Pam and I met through the wonderful social media community that has grown around midlife women reclaiming their health and fitness and redefining what it means to age in good health, with vitality and joy. I asked her to be my first spotlighted Silver and Strong community member. Her story is below and its so inspirational! Yes – many of us have changed our health and wellness status, but not as many women are able to do it on their own like Pam did. Her story is below. Please enjoy and be inspired!
My journey started in 2022. I was turning 60 and wanted to get a clean bill of health or convince myself that I was going to live healthy forever. So I went for a health checkup. Mind ya’ll, I work for a prestigious hospital, and I am aware of critical health care signs. In my case, I chose to be ignorant. I met my new primary care physician. She was younger and much more educated than I was. Her practice was focused on woman’s health with a concentration in cardiac/obesity. Within minutes of our meeting, she not only saw that was I depressed at close to 62 lbs. overweight, but saw that I was digging myself into an early grave. I was working 12 hour shifts and eating a SEE FOOD diet (If I saw it, I ate it!). After reviewing my labs, she expressed concern about my high cholesterol and troubling issues with my cardiac labs. My A1C, was 7.2, which made me pre-diabetic. YIKES! It hit me that I was a walking time bomb and I had turned a blind eye to all the signs. In addition, I had no physical symptoms of what she saw, other than knowing I was overweight.
She immediately wanted to start me on several prescription drugs. I wasn’t willing to take that path. I agreed to a compromise of the cardiac meds only. We agreed that I would check my blood sugar and blood pressure 2x daily and if there weren’t positive changes within 2 months, then I would take the rest of the meds she wanted to prescribe. This reality check scared the crap out of me. It was the wake up call I needed and was the catalyst of my change.
Those changes started immediately. I went home, cleaned all the unhealthy food out of my fridge. Each day, I focused on eating a healthier diet. At the same time, I realized I was very physically unfit and unable to move as I wanted. I was a prisoner in my body. So, I started walking in the pool perimeter, 30 min a day. I started packing my breakfast, lunch and snacks for work, filled my water jug from the bubbler. This went for a number of months. When I went back to see my doctor, she was pleased I was down 29.8 lbs. My blood pressure was entering a normal range and my A1C was moving in a positive direction. I felt amazing! I joined a gym started moving more, riding a stationary bike, rowing, and I took a long look at my life.
My night shift hours were killing me. I did the big switch, from nights to days. I instantly felt better! I realized that the night shift was slowly killing me and the extra money did not make up for the damage to my health and well being. I needed sleep and sun. By January/February, I found Ilene (@silverandstrong) online through another influencer. I started cleaning up my diet even more – reading labels, being more aware of how my body reacted to foods. I realized that even though my eating habits were better than before I lost any weight, they were still not as healthy as I wanted them to be. I started to journal my food, when I ate, why, how I was feeling, the choice of foods I ate. I learned you can’t exercise away a horrible diet. I needed to balance my foods, hence learning about macros. I am learning this science behind macros and am very new the concept. I’m doing my best with the help of many others in social media and from books.
I’m far from perfect, but I’m a work in progress and I enjoy learning. I’m stepping up my goals month by month, adding weightlifting, strength training, and stretching daily. I know with the help of such a genuine community of women and the guidance of the pros, I will get there, I will become the best self I can be.