The week of May 13th is National Women’s Health Week and we’d like to address this by highlighting the accomplishments of women within our community who have taken charge of their health through exercise, healthy eating, addressing mental health and through preventative care and screenings. You can check out the stories of other women making a commitment to their health and more information about National Women’s Health Week here.
“I don’t have time. Between work and the kids I barely have time to catch a breath.”
“I’m sabotaged by my family at every turn. They’re always bringing candy, chips and cookies into the house. I can’t seem to escape it.”
For many of us, these are familiar refrains. Rachel Tineo understands the impact of those refrains on health. As she approached 40, Rachel, a senior systems analyst at TMC, found herself 75 pounds overweight. She faced diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression and obesity. With a full-time job and a family Rachel felt like there was never enough time, or enough energy, and there was no support for significant changes toward healthy eating at home.
Now 41, Rachel has lost 60 pounds and is still losing. She is 20 inches smaller around her entire body, neck, waist, thighs etc. And now, instead of squeezing into a size 14-16, Rachel fits easily into a size 6 or 8. By losing the weight and participating in vigorous exercise, the challenges of diabetes, high blood pressure, depression and high cholesterol have diminished significantly.
What changed for Rachel? How did she make time and space for her health?
“I finally hit the point when I was so tired of being tired … of being unhealthy and unfit, that I opened my mind to new possibilities.”
Rachel connected with a trainer who not only addressed exercise, but also nutrition.
“With slight tweaks in my nutrition I started to have energy to work out. I didn’t feel lazy anymore. My family noticed the change in me, and instead of fighting me on the healthy foods they started to eat them with me.”
The equation for weight loss is simple – calories consumed must be less than calories used. But the nutritional value or density of the food you eat is and when and why you eat play a role in how satiated and how much you choose to eat. It wasn’t just an issue of calorie counting for Rachel.
Rachel involved her family in addressing one of the most oft used reasons for not exercising ‑ time.
I had to sit down with my family and write up a schedule that worked for everyone. I didn’t want to neglect anyone or my household, but at the same time I wanted to no longer neglect myself. So I asked for everyone to pitch in a little more on the things that I normally do, to allow me to have more free time to work out and find time to prepare my meals. In return, I could give them more time of myself. Once I found that balance everything just fell in to place.
By prioritizing her health, Rachel gives herself and her family more time together, and models how to find that balance for her daughters. Not only are her children making healthier food choices, but they’re also bonding with their mom through Rachel’s choice of exercise, Zumba and kettlebells. While the girls can’t always join her at her Zumba class, they join her in dancing at home.
While the changes in physique are substantial, it is her newfound strength that Rachel revels in.
I have become incredibility strong; I’m able to dead lift 220 pounds and I’m getting stronger each week. By the end of the year my goal is to dead lift 250 pounds. I can do an over-the-doorway pull or two; I’m currently trying to achieve a strict dead-hang pull up, which I hope to nail by the end of the year at my gym. Two years ago I would have NEVER thought I was capable for such heavy lifting nor did a pull up cross my mind for one second. Now I do them every day. Every time I’m in my bedroom or when I think of it, I do this when I’m at home.
The benefits doesn’t just stop with Rachel’s physical health,
I noticed that my job performance got better and better as I work out more and more…I see myself now as a coworker that would like to help fellow coworkers that were just like me. I thought there was no hope for me that I was always going to be overweight and unhealthy, because that is how my parents and my grandparents were, but I broke the cycle of being unfit and unhealthy. Now it is my lifelong personal goal to stay fit and healthy and help others with that same goal.
Rachel is passionate about helping others realize their health goals. She offers this advice to women looking to improve their health:
Dig deep inside your hearts. Dig deep inside your mind. Find the commitment and dedication to yourself that you deserve. You only have one life, it’s all yours why not take it and live it, feel life, don’t just go through life wishing, hoping and wanting.
My definition of feeling alive for a woman my age is to feel like you are 20 again! To wear the same size as you were when you in your 20’s, to be stronger in your 40’s than you ever were in your 20’s, to have more energy in your 40’s than you ever did in your 20’s, to be wiser about healthy food choices in your 40’s than your 20’s; to know that you will be here for your children when they are in their 40s … that is feeling alive!
For those in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s and beyond, whether you have no children and are just struggling to lose 10 extra pounds or you have four children and you need to lose 50 extra pounds, it is not impossible, it is very achievable and attainable…without surgery, or special pills, or fancy food. Anyone can do it. You just HAVE to be dedicated to yourself! You have to have the drive, the burn that can only come from the core of yourself being, once you have that, your journey will start.
People who are obese have an increased risk of:
- Heart disease, including coronary artery disease, heart attack, heart failure, angina, and an abnormal heartbeat.
- High blood pressure. High blood pressure in obese men may in turn increase the risk of kidney cancer.
- High levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, as well as lower levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.
People who are obese are more likely to develop insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases as BMI increases. People who have a large percentage of body fat in the abdominal area—greater than 40 in. (102 cm) in men and greater than 35 in. (89 cm) in women—are at increased risk for type 2 diabetes, even if their BMIs are within the normal range.
People who are obese are at greater risk for different types of cancer, including:
- Endometrial cancer, Breast cancer after menopause.
- Colorectal cancer.
- Esophageal cancer.
- Kidney cancer.
People who are obese may have more digestive problems.2Obesity increases the chance of having gallstones and is linked with liver problems such as an enlarged liver (hepatomegaly), a fatty liver (steatosis), or cirrhosis. Symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are more common in people who are obese than in people of normal weight.
People who are obese may have difficulty breathing. They are more likely to have sleep apnea. Obesity is linked with a higher prevalence of asthma. People who are obese tend to take smaller or shallower breaths (pickwickian syndrome). These small, gasping breaths may not get as much oxygen into the blood as needed, leaving them always tired. Pickwickian syndrome can eventually lead to heart problems.
People who are obese have a greater risk of developing arthritis. Extra weight puts more stress on the joints than normal, especially in the legs and lower back.
Sex hormone problems