I’m an advocate of good mental health, and good mental health is often closely related to good physical health. Danielle Dooley is my 22-year-old Great Niece who has made some choices in her life that have impacted her physical and mental well being.
I am totally impressed with her determination and success in a weight-loss regimen and I am happy to have her here today to talk about her journey. Her story recently caught the attention of her local newspaper,The News Review, in Roseburg, Oregon. In that interview she was asked what prompted her to take steps to get healthier. She replied:
“I felt like I had lost my confidence and some of that was because I didn’t like the way I looked because of the weight I had gained. I had a doctor’s appointment, and the doctor suggested it would be a good idea for me to lose some weight, especially if at some point I wanted to have a baby, because being heavier can make it difficult to conceive. I also saw some old pictures from when I was younger, and I realised how much weight I had gained. I started this journey really focused on getting healthy, not just losing weight.”
LP: How has exercise figured in your plan? Do you have a specific routine? What exercise has worked best for you?
DF: Exercise is very important in my new lifestyle. I work out 3-4 times a week. My exercise can vary from going on a walk with my family, to washing my car, to a group exercise class. My favorite type of exercise is Zumba. I love Zumba because that hour class goes by very quickly. It is such a fun way to get exercise. Zumba is a high intensity cardio workout. It works key muscles like your core, arms, and legs.
LP: Did you follow a special diet or devise your own plan?
DF: I have followed a plan. I do Weight Watchers. I could not speak more highly of this program. It truly works because they are teaching you how to eat right. It is not a quick fix. It takes a dedicated person who is willing to change and put in the effort to get a new lifestyle. I weigh in weekly at the local meetings. This helps me stay accountable every week.
LP: How has your success affected your general outlook? Has it changed how you feel about yourself, food, or any other aspect of life?
DF: Losing the weight and starting my new lifestyle has changed a lot of things for me. I love the way I look on the outside but most importantly I love the way my outlook on life has changed. I never have to not do something because “I am too big.” I can do anything I physically want to do. I don’t have to worry about sitting in a certain chair and if it can hold me, or whether or not I should go try that activity or not because I may be too big to do it.
LP: What have been the high and low points so far, and what is your plan going forward?
DF: The high points for me are when I discover something new about my weight loss and how my body has changed. For instance, when I go to try on a pair of pants that I never imagined I could wear and then they fit. What an awesome experience! As far as low points go, I really can’t think of any. I knew going into this new lifestyle that I would not be perfect, but I told myself that if I messed up I would never give up and get right back to what I knew I was supposed to do. As far as what I plan to do going on from here, I will continue my new lifestyle, eating healthy and exercising.
LP: Do you have any advice for others?
DF: Never give up! If you make poor choices don’t give up! If you haven’t even started the journey yet, then now is the time. Don’t wait till tomorrow. Start with little changes that will eventually turn into bigger changes. For me this time it was successful because I truly wanted it and was 100% willing to put in the work. That is the key point. You have to be able to put in the work.
LP: Thanks, Danielle, for being willing to share your inspiring journey. If anyone wants further encouragement either to begin the quest or to stay the course, I highly recommend Donna Cooner’s book, Skinny.
Congratulations to Tom Schott who won the giveaway of Chris Woodworth’s book, Ivy in the Shadows from last week’s post.