Stephanie Rollings puts it bluntly, “I used to be a big girl.”
As proof, she shows a photograph of herself taken six years ago. In the photo she is about 45 pounds heavier. Her body is noticeably different.
She calls it her “before” photo.
“I was not happy in my own skin,” recalled Mrs. Rollings, the director of the Tyler Parks and Recreation Department,
One day she overheard someone say something unflattering about her body. It was painful.
She knew she had to make changes. But it wasn’t easy. She bounced from one diet to another. They all failed and the extra weight stayed on.
She eventually enrolled in Metabolic Research. The nutrition program gave her a better understanding of what bad foods do to a body and what it takes to make lasting changes.
She dumped worthless, high-calorie foods.
“I stopped drinking sodas and eating things that had real sugars in them.”
And she increased her activity level – a lot.
“I started slowly. I began walking and lifting weights and then I became more and more active and added (exercising) more days of the week.”
Slowly but surely she transformed her body.
Today Mrs. Rollings is eight sizes smaller.
“I have maintained the weight loss for five years,” she said. “But it is a struggle for me every day.”
She said she works hard not to slip back into bad eating habits (she brings nutritious food prepared from home instead of eating out) and to maintain a consistent level of exercise.
She now works out usually six days a week and participates in 5Ks and longer runs. She also takes long bike rides.
A friend told her about triathlons -- which include distance swimming, running and biking.
“I thought, ‘Wow, I can do that.’”
Today, she is the picture of good health and she wants to make sure others have places to go to be active.
In her role with the city, she said she makes sure that parks facilities are places people can go to exercise. Work-out stations and walking trails are found in several parks.
“It is critical for us to give that opportunity to citizens,” she said. “I love how much Rose Rudman (Trail) is used (by walkers and joggers). It is just incredible.”