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Since I’ve been on my own weight loss journey, I’m always interested in hearing from others who have been successful at shedding pounds and incorporating a healthier lifestyle.

Part of losing weight and getting healthier is “knowing your numbers” – your cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose, triglycerides, body mass index (BMI), and so forth. Knowing your numbers can help you get the right health services and treatments for living a longer, healthier life.

A Team Lead in our Provider Services area, Jamie Williams, discovered she was pre-diabetic after a health screening at work last year. Knowing her numbers was the starting point to losing 112 pounds over the past year.

Below is Jamie’s story.


company health screening

Before / After

For years, I have been overweight (off and on but, mostly on) but had never received poor lab work results. So I never really worried until I went in for my health screening at work on April 1, 2016 and was told that I was pre-diabetic.

I left the office completely shell-shocked. My mother had passed away in 2006 from complications related to diabetes, so I knew what it could do to my health.

I can only assume that she should have been on insulin long before she was. By the time she started receiving insulin, a lot of damage had already taken place. I watched her lose most of her eyesight, her mobility to walk, and the ability to clean and care for herself. She had become forgetful, and ultimately developed congestive heart failure because they simply could not perform dialysis often enough.

She did not qualify for a transplant because the doctors said she would never make it off the table. Finally, she no longer had any fight left in her. She refused to go to dialysis, and nine days later passed away.

When I was told I was pre-diabetic, I knew I could not end up in the same situation as my mother. I had a new grandbaby who was six months old at the time, and I wanted to see her grow up. In fact, I didn’t want to just see her just grow up, I wanted to participate in her life.

I left the health screening appointment and drove straight to Fresh Market to load up on healthy foods. That day I went full-steam into a healthy lifestyle.

Since April 1, 2016, I have made the following dietary changes:

  • I no longer eat red meat or pork. I stick to chicken, turkey and fish. When I don’t feel like eating meat, I have dark red or black beans for protein.
  • I have drastically reduced dairy from my diet. I eat low calorie cheese occasionally or have a tablespoon of sour cream.
  • I no longer use coffee creamer, but use almond milk instead.
  • I only drink water (or I sometimes use Crystal Light for flavor). I drink 80 to 100 ounces of water each day.
  • Veggies, veggies and more veggies. Did I say veggies? I load my plate up with so many veggies that my husband sometimes teases me.
  • I no longer eat pasta or rice. Instead, I make spaghetti squash or use cauliflower pearls.

I use the MyNetDiary app to count calories. When I was losing weight, I stayed at or under 1,200 calories a day (three meals, three snacks). Now that I’m in maintenance mode, I stay under 2,000 calories (three meals, three snacks). This increase is needed because I’m now doing strength training every day.

It took eight months, but I lost 100 pounds by changing how I ate.

At the end of January this year, I finally went to the gym. I felt so lost at first! I found a personal trainer and for the first month I worked out with the trainer three days a week and then worked out on my own three to four days a week.

Now going into “Month Two,” I am working out with the trainer five days a week and on my own two days a week. It feels so great! I am toning up the loose skin and atrophied muscles, and I am getting stronger every day. I’m really learning that I can do anything.

I am now down 112 pounds! I don’t know where my end goal will be, but I certainly like the journey I am on.

Maggie Brown

About Maggie Brown

Maggie Brown is an internal communications specialist at BCBSNC, focusing on spreading the company’s news to its 4,500 employees. What Maggie loves most about her job is connecting with employees and sharing their remarkable stories.