I Refused to Inherit Heart Disease
Terri Stewart took charge of her health and dropped 52 pounds.
Name: Terri Stewart
Starting Weight: 172
Current Weight: 120
Occupation: At-home network marketer
The moment I knew I was a success: “I was looking through a friend’s photos and saw one of a very fit-looking woman collecting seashells on the beach. I asked who it was, and he said, ‘That’s you!’ I thought, Wow, that’s what I look like?”
Most people would never settle for a banana when craving a burrito, but I make that kind of healthy choice every day because I love the rewards–perfect health and a fit physique. I haven’t always been this motivated. In the late 1990s, as I neared 40, I divorced my husband and sold my real estate business. I turned to food for comfort and began going out for almost every meal. My day started with eggs, bacon, and home fries at the Waffle House and ended with fettuccine Alfredo at the local pizzeria. I never exercised and, within 2 years, my weight climbed 50 pounds to just over 170.
My parents had high cholesterol, and my dad, a diabetic, had a bad heart. Terrified their fates would become mine, I did something dramatic: Without a dime to spare, I booked a 2-week health retreat for $5,000 at the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa, inAventura,FL.
Learning How to Get Healthy
Pritikin was like rapid detox: I lost 6 pounds during my stay, thanks in part to the low-salt, low-fat meals they served. With the counselors’ strong encouragement, I also began exercising twice a day–doing cardio and strength training in the morning and yoga in the evening.
The challenge was to figure out how to implement these changes once I returned home. I started by eating oatmeal for breakfast every day. Much to my surprise, I didn’t miss my customary eggs and bacon because I’d lost my taste for salt. My second step–eating a big salad as my entrée–was harder to get used to because I often still craved pizza. Luckily, I discovered a local Italian place that makes a cheese-free, whole wheat pizza loaded with veggies that is both delicious and filling.
The final step was motivating myself to exercise. I coaxed my feet into my sneakers by thinking about how energized I felt when I got my heart rate up. In 2 months, I increased my activity level to 45 minutes, 5 days a week.
Getting myself out the door became increasingly easy. After 7 months, I’d lost 50 pounds, getting down to 122, (I’ve since dropped 2 more pounds). I’m thrilled to be wearing a size 4 or 6, but I’m even happier that my cholesterol plummeted from well over 200 to less than 150. My blood pressure also fell–from a dangerous 160/110 to 105/60.
Thanks to my commitment to health, and my new energy and slimmer figure, I’m making new friends and teaching real estate law–a whole new career for me. Now that’s what I call dollars well spent!
Build support by surrounding yourself with friends who strive to live healthfully.
Use a pedometer to make sure you take 10,000 steps every day–a number that’s been proven to help keep weight off.
Find daily inspiration by reading health news. Just being aware of the latest research motivates me to continue adopting healthy habits.
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