Donna Jackson calls the 30 minutes she works out each day her “me time.”
She spends her “me time” walking, jumping rope or doing another aerobic activity. The ritual burns calories, builds her stamina and increases her energy as she tackles busy days as a wife, mother and nurse/staff development educator at Mother Frances Hospital.
Regular exercise and making better food choices were the keys to Mrs. Jackson dropping 45 pounds and then keeping the weight off.
Not long ago Mrs. Jackson stopped and re-evaluated her health. She did not like what she was saw. She was overweight, stressed out and eating high-calorie fast food – a lot.
Her father was suffering from heart problems, diabetes and other health problems.
“I could see myself beginning to go down that road,” she says.
She started a food journal in which she recorded everything she ate. The results were an eye-opener. She discovered that she was taking in many more calories than she could possibly burn.
“I had no idea I was really eating so much,” she says.
She quickly cut back on the fast food and over indulging. She began using smart phone apps that tell her the calories of foods at most restaurants and help her make smarter choices.
And she started to walk – short distances at first and then longer as her stamina grew. Today she often walks a five-mile loop at Rose Rudman trail.
The 45 pounds came off gradually but steadily and she has kept it off for more than two years and counting.
At age 40, she encourages others to take steps to become healthier. She speaks at and helps organize health fairs at African-American church congregations in the area. Her message to one and all is clear and simple. “You’ve got to get active and set realistic goals. It’s not about dieting. It’s about changing a lifestyle.”
She jokes that she is also “dragging her family along” into making better lifestyle choices. She packs her children school lunches that are full of foods full of nutrients and light on fat and calories.
“Donna is an inspiration to everyone,” said Julie Miller, her coworker. Inspired by Mrs. Jackson’s success and attitude, other colleagues are following her lead and taking the necessary steps to become healthier.