Misadventures of Mackey: Beginning a weight loss journey

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I am a 25-year-old college student, and I am unhealthy. Recently, I found out that I have high blood pressure combined with genetic markers for heart disease. It doesn’t help that I’m also considered obese by medical standards. However, that’s not what this column is about. It is about the transformation someone like me can undergo through changes in diet and exercise. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m determined to succeed and offer advice to those like me along the way.

I am in the beginning stages of getting my health together, and I want to share some tips that I used to jumpstart my health plan. First things first: you must set achievable goals. When I finally made the decision to get healthier, I set some goals and worked toward achieving them. They are small for some, but yield excellent results for folks like me.

The first goal I set was to increase physical activity. Being the large-and-in-charge woman that I am, I started by parking farther away when coming to school and going grocery shopping. This was an effortless way to add extra steps in my sedentary lifestyle. Then, I began taking the stairs and longer routes to my classes. It felt good, and I began to lose weight. This has prompted me to create a small workout plan, but that’s for another time.

My next goal was to become aware of what I eat. I began to track my diet through the MyFitnessPal app. I think it’s one of the best meal trackers out there. It has over 6 milliondifferent foods, and includes the nutrition information of popular restaurants. Now, I am by no means perfect with my eating, but it has shown me what I’m doing right and wrong with my diet. It provides a visual reminder of what’s in the food you are eating. However, don’t use the app to shame yourself. Rather, use it as a reminder of areas you need to work on.

Finally, I began acquainting myself with campus health services. UVU has everything from basic nutrition classes (non-credit) to an awesome gym that’s free to students enrolled in 10 credits or more. If cardio and weight machines aren’t your thing, fitness classes might be. Some of the classes include yoga, spin class, Zumba and more. Just beware: if you’re big like me, you’re going to want to start small and work your way up to the difficult classes.

As you can see, I still have a long way to go, and it can be daunting to think about. However, I refuse to give up; I know that I can lose the weight needed to be healthy. I intend to continue this fitness column in the hopes that my advice will help someone like me. This won’t be easy, nor pretty, but it will for sure be worth it.