The start of 2020 found Nancy reflecting on a weight gain that had crept up over the years.* Job stress, fatigue, sitting on the sofa, eating poor quality food, over eating, and turning to alcohol to unwind after work had added up to 199 lbs. on her petite 5’2” frame. Nancy knew her weight put her clinically in the “obese” category and at risk for a myriad of health issues. She also had diagnosed high blood pressure which, in itself, could be deadly. Still, dealing with these problems just seemed too hard and she didn’t feel she had the time or energy to address them.
But time was the one thing she was about to get a lot of as the world stopped as we knew it in March of 2020 due to COVID-19. Nancy’s universe, along with all of ours, was dramatically rocked by the global pandemic. Furloughed from her job and sheltering in place alone, Nancy was frightened by how her weight could be a co-morbidity for the disease. A realization in all the chaos came to her, however, as she was stopped cold from her daily routines - for the first time in a long time she now had the time to honestly face her weight gain and health challenges.
Nancy decided it was time for action. Never before had it seemed so important to be healthy. Those that were struggling with obesity were clearly among those having the hardest time with this new and serious health threat. While Nancy actually had previously been an athlete and had significant experience with the fitness industry, knowledge alone had not been enough. She had previously gained and lost large amounts of weight. According to Nancy, her previous weight loss motivation was vanity. The key difference this time was the decision that the primary and ongoing goal was to GET HEALTHY and stay that way!
Her first step was making the commitment that moving every day was her new job! This became her #1 priority. She started with short walks and as her energy improved, longer walks and hikes.
Encouraged by her first steps and increasing energy, her next move was further developing her game plan for success. She made her health care provider part of her team. She was vulnerably honest with her doctor about her weight issues including the admission that alcohol had become a coping mechanism and a problem. “Massive over eating and alcohol - these are illnesses. We treat other illnesses. Why wouldn’t you make your doctor part of the healing process?” notes Nancy. Together, she and her doctor set an ambitious goal of losing 2 lbs per week (which is often considered the maximum people should aim for under a safe and sustainable weight loss approach). She decided to eliminate junk food and eat clean. She cut out processed sugar, alcohol, chips, and other foods that were taxing her body and loading on the pounds. Nancy hadn’t eaten meat in years, but she did enjoy high quality protein in the form of dairy, tofu, beans, etc., throughout her weight loss. When she got hungry she often turned to healthy snacks like hard boiled eggs, fruit, and raw nuts. She didn’t view this journey as being on a diet or deprivation; rather, just eating and getting healthy.
Nancy created a spreadsheet on which she charted her progress towards goals, weight loss, and created fun rewards for achieving certain goals. She weighed herself daily and logged it into her Fitbit, but only recorded her weight once a week on her spreadsheet. Seeing her progress on her spreadsheet chart created excitement and encouragement. What seemed impossible at first, started to materialize - a weight loss of average of 1.5 - 2 lbs per week! Along the way she donated clothes that became too big as an affirmation that she was “NEVER going to need those again!”
As the months passed Nancy felt she was ready to take on more physical activity. It had been many years since she’d taken any fitness classes, but at the encouragement of several trusted friends, she decided to join the Wade into Fitness community. By participating in both the Wade into Fitness Healing Yoga and Fitness Fusion online live streaming classes, Nancy was able to add even more elements to her walking, hiking and other activities. Through the supportive classes and community, Nancy’s fitness repertoire expanded to include more yoga, aerobic conditioning, strength training and mind-body work. When asked how she kept motivated, Nancy responded that she was consistent with her fitness endeavors and reminded herself whenever something became physically challenging that she could, “do just a little bit more.”
Nancy’s Wade into Fitness online and in-person fitness family have been so excited to watch her get healthier by the day! We often seal our practice with the word “Namaste” honoring the teacher/light in all of us. Nancy is a really exciting example of where the student becomes a light and teacher to the teacher and the entire class! Seeing Nancy lose the weight weekly while enjoying the journey has brought joy and encouragement to everyone. Her ongoing fun, positive, honest, and open spirit inspires those around her. We are blessed that she is part of our fitness community.
To date, Nancy has lost an astonishing almost 70 lbs!! She’s also recently been taken off blood pressure medication because her health is so improved! Nancy has actually surpassed her original weight loss goal and says now her current challenge is to not lose more. She laughs and says, “I know it’s a good problem to have.” She and her doctor agree that she will now let how she feels guide her more than the scale. Nancy notes that her journey didn’t make her feel deprived. She feels empowered and great. She says she also feels “newly open.” She’s made a lot of phone calls during the pandemic and being open about her challenges has meant three of her friends have admitted they need to deal with these issues as well. She also feels the calls helped distract her when she had a craving and nurtured all her friendships!
When asked for her best tip for those who are trying to get healthier, Nancy says, “Remember to ask yourself ‘Why?’ ‘Why would I put something that’s terrible for me in my body?’ ‘Why would I do that to myself?’ This has become automatic for me when I’m tempted by junk food or someone saying, ‘Aww, come on just have one drink!’ My response is immediate ‘Why would I do that to my body??!!’ Can you get to that point? When you ask that question immediately and easily, then you’re on the right track!”
Nancy has shown that even in the most trying times, there’s opportunity for great things to happen. Her journey is a testament that a challenge can be a pivot towards a better life. Nancy is ready to embrace her life even more fully after the pandemic. She’s says she’ll continue enjoying friends and family, hiking and fitness classes, and she’s ambitious to add in outrigger canoeing, ballroom dancing, and maybe even dating!
* Nancy has asked that her last name be omitted so she has internet search privacy.
Nancy's cats are careful to check her alignment during Healing Yoga online live class!