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After reading that it takes 21 days to break a habit or create a new one, Theresa, an employee here at BCBSNC, decided to challenge herself.  She’d been struggling with her weight. So she challenged herself to 30 days of eating healthy foods and exercising consistently. Little did she know that those 30 days would change her life forever.

When it comes to her 175 pound weight loss journey, Theresa has a lot to share. We recently talked to her about her journey, and her tips are priceless. You can learn a whole lot from her about making healthy choices to improve your health, too.

What inspired you to change your lifestyle and begin your journey to fitness?   

About 12 years ago, I went through a very difficult and emotional time in my life. In just two years, I gained 125 pounds. I went from feeling full of energy and life to feeling horrible every single day. I knew that I couldn’t stay there because this wasn’t me, and I wanted my life back. So, I decided to take the first step.

Teresa, looking amazing.

Theresa, looking amazing. And happy!

I joined a gym and started doing water aerobics. At first, I kept falling off and did not have much success. Then one day I read that it takes 21 days to break a habit or create a new one. I decided to go a step further and make it 30 days. For 30 days, I removed all fried foods, sweets, chips and soda. I also did at least 30 minutes of exercise daily.

At the end of the 30 days, I had more energy and going to the gym had become my new norm. I only allowed splurge meals one day a month. Over time, with much prayer, I began to love working out and I was drawn to lean meats and colorful fruits and veggies.

It’s been a gradual process and one that I’ve continued to work at for the last ten years.

So far, I’ve lost 175 pounds, and today, I’m finally under 200 pounds for the first time since entering high school 30 years ago! I continue to work towards my goals of losing 200 pounds and living the healthiest life that I can.

Have you used any of our Wellness programs to help you along the way? If so which have been your favorites and why?

In January 2015, I began working with Dewayne, one of the Club Blue trainers here at BCBSNC. He’s made a great impact on my weight-loss success this past year. He constantly challenges me to push myself more and to give it everything I’ve got. He’s always reminding me that I can do whatever I set my mind to if I give it my all and work for it. I’ve also joined a triathlon training group for women and completed my first triathlon, which included riding a bike for the first time in my life! I’ve used a number of Wellness Programs, including Club Blue group exercise, boot camp, personal trainers, Desk to 5K and I’ve participated in the Wellness Challenges. I’ve also visited the onsite nutritionist for guidance and help identifying food sensitivities. This has helped me feel better and move the scale more. I really encourage people to try several different health and wellness services and find out which ones work best for them.

What are your best tips and tricks to live a healthy lifestyle?

It’s definitely a lifestyle change. Here’s what’s helped me the most, and what I’d recommend for others:

Teresa hitting the gym!

Theresa hitting the gym!

  • Go to the nutritionist regularly
  • Join group exercise classes. They’re cost effective and very social. The social aspect helps to keep you motivated and coming back.
  • Find tasty ways to increase your fruit and veggie intake
  • Cook more yourselff
  • Eat less processed food
  • Don’t overdo it – start where you are. Not ready to go to the gym? Walking works!

Any other advice for people who are ready to get started on their own health journey?

Just get started and get moving! Make small changes that do not feel restrictive or overwhelming. Find workouts that you enjoy so that they seem less like work or a task. Never give up, and remember you’re worth it!

Lydia Freeman

About Lydia Freeman

Lydia Freeman works in Employment Brand & Communications and manages communications for Health and Wellness, Diversity and other internal teams in BCBSNC. She loves inspiring others through employees’ stories and remarkable experiences.

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