Carrie's Health and Wellness Story

Two years ago, my life was completely different. An extreme day consisted of Tim Horton's for breakfast, Taco Bell for lunch and pizza for dinner. I'm not afraid to admit that my personal eating habits were a free-for-all and some days there was no stopping. I'm also not afraid to tell you that I love food. However, I wasn't conscious of my consumption nor was I particularly motivated enough to make a change. That was the problem. Since I was a child, both my grandmother and mother struggled to maintain their weight. Ultimately they both had passed away due to complications of their obesity. Obesity had consumed their life, and I saw myself continuing down a path very similar to theirs.

In November of 2012, I was asked to do a personal interview about healthy eating during the holidays. I tried to get out of it, asking them if there was someone else, perhaps a fitness guru. I told them that I didn't think I was the right person to talk to the public about eating healthy during the holidays when it was something I struggled to do myself. I ultimately agreed to the interview and was honest, expressing my own personal struggles with healthy eating along with some tips I anticipated using that holiday season.
It then became clear to me that I needed to change. Who was I to talk to the community about making healthy changes and differences in their lives if I wasn't doing the same? I made it my personal goal to represent Independent Health the best way I could by not contradicting our goals. I didn't want my weight to shape my future.

I started with a goal of losing twenty-five pounds. I knew that I needed to make changes in both my diet and my exercise regimen, so I decided to start by watching my calorie intake. I didn't go to the extreme of keeping a diary or tallying numbers. Instead I cut back on the frequency of junk foods and I transitioned from pop to water. Don't get me wrong- I would still eat and drink things I wanted, but was more cautious of my portion sizes. Instead of two slices of pizza, I would have one and a salad or some fruit. Or I made the same foods, but with healthier alternative ingredients. I got creative, making things like chicken tacos, or perhaps a Rueben with turkey. If I knew I was going to have pizza for dinner, I would make sure my breakfast and lunch were healthier. After about 8 weeks of watching what I ate and walking most mornings, I had lost about 15 pounds. I was proud of my progress, but I had hit a plateau. I decided to recruit a friend to start doing in home workout routines for about half an hour, three times a week. Having a friend to consistently workout with was a good motivator because we encouraged each other. I used my children's Wii to do Zumba or a combination of pushups, sit-ups, lifting light weights and stair climbing. I soon approached my goal of losing twenty-five pounds.

I continue to maintain my weight loss by sticking to my healthy eating habits and finding ways to engage in physical activity when I can. I take the stairs, or do exercise related adventures like hiking at Zoar Valley and Chestnut Ridge. I continue to eat out, but ask the chef to substitute ingredients for healthier alternatives while watching my portion size. There are going to be days of pizza and chicken wings but it's about finding the balance. Now, I eat healthy options because overall I have more energy and feel less tired. You have to enjoy your life and the food you eat. Losing weight doesn't have to be restricting or make you feel empty. In fact, maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle can be one of the easiest and most fulfilling journeys you may ever take!

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Thank you,

Carrie Meyer
Executive Director
Independent Health Foundation
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