I recently met Audrey Cofer and was totally impressed by her story. Eight years ago she decided to make lifestyle changes and has lost 130 pounds. More importantly, she has kept the weight off by learning everything she could about nutrition and developing a program of regular physical activity and muscle building.
Audrey’s moment of truth came after the birth of her son, she weighed about 300 pounds and described herself as “fat and happy.” That changed when she saw the pictures of herself and her new baby from the hospital.
She had several chins and looked like she was still pregnant. She had always been self-conscious about her weight and had been hurt by being teased about it, but not enough to make any changes. Now, the pain of seeing those pictures was greater than her fear of change and she was determined to lose the weight.
At that time she was a single mother with a new baby and she worked for a temporary staffing agency at minimum wage. She could only afford necessities, and gym membership was not a necessity so she started by changing her eating habits. In the beginning she just forced herself to eat less, 5 cookies instead of the whole box. She began to see results and decided to eliminate processed, canned, frozen and fast foods. She chose fruits instead of candy, and nuts instead of chips. She still ate meat, mostly chicken and seafood, and she baked instead of fried.
After four years of diet alone she had lost about 100 pounds and was pleased with what she saw on the scale, but not with what she saw in the mirror. She had lost her butt; sagging skin had replaced the fat; and she felt weak. She had to find a way to build muscle. She did not think she could afford gym membership so she started to work out at home.
She started with jumping jacks, squats and crunches and would set an alarm to do her exercises three times a day. Whenever the alarm went off she would drop to the floor and do 30 crunches wherever she was. By the end of the day she had done 90 crunches. Walking is free; she started to walk and would sometimes run “suicides” between light poles or do walking lunges. She bought weights and began to do biceps and triceps curls. When she began to see the results in muscle development and definition, she was addicted.
She scouted for gym membership discounts and eventually found a gym that she liked and could afford. She works out every weekday now, and sometimes twice a day because it feels so good to be strong. Getting started on any lifestyle change is hard, but there are no excuses if you want the results badly enough. Just get started!!! Next week Audrey will share her workout routine.
Please read Part 2 here.
Dr. Jennifer Rooke is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine. She recently joined the faculty at Morehouse to start a lifestyle medicine clinic. Lifestyle Medicine is the use of interventions such as evidenced-based nutrition, physical activity and stress management to treat disease. Dr. Rooke has practiced medicine for over 27 years and is board certified in both Occupational Medicine and Public Health/Preventive Medicine. Dr. Rooke is a fellow of both the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and the American College of Preventive Medicine. Dr. Rooke serves as adjunct faculty in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at Emory University. Contact the author or visit her website www.advancedlifestylemedicine.com