Success Stories

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Are you looking for motivation to live a healthier lifestyle? Some of your co-workers who have successfully increased their physical activity, decided to make healthier food choices and quit using tobacco shared their stories to inspire you and offer advice. Watch and read their stories below.

If you’d like to inspire others, send your story to healthier.tennessee@tn.gov. Before you share any information about other members, please get their permission first. Click here for a release form. If you are sharing your own story, you will still need to submit a release.

WEIGHT LOSS/HEALTHY EATING SUCCESS STORIES
Elizabeth, Health – Greeneville
After her mother died at an early age, Elizabeth and her family decided to make healthy changes.

Heidi, Agriculture – Nashville
After not feeling well for several years, Heidi was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. After the diagnosis, she changed her eating and exercise habits.

Charlie, Human Services – Nashville
After finding out she was experiencing kidney failure from diabetes, Charlie made a complete lifestyle change.

Cathy, Labor & Workforce Development – Nashville
Cathy is a survivor. This single mother is on a journey back to health after an aneurysm. Her dedication has inspired her son to join her in exercise. She might just motivate you to do the same.

Morgan, Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities – Nashville
As a teenager, Morgan was obese, had high cholesterol and was pre-diabetic. Eight years later, she’s healthier than ever. Learn how she lost 60 pounds and kept it off!

Dana, Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities – Nashville
Dana is a single mother of four who is losing weight and feeling great. She credits Working for a Healthier Tennessee with jump starting her healthier lifestyle. She offers great advice for staying motivated to make healthy choices every day.

Jeremy, Human Services – Nashville
Watch Jeremy’s video to learn how a Working for a Healthier Tennessee challenge motivated him to live a healthy lifestyle.

Stokey, Finance & Administration – Nashville
Stokey lost 50 pounds by making small changes. He offers advice and inspiration for others who want to lose weight, keep it off and lower their cholesterol.

Raouf, Human Services
Raouf donated a kidney to his brother and started eating healthier foods in 2014. “You don’t realize how lucky you are to be healthy unless you go through such an experience,” he writes. “Once you are in the hospital bed or in the operation room, that is when you start thinking differently.” Raouf now eats a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. “I grow a garden every year. This year, I planted lots of turnip greens and kale. I planted enough to cover me for a while and share with others. My neighbors “help themselves to my garden, too.”

 

 

 

 

 


Nolan
, Military
“I’ve always been blessed with relatively good health. My blood pressure has never really gotten too high. Maybe 140 over 90 once in awhile and my cholesterol got a little above 200. My sugar level reached the borderline for diabetes. I still wasn’t alarmed. My calm demeanor may be the best thing going for my general health.

I began to realize, however, that as I grew older I was gaining what I call “creep weight” – about five or six pounds a year. My doctor would advise me each year to cut back a little on food and exercise more. I said I would but we all know that is easier said than done. Then I read an article stating that men with waistlines below 40 inches usually live longer. I was at about a 48. Ok, it was time.

On September 1, 2017 I told my wife, Kathy, that I believed we both needed to lose weight. She agreed. On September 2 we began a simple process to lose weight, get fit and be healthier. It is really helpful to do this alongside someone else. What is the standard statement for losing weight? Eat healthy and exercise. There is one more item, however, that often is overlooked. Commitment.

I named my personal effort the “67 by 67.” Kathy didn’t name hers. I know you want to know how I got the name. I weighed 266 pounds – I wanted to drop to 199. That’s 67 pounds. I was 66 years old. I wanted to reach that goal by my 67th birthday. Voila! 67 by 67. My birth date is March 21. That would be exactly six months and three weeks after we started. As fate would have it, that would equate to exactly 10 pounds per month. I promise I did not plan that.

I’ve told people over the years that although we are all made the same, we are still all different. i.e. what works for me may not work for someone else. With that I will describe this very simple ages old process and you can determine if it is for you.

I limited my calories to 1500 per day. I stopped eating fried foods and I did (still do) eat a lot of turkey. I still eat more fruits and vegetables. I walk a little over an hour a day in three increments – 20 minutes twice and 30 minutes once. I’m not concerned with carbs, fat grams, etc. Calories only. It’s easier to track in my mind – keep it simple. I didn’t write out this plan and I don’t write out my meals. I just remember it all and start over again the next day. No doctors, no meds, no counseling, no programs, etc. Just eating healthy, walking and a strong commitment.

The weigh-in. Conventional wisdom seems to lean toward weighing once a week. I weigh twice a day – once in the morning before I walk 20 minutes and again after the walk. Don’t ask me why I weigh the second time – because I don’t know. I just know this works for me. Perhaps I believe it gives me the feeling of more control over my weight. In other words, it can’t surprise me.

The results. I met my goal on March 2 – exactly six months to the day after starting. My weigh-in showed I had lost 67 pounds. I had three weeks to spare. I set a secondary goal of 70 pounds by my birthday. Blew it away. By April 1st I was down 73 pounds (no foolin’). I then decided to increase my calorie allowance to 2000 to stop losing. For over a month now I’ve stayed a pound or two of the 73 on each daily weigh-in. I’m in this for the long term.”

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY SUCCESS STORIES
Steve, Correction – Morgan County Correctional Facility
This Department of Correction chaplain completed his first Spartan Run at the age of 63. He offers encouragement for others who want to start living a more active lifestyle.

Cherrell, Human Services – Nashville
After Cherrell’s husband had a heart attack, she changed her views on healthy eating and exercise. She explains how to change your mindset in order to change your way of life.

Daphne, Human Services – Nashville
On her 50th birthday, Daphne ran, walked and biked 50 miles! Watch her story to learn how to go from walking to racing.

TOBACCO CESSATION SUCCESS STORIES
David and Joseph, Correction – Chattanooga
Co-workers David and Joseph helped each other quit tobacco using friendly competition. Quitting tobacco motivated this duo to live a completely healthy lifestyle.

Tammy, Human Services – Nashville
Tammy smoked for 17 years. Find out how she finally quit.

Barbara, Human Services – Nashville
Barbara started smoking when she was 16. Find out how she finally kicked the habit.

Heather, Agriculture – Nashville
Heather quit smoking in 2012 at the urging of her four children. She says she breathes better, sleeps better and has more energy. She has advice for others who want to stop using tobacco.

Theresa, Labor & Workforce Development – Nashville
Theresa smoked for more than 40 years. Find out how she finally kicked the habit.

Tara, Health
“The morning of August 23, 2011 started out like any other morning. I got up, got ready for work, packed my lunch, made sure supper was in the crockpot for my dad and husband, and I went outside to smoke before I left for Kingston. My dad was standing on the porch when I stepped outside after opening my pack of cigarettes, and he turned and looked at me as I put one in my mouth to light. As I took my first drag off of it, I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, which was only six days away, and he looked at me and said, “If you will give up those things then you will never have to get me anything else.” I looked at him and smiled, shook my head and laughed. Then I said, “Yes, sir. How can I turn down an offer as good as that one?!” I threw the pack away right then and didn’t look back. I was 23 years old at the the time and I had been a smoker since I was 14 years old. The improvements to my health were amazing and I could start telling a difference in just a matter of days. I will be the first to admit that I slipped up a few times after my divorce in 2016, but I am proud to say that I went five full years without touching one at all. I don’t want my son to be like I was, watching me smoking as I did with my mother. So I broke the cycle on my end, and I have been a huge advocate for his dad and other family members to do the same. I refuse to let anyone smoke around my child either because I know the damage that being exposed to secondhand smoke for the first 15 years of my life did to me. We have to be the change that we want to see. It is our responsibility to make sure that we break the cycle. I hope that within my lifetime it continues to change for the better because I know that I will do whatever I can to make sure that it happens in my family.”

Anonymous, Human Services
After smoking for 21 years, this person decided to quit because she didn’t want to age prematurely and her husband’s uncle died from emphysema. Her husband set a date to quit and they supported each other. Her advice for others is to do the same. She writes, “Set a date and have a partner who will help support you. Think of something to do when you feel the urge to smoke, like going online and looking at images of what smoking does to your lungs.”

Anonymous, Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities
“One Saturday morning after having been a smoker for the better part of four decades, I woke up, got my coffee, and decided to wait a little while before having that first cigarette of the day. Just shy of two and a half years later, I’ve still not had that first cigarette of the day. Instead, when those moments of ‘itching’ for a smoke occur, I take a couple of nice deep breaths and experience the alternative satisfaction of fresh air moving through clear airways.”