By Renee Sumby
No one loves fried chicken as much as I love it, but I had to put it aside to get back on track to a healthy lifestyle. My primary reason for participating in the WLFS Transformation program was to lose at least 20 – 40 pounds of the excess weight carried on a 5’8” frame. I’ve been carrying that weight around for nearly 20 years. At my last weigh-in, I finally did it—195—down from 215! This was my breakthrough of 2016!
In the past, I had become accustomed to friends and family saying “It’s okay. You’re a full-figured woman” or “you carry the weight so well!” Little did anyone know that the weight led me to take two medications for high blood pressure; that I had been diagnosed with glaucoma, and Macular degeneration in my left eye, and possibly bordering on diabetes.
How I got to this unhealthy stage still puzzles me. I was always into fitness, having joined athletic facilities, played semi-pro racquetball in Maryland and DC, trained in ballet, jazz, modern and African dance and ran track throughout secondary schools. I ate “consciously,” but would tend to binge at times on whatever I desired to eat– things I considered both “good” and “bad.” Collaboration with my family physician and a fitness trainer was the total package to improve my health. First, I consulted my wellness physician, Dr. Vanessa Allen of Glenarden, Maryland. Bloodwork and a saliva analysis indicated several threats to my health. She recommended a meal plan and herbal supplements. Periodic office visits were recommended to turn my condition around. More importantly, Dr. Allen stressed that I commit to a cardio and weight resistance workout regimen at least 3-4 times weekly.
Having a longtime relationship with Walter Lewis of Walter Lewis Fitness Solutions through my employer, the transformation program encompassed the support I sorely needed to keep on track. I’ve lost a total of 20 pounds since February. My blood pressure medications were lowered in half. I have optimum energy, endurance, good self-esteem and improved mind/body confidence. Although I’m still in the obese category and not yet at optimum body fat, the journey continues.
I’m now equipped with delicious healthy meal plans, the WLFS applications, supportive mentors, and shared testimonials to keep me accountable to my health and fitness goals. Kudos to my SHRM colleagues who train with me in our Fitness Challenge twice weekly. Breakthrough champions Michelle Dolieslager and Christine Paradise exemplify to me that it’s well worth the commitment. On October 15, I will be 62 years of age. This will be a landmark year for many breakthroughs to come. My greatest lesson learned is that “Being healthy and fit isn’t a fad or trend, it’s a lifestyle.”