Good Morning Everyone!
I have an inspiring success story to share with you! Cecilia Williams is a Tenant Services Coordinator for our commercial team in Norfolk, Virginia. Since March 2017 she has lost 24lbs, lowered her cholesterol by 92 points and has earned 1,154 points in the McKinley Wellness Challenge!!! If you haven’t earned your first 100pts in the MWC to receive your $50 gift card, there’s still time!! See the attachment to learn how you can start earning points today!
I asked Cecilia if she would be willing to answer a few questions that I felt would be helpful to many of you or are either ready to change or contemplating it. Thank you, Cecilia, for sharing your journey with us!!
What prompted your desire to make a change? – I’ve been having issues with my cholesterol levels for approximately 10 years now. I was able to reduce it by 40 points back in 2012 when I worked out and changed my diet for 2 months. However, I was not consistent and it has spiked since then. After seeing my doctor this past March during my annual physical, he suggested I start taking medicine to try and lower my levels. I informed him I wanted to try and avoid taking meds for this issue and asked if I could try on my own. He agreed to give me 3 months and I did it!!! Having two kids to care for, I didn’t want to jeopardize my health any longer. I want to be strong for them both physically and mentally. This also gave me an opportunity to lose weight which has been a struggle for me since I had my son in 2008.
How did you decide what plan would work best for you? – In March I joined Planet Fitness to get more active. I was consistent for a month but was still struggling with my diet and exercise. I stumbled across a post on Facebook in May where one of my high school colleagues stated he was a personal trainer and I posted “I need a personal trainer!”. I started working out with him in June and have been consistent ever since. I knew I needed to stay active but I was also making better choices with my diet. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it at first and I’m still learning along the way, but I do know that positive progress today is better than no progress yesterday.
What did your wellness plan consist of? – Regular physical activity, incorporating more vegetables, eliminating fried foods, limiting red meats and pork and DETERMINATION!
What kind of support system did/do you have in place? – I utilize the Fitbit and MyFitnessPal app a lot and participate in challenges with friends and even strangers. My sister is on a weight loss/healthy journey with me as well and we typically hold each other accountable.
What kind of obstacles did you encounter? – Food! I love food, all kinds and I’m always whipping up something in the kitchen. It’s been hard eliminating certain foods from my diet, especially pasta, rice and red meat. Also finding the time to incorporate cardio outside of workouts with my trainer. I still don’t 100% have a grasp on both but will power plays a role in keeping me focused.
Do you have an example of a day where you just didn’t want to work out? How did you deal with that? – Unfortunately, I’ve had a few of those days. I’d say typically it occurs on a weekend when I want to get things done but by the time it rolls around I just want to be lazy after staying busy all week. Usually what I’ll do to get over this is, instead of doing 30 minutes to an hour all at once, I’ll do a little bit at a time throughout the day. For instance, if I’m watching a show on television, during commercials I’ll jog in place or do pushups, planks, squats etc. and then resume during the next commercial until I get at least 30 minutes in. That way I’m pulling myself out of a slump a little at a time versus doing nothing at all.
How did you overcome those obstacles? – Seeing physical changes and wanting to stay active especially with my children and reaching my goal weight keeps me going. Also, finding substitutions for certain foods that I love with healthier options.
What favorite foods have you found substitutions for? I love pasta, rice and bread. I started using whole wheat pasta, quinoa in place of white rice and whole grain bread in place of white bread. I’ve also used portabella mushroom caps as “bread” for breakfast sandwiches as well as turkey burgers that I make once in a while. I’ve started using egg whites instead of the entire egg as I found that over 100mg of cholesterol is in the yolk. I’ll use turkey bacon instead of pork bacon. Also if I desire cheese on something I’ll use low fat mozzarella instead of cheddar or other high fat cheeses.
What is your plan for maintaining? – Continuing to make better food choices and staying active.
What do you do to keep your routine exciting? – New moves and different recipes. My trainer helps keep things interesting by having me jump with weights, pulling on ropes and lifting things I never knew I could. My workouts are never boring and keep me challenged. I made some vegan/vegetarian recipes that I’ve never tried before, one of which were some amazing meatless “meatballs”! I’ve noticed switching things up keep me engaged and wanting to do more, so that’s my goal to keep it going.
What is the best piece of advice you could give someone who is contemplating making a change? – Don’t give up, never doubt yourself and remain positive even when encountering negativity along the way. It won’t be easy and you may even fail in between, just always remember to do more today than you did tomorrow. Also, think about participating in the McKinley Wellness Challenge. It really helped me because I am always up for friendly competition, even if it’s just against myself. I don’t like failing and I enjoy having tangible challenges that I can participate in. As much as I want to, I won’t always get active on my own and the wellness challenge was a way to hold myself accountable for what I have not accomplished. It helped get me moving again and motivated to making better choices. I appreciate the challenge and Meredith and Stefanie for offering the opportunities. I always look forward to see what’s coming next!
Yours in Health and Wellness,
Corporate Wellness Director