Lori reached her heaviest weight after giving birth to her son. Her knees and hips hurt. She was always tired. She had little self-confidence. After talking with her doctor, she met with a nutritionist who helped clean up her diet. With the addition of physical activity, Lori lost 71 pounds and has kept it off for several years.
Even with a new baby, Lori knew it was important to make the time to focus on her health. After changing her eating habits, she slowly began to add in exercise. Once she started seeing the results on the scale, she was hooked.
Most of the weight came off in the first nine months. She had more energy, self- confidence and had developed a love for fitness. She watches her portion sizes and limits the amount of fried foods she eats. Breakfast is the most important meal of her day. Lori works out three to four times a week. She even has her personal training certificate and teaches her own fitness classes!
Lori urges others to remember that change does not come overnight. Start slowly. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it in the end.
Robert was at the point in his life when he just wanted to look and feel better. He had established poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle. Looking at himself in the mirror, he decided he wanted more for himself. He started making changes. He stopped buying prepared food and cooked from scratch. He started using his bicycle as his main source of transportation.
In one year, Robert lost more than 160 pounds. He watches what he eats, getting most of his protein from nuts or beans and eating fish or eggs once a day. He bikes 15-30 miles each day and drives his car no more than once a week. This saves him money on gas as well as shopping, because he only buys what he can carry on his bicycle.
Robert advises others to eat fresh and shop every day. Buy small amounts of food; do not “stockpile” food around the house. He suggests buying small storage containers to hold single-serving sizes of fruits and vegetables for snacks or to use later.
Although she never struggled with her weight, Jennifer smoked and was not a fan of exercise. After a health scare, she realized she needed to gear up and change the direction her health was heading.
After smoking for 25 years and hardly ever exercising, Jennifer quit tobacco and joined a gym. It was a little intimidating for her at first. She would often compare herself to others but quickly realized she needed to focus on HER and not worry what others thought. Her employer also provided an onsite gym for employees. It was a huge motivator to be able to take classes and be held accountable by friends and co-workers.
Jennifer has stayed motivated by connecting with others through a personal blog, Facebook page, and group exercise classes. Her goal is to incorporate healthy choices into her life. Her goals change as she continues to make these positive changes. In the end, she knows all the hard work and sacrifice are worth it. She says that her life adds value and, the healthier she is, the more valuable she is to others. If you’re struggling to quit tobacco, she encourages you to remember that you’re worth it, too! That one moment of gratification from that cigarette is fleeting—the feeling you’ll have from quitting won’t leave you and just continues to get better. Hard work pays off, and you are worth the effort!
It took Ryan 3 ½ years to lose 455 pounds. Every day he made the conscious effort to do what he knew was right: eat better and move more. He had to overcome the fear of what people at the gym would think about him when he went to work out. He educated himself on eating right. He realized this was not a “diet” but a new way of life.
Ryan developed a daily routine where he works out for 1 ½ to 2 hours at his local YMCA. He is constantly switching up his exercise routine to keep his body guessing. He has learned to eat better, especially by controlling his portion sizes. He prepares his lunches at the beginning of the week. He grills chicken, shreds lettuce and fixes vegetables for each day.
Ryan’s advice is that it is never too late to change. In order to be successful, you have to put yourself in the position to succeed. The only way you can be successful in the long run is to sometimes fail. It’s okay to fail, as long as you apply what you learned from your mistakes moving forward. Losing weight and keeping it off is hard. It takes determination, sacrifice, and commitment in order to be successful.
When Chuck’s 19-year-old son got a 2010 summer position at Eli Lilly, they decided to bike in to work together. Chuck was not sure he could do it, but told his son he would do it as long as he could. He commuted on his bike to work every day that summer with his son and through the first week of December himself.
The biggest obstacle for Chuck was getting organized for the early start time. His commute would start each day at 5:30 a.m. to account for flat tires or other surprises along the way. He would pack his lunch and work clothes the night before to be ready for the early start.
Today, Chuck rides to work with a group of fellow commuters. He says this helps keep him motivated. He knows it can be difficult to get started with exercise, but if you just get started, it will get easier. Chuck had great role models growing up. His father, a teacher, rode his bike to work every day and continued riding until his death at 87 years old. His mother, who will turn 88 this year, also bikes. Chuck says she doesn’t ride as often “for fear of interfering with her golf game”.