When Mercy speech therapist Dory Moore makes her daily smoothie, six little hands often help her fill the Ninja blender with chunks of fruits and vegetables. She stretches and relaxes by doing YouTube yoga videos and her children–Alex (6), Max (4), and Finn (2)–are frequently right beside her, showing off their best downward dogs. This summer, right after attaching her own bib number for a local race, she pinned bibs on her squirming young runners who are more than ready to go.
Such is the life of the 34-year-old mom who is committed to living a healthy lifestyle – and just as passionate about bringing her family along for the ride. While she wants be fit to keep up with her boys, Dory’s in it for the long run.
“In the hospital setting, I see medical conditions such as elevated blood pressure and high cholesterol that might be caused by or exacerbated by lifestyle choices. It’s harder for people to recover if they’re in poor shape,” she said. “I’ve come to see that age really is just a number, feeling younger comes from taking care of oneself and exercising. As I look ahead, I want to make positive changes to aspects of my health that I’m able to control.”
Bye-bye baby weight
Before motherhood, Dory made fitness part of her routine. The former Massillon Washington High School athlete (swimming and track) became a regular runner after graduating from Bowling Green State University, eventually completing a full marathon in 2008 and a half-marathon in the early weeks of her first pregnancy in 2012. But it was difficult to keep up the pace as her family grew.
“With each pregnancy, I suffered all-day morning sickness,” Dory said. “We had the kids one after another so I never really got back into exercise. I was eating more calories and exercising less, so of course, I had a hard time losing those stubborn post-pregnancy pounds.” After the birth of her last child, she was ready to make some changes.
Last January, Dory committed to focusing on eating healthier. Her plan: up the fruits and vegetables, reduce portion size, cut back on sugar and curb the eating-out habit. Since then, she’s lost 25 pounds and is back to her pre-baby weight.
Setting Sunday aside for grocery shopping and meal planning has helped reduce stress and avoid unhealthy choices at dinnertime. Dory frequently packs her lunches for work. “My go-to is a wrap with rainbow salad (a colorful mix of chopped vegetables), roasted red peppers, hummus and other vegetables.”
“What really helped me to stay on track was changing my mindset with food,” she said. “I went from feeling deprived, ‘I can’t have it and I really want it’ to ‘I can have it but I don’t really want it now.’ With that attitude, I’m in control, I’ve made the choice.”
“They see us enjoying ourselves when we work out.”
Finding the time to work out means that Dory often heads to Mercy’s Employee Fitness Center at lunchtime to walk on the treadmill or take classes such as yoga. “I’d never done yoga and I found that it’s a really good way for me to work on my flexibility,” she said.
While marathon training no longer fits into her schedule, she still finds joy in lacing up her running shoes. “Running 2-3 miles, 2-3 times a week is a good amount for me. It’s enough that I can finish 5Ks, which I find fun.” After her kids go to bed, she typically runs on her basement treadmill or in her neighborhood.
In April, Dory ran the Pro Football HOF Marathon as a member of “Mercy Therapy,” one of Mercy’s relay teams. Leading up to the race, the team members frequently texted each other to discuss training runs and offer encouragement. “It really motivated me to stay consistent with my running, and it took me to the next level as a runner,” she said. “I ran further than I would have if I was just running on my own with no goal.”
Last month, Dory and her husband, Pat, crossed the finish line together at the Run4Kids Superhero 5K at Kent State Stark. “He’s a weight lifter, and had never run a race but he wanted to give it a try.” Their two older children joined in the fun, dressing as superheroes and completing the 1/3-mile kids fun run.
“We encourage the kids to be active, outdoor kids,” Dory said. “They see us enjoying ourselves when we work out. We try to be good examples by showing them that being active is important.”
Recharging and getting enough ZZZs
As most parents of young children know, it can be hard to find down time. “The things that make me busy are things that I love—my family and my career—so I try to take a moment to realize how blessed I am.”
Each day, Dory tries to find a few minutes for herself, doing things she enjoys like reading or talking to her mom or friends on the phone. “I also journal at night, even if it’s just a few lines.”
Getting enough sleep – 7-8 hours a night—is a priority for Dory. Her cell phone is banished from the bedroom and left downstairs to charge. She also drastically cut back on caffeine. “I had been drinking several cups in morning, which led to an afternoon slump, which led to drinking more coffee. I was having a difficult time getting to sleep at night and it became a cycle. Now, I have just one cup in the morning and drink water throughout the day.”
“Those small things will add up to something big.”
“I used to have an all-or-nothing personality,” Dory said. “If I was going to work out, I was going to work out a ton. If I wanted to eat healthy foods, I was very strict and tried to make perfect choices all the time. Now, I’m easier on myself. I found that doing small things is better than doing nothing. Those small things will add up to something big.”