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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The journey to a new self

I was able to meet a wonderful woman via Twitter of all places. Her name is Vonda Vass Summers and her story has really inspired me. She is not only a naturalista, but has decided to make major changes within her life. When I noticed her on Twitter, I decided to start a correspondence and the more that I have learned the rest of her story, the more inspiration that I have found in it. Here's a snapshot or my interview with her.

What got you into health and fitness?
After being diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, hypothyroidism and depression in the early part of 2000, and was prescribed quite a few medications, I put on quite a few pounds, more like close to 100 pounds. I became interested in health and fitness when I received a wakeup call from my primary care physician during an appointment. I went to the [doctor] because of some symptoms I was having. My [doctor] had spoken to me on a number of occasions about the importance of me eating a healthy diet, and losing weight. Yes, I would try to follow his instructions, but I never really was truly serious about it, so I would lose some weight, but would always gain it all back again…with a few more added. But this appointment changed my life forever, it was the day that I was diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure and the possibility of having sleep apnea also, with was later diagnosed. My Dr. [doctor] gave me this information and told me if I wanted to live, and be here for my husband and family, I had to make some changes, and left the room. After throwing myself a big pity party, and shedding lots of tears, later that evening, I decided that Dr. Kenney was right; it was time for me to make a change! Before I went to bed that night I had signed up for Weight Watchers Online, and that’s where my healthy lifestyle journey began. On August 6, 2012, exactly 2 years from the day that I started, I achieved my goal of losing 100 pounds, became a Weight Watchers Lifetime Member and also became a brand new Weight Watchers employee, all in the same day!

How long have your had arthritis?

I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in the spring of 2010. After hearing my knees and ankles pop and click since my college marching band days (Go NCCU Sound Machine), a few years of discomfort during moderate physical activity, and having a really hard time when trying to sit and stand, I knew it was time to get things checked out. It was really hard for me to hear the diagnosis of Osteoarthritis. I was thinking that some of the things that I had been dreaming to do would never come true…because people with arthritis can kiss any dream of truly being physically active good-bye. Boy was I wrong!

How have you overcome your health challenges?
I overcame my health challenges through lots of prayer, determination and commitment. I was determined not to let arthritis, trigeminal neuralgia or any of my other health issues get in my way of reaching my goals. I had been overweight for most of my life, and on Aug 6, 2010, I had had enough of being sick and tired of being sick and tired….it was time for a change. I knew that Weight Watchers worked…it had worked for me in the past, but I had to change my mindset, and to look at this as a lifestyle change, and not just a diet. I knew that losing the weight would help me to become a healthier, happier me. So, I sat down and set some goals and mapped out my plan of action. I set short term goals of losing at least 5 lbs. a month and a long term goal of losing over 100 lbs. I also set weekly goals of eating a healthy diet, and staying within my points plus allowance, drinking at least 64 ozs. of water, being sure to get in my WW’s (Weight Watcher's) GHG’s (good health guidelines) and to get in at least 60 minutes of activity, 5 or 6 days a week. Being consistent, and sticking to my goals helped me achieve my weight loss goal, overcome my health challenges, and to go from taking over 30 pills a day to taking ZERO pills a day! Now, I won’t say the journey was easy, but it was so very worth it!

This interview was so wonderful that I decided to continue it on my next blog post. Check back for more information on Vonda Vass Summers and her healthy lifestyle.