Eat well. Exercise.
We hear it all the time. The reality is, most of us don’t do it. Or, don’t do it consistently.
Although people may not always make the best diet and fitness choices, they still intrinsically want to be healthy and fit. In other words, people don’t feel like they’re consciously making poor decisions when indulging in fattening foods or not exercising regularly. An unhealthy lifestyle unknowingly becomes a habit that eventually manifests itself in a person being overweight or developing chronic health problems.
This is exactly what happened to Monica Martinez, patient services representative in Emergency Registration at Tucson Medical Center.
“All of a sudden I realized that I was gaining 3-5 pounds every time I visited the doctor, and eventually developed high blood pressure and a cholesterol problem, requiring that I take medication,” says Martinez
Monica admits that she was always the chunky one in the family, and although she tried on many occasions to lose weight, she struggled to stay consistent and would not follow through with her diet and fitness plans.
This happens far too often to people whose intentions are in the right place.
The struggle to stay on the fitness path become increasing difficult because for some people, even when making the “right” decisions and adopting healthy behaviors, the road to seeing results is long and may come to others quicker than it comes to them.
However, comparing yourself to others is not the mindset you want to get into because it can make you your own worst critic. Monica explains how she felt trying to fit in and comparing herself to some of her friends, hoping that no one would notice her weight.
“I recall not being able to look at myself in a full length mirror. Just going to the store to try on clothes pushed me to tears. I didn’t even recognize myself anymore,” said Martinez.
Managing the busy routine of life, Monica worked nights and began to notice her lack of motivation and not having the energy to play or do things with her children with the little free time she did have. But it was painfully apparent that she needed to make a healthy lifestyle change when one of her young sons suggested that she take a ‘pill that makes you skinny’ that he had seen on an infomercial.
“That was the breaking point.”
For some people, a drastic event or realization is necessary in order to employ consistent and meaningful change. Change for Monica was slow but always increasingly progressive, and she made a commitment to focusing on her health, one day at a time.
“I stopped eating processed high carb foods and adopted a cleaner and simpler diet. I cut out fast food and soda and began drinking protein shakes and eating vegetables and preparing my own healthier meals.”
Educating yourself is an important part in the process of doing the right things for your body and overall health. Monica found out what foods were actually packed with the nutrients she needed.
She also learned that the road to better health and losing weight is not reached solely through improved diet, but all through regular exercise.
Program such as Live Well, a Tucson Medical Center employee program that provides healthcare premium incentives for active employees, provided a way for Monica to begin exercising on a regular basis.
“Through Live Well, I joined an employee fitness team and began brisk walking on my lunch break. I started off only walking a half a mile, but have worked my way up to 4 miles a day.”
In addition, Monica joined a Zumba class and many other fitness activities.
“Finding fun exercises was key to my fitness success. I mix my workouts up and find ways to include my kids or friends.”
Monica went through a lifestyle change transformation, and in doing so, gained self confidence and the motivation needed to keep working towards her health and fitness goals.
Since she made a commitment to change, Monica has lost over 60 pounds and no longer needs to take medication to regulate her blood pressure or cholesterol!
“Throughout this journey it hasn’t been easy, but I’ve realized that what I’m doing is important. Along the way I take the time to celebrate my fitness successes. These are worth celebrating, because when it comes to my health, no success is too small to share or be proud of.”