Magazine

My “Why”

By Molly @MKPappas

I wasn’t always into health and fitness.  In fact, I’ve done a pretty big 180 to get where I am now.  I don’t have a huge physical transformation story – I haven’t lost 50 lbs,  reversed high cholesterol levels or cultivated a sweet 6-pack. It’s been a slow transition of mindset over the last few years.

Recently, I was talking to someone about why I’ve gone back to school and am working towards changing my career into health & fitness full-time; why is fitness and nutrition such a huge part of my life now when a few years ago I could have cared less?  My answer was simple –  I didn’t even pause to consider…

my mom

The answer is: my mom

In May 2011, my mom went in for what was considered a routine surgery. She came out with an ovarian cancer diagnosis. (She later told me that while she was being wheeled into the OR, a feeling rushed over her and she just knew she was sick. What’s even stranger is, a few hours later, while I was waiting for a ‘she’s out of surgery’ phone call, the same feeling rushed over me, too.)

During a time of complete upheaval and confusion, my mom began chemotherapy and made jokes about losing the hair she had finally grown to a length she liked, and I began researching holistic nutrition, alternative medicine, fitness and their correlations to disease. I felt very out of control and the only thing I felt could keep me grounded was educating myself. Education myself on what exactly, I wasn’t totally sure. But the more I read about holistic health, exercise physiology and natural  products, the more interested I became.  I was sharing everything I learned with anyone that would listen.



What I also learned was that everyone was just as clueless as I had been. So I kept doing research, and I kept sharing it with others. Over time, this developed into friends and family coming to ME with questions – “What should I eat instead of this?” “Is this unhealthy?” “What do you think of this product?”

What started as desperation in the face of illness became one of my biggest passions.

I was very concerned over what I was learning, and rightfully so. I looked at my mother and knew I wanted to give myself every fighting chance to avoid what she was going through. She did not carry the BRCA gene (which thankfully meant neither my brother or I had it), but this left me with the question of – then how did she get sick?

At first, I went slightly overboard and threw out any product that had any trace of chemicals in it – including my toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo/conditioner, cleaning products, make-up etc. On the less extreme side, I also hired a personal trainer and went to see a registered dietitian.  I had some major changes to make in both departments…but the end result is clear.


The difference a year makes…

Everyone deserves a fighting chance, and I felt that if I had the ability to help people with that, then I would.

I became a certified personal trainer last July and began holistic nutrition studies at Bauman College in the fall. My end goal is to become a Registered Dietitian and focus on clinical nutrition.

And as for my mom? She is 2.5 years in remission and her latest tests continue to show she is completely cancer free. Her story has provided some hope and comfort to those around her struggling with the same diagnosis; I truly couldn’t be more proud of her.


At the “Survivors Tent” at the annual National Ovarian Cancer Coalition 5k, women could make a hand print in different colors to be displayed on a banner that will hang at next year’s race. Each woman listed her length of remission…some of these people have been cancer-free for up to 19 years! Absolutely amazing.

My mother’s my “why” and I’m thankful for her everyday.

Question of the day:
What’s YOUR “why”? Have you always been into health & fitness? What truly keeps you motivated?

My “Why”

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