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Fit Feature: Sharon McWilliams

Sharon McWilliams, 69, of Lansing, is a retired student services specialist from the Lansing School District who concentrates on working out and eating a healthy diet to feel good and keep up with her grandchildren.

“Through high school and college, I was involved in bowling, basketball, volleyball, softball, tennis, and field hockey,” she said. “Growing older, I now participate in individual activities because I always feel better when I am active. Currently, I walk four times a week, attend a senior exercise class once a week and do a strength training regimen once or twice a week at home.”

Mobility and diet issues

McWilliams is also dealing with multiple sclerosis which causes pain and limits her mobility. She said her doctor wanted to start medication, however, with the help of a friend and other resources, she decided to manage the MS with diet.

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“I had to learn how to eat all over again,” she said. “The initial foods to eliminate were gluten, refined sugar, and dairy. Later, I found that I also had to eliminate certain fruits, shellfish, white potatoes, corn, and nightshade vegetables.”

Finding a solution

She said she still eats some of the foods she’s given up but pays for it with pain.

“Naturally, I have had the urge to cheat and many times have succumbed to that urge,” she said. “I pay for the short-term pleasure derived from cheating with aches, pains or infection that remind me it wasn’t worth it.”

The effects of a healthy lifestyle

She said her active lifestyle and diet have enabled her to be with her family, travel and be of service to her community, all of which are important to her.

“I would advise others to listen to your body, set realistic goals, make changes incrementally and be patient with yourself.”

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