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Porshure’s Story: Changing a Lifetime of Habits to Find Better Health

Porshure Richardson started her first diet when she was in 8th grade. She felt overweight and started drinking diet shakes for most meals. Finally, her mom asked her to start eating regular food again because she thought Porshure was losing too much weight.

“I was still seeing myself as overweight,” she recalls. “I probably wouldn’t have stopped if she hadn’t told me to.”

Her weight continued to fluctuate throughout her childhood, and it didn’t stop there.

“I had no clue what the ‘freshman 15’ was until I came home from college and someone called me ‘thunder thighs’ – it really hurt my feelings. That’s when I started working out, but I didn’t change my eating habits.”

Porshure was the heaviest she’d ever been when she was pregnant – getting up to 250 pounds at 5 feet, 5 inches tall.

While she was excited to become a mom, she also felt like she had an excuse to eat anything she wanted. One day she was eating pork chitlins for breakfast when her mom told her she would regret all the extra weight she gained.

“It wasn’t until I came off my last maternity leave in 2014 that I decided to get serious about my health – not just trying to lose weight. I’ve worked in offices before where I joined weight-loss programs with coworkers but always figured out a way to eat what I wanted – I lost weight but didn’t have the mindset of wanting to make healthier choices.”

A new point of view

Porshure works as a behavioral health case manager for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. When she joined the company, she had access to a registered dietitian as part of her employee benefits. Almost four years ago, after the birth of her second son, Porshure had a conversation with the dietitian that challenged her self-awareness.

“I didn’t understand what she was talking about,” Porshure laughs.

The dietitian asked her how she knew she was full as a child, but it was never about being full or hungry for her as a kid.

“I could have eaten 30 minutes ago but if I wanted something else, I could have it. There were no restrictions.”

That’s when Porshure realized she never learned about healthy eating habits or what a well-balanced meal was as a kid. Her parents didn’t have the same issues with weight that she did, so this was new territory for Porshure and her family.

“Only worry about showing up”

A few years ago, Porshure says there wasn’t much that could easily get her out of bed in the morning. Now, it’s not unusual for her to hit the gym by 5 a.m.

She credits the wellness programs and resources BlueCross offers for inspiring her to start caring about her health. It was uncomfortable to get started in a group exercise and nutrition program, but a trainer who worked at the BlueCross office in Memphis said something that stuck.

“The trainer told me to only worry about showing up and let her figure out the rest,” Porshure explained. “I was so afraid I wasn’t going to be able to do the exercises everyone else was doing because I couldn’t bend down to tie my shoes. Literally, I couldn’t bend down to tie my shoes.”

Her mom was right. She was upset with herself for gaining so much weight, and now she was uncomfortable and intimidated. But she says the trainer and nutritionist were constantly opening her eyes to new things – helping her understand why developing healthy habits and concentrating on her own wellness journey was important.

Worry about being the last one to finish a workout soon faded, and she realized just being there was what mattered. Everyone else had their own discomforts and insecurities they were struggling with, too.

Porshure keeps these before and after photos for motivation.

Looking to others for inspiration

“I do a lot of reading online and on social media,” Porshure says. “I like reading about healthier habits, recipes and also other people’s journeys toward better health to get inspiration to continue my own.”

She says her greatest accomplishment is having an understanding of what it truly means to be a better, healthier version of herself, as she talks about the first time she took her son – who was 3 at the time – to the park. Porshure never cared much for being active outside, but her kids wanted to venture out.

“We were running up and down the hill, and he was so excited. Then he turned to me and said, ‘I’ve never seen you run! This is so fun that you can play with me!’ That moment made my heart melt, and I knew it was worth it to try to keep this healthy lifestyle going.”

Ali Whittier

Ali Whittier

Ali joined the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee corporate communications team in 2014. A native of Iowa, she has a decade of experience in health promotion and community engagement, as well as health care communications. When she’s not at BlueCross, she and her husband Spencer are racing their bikes, spending time outdoors or cooking healthy food and treats in their kitchen.

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Filed under: Real Stories

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Ali Whittier

Ali joined the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee corporate communications team in 2014. A native of Iowa, she has a decade of experience in health promotion and community engagement, as well as health care communications. When she’s not at BlueCross, she and her husband Spencer are racing their bikes, spending time outdoors or cooking healthy food and treats in their kitchen.

37 Comments

  1. Cathy Taylor says

    WOW Porshure, I can relate to every aspect of your story. YOU LOOK AWESOME!! I have to admit, when I saw you a few weeks ago, I thought you had surgery but, you did it with hard work and determination. I know what to do and how to do it, but I just don’t. and then I get frustrated with myself when my clothes do not fit. Your story is one of inspiration. Thanks so much for sharing…

    • Porshure Richardson says

      I understand your struggle Cathy, but I know the struggle is real and take it 1 day and 1 meal at a time! I’m here if you need me. Thanks for responding!

  2. Yolanda Taylor says

    Amazing story Porshure! I am so proud of you and your journey. You inspire me!

  3. Angela C Jones says

    Porshure, I am so very proud of you and I have seen the change and motivation in you since I first met you. I hope you don’t mind me sharing your story with all the others that used to be in the Biggest Loser; I believe this will inspire everyone.

    • Porshure Richardson says

      my buddy, Angela you have been here since the beginning of my journey, I appreciate you for having the Biggest Loser challenge in the Memphis office, please share my story, having a great support system is what we need to fight this and lets overcome obesity and other health problems, thanks for responding!

  4. Kendria says

    This is awesome !! Such an inspiration !! You look fabulous ! Keep up the great work !!

  5. LaToya Headen says

    Super proud of you and you are Beyoncé fine!!!! Keep up the good work, my motivation!!

  6. Margie Dunson says

    Sis, this is a very inspiring story. I’m very proud of you and you look great! Keep it up!

  7. Cuz
    I’m so proud of you and your journey. As soon as this foot of mine heals, I’m on this journey with you. Keep up the good work.

  8. Vicki says

    Awesome sis!! I need to lose about 40 to 50 pounds myself but hadn’t been motivated….I need to start soon. I’m so Proud of U!!!!

  9. Patty Spells says

    Congrats Porshure! what an inspiration you are, and thanks for sharing your story.

  10. Crystal says

    Porshure, I am so excited to hear about your journey. You never know how self-disclosure can be the motivation for someone else to jump start their own health and wellness journey!
    Kudos to you, your success and your bright future!

  11. Jeanette Wright says

    Porshure, I am so proud of you, and you are truly an inspiration to others who are striving to be more health conscious. You’re always willing to share information about your journey. Keep up the good work!

  12. Britney Blackledge says

    GO Porshure !! GO Porshure !!! So proud of you ! I remember working out w/ you and your dedication and determination was FIERCE. Such an inspiration ! You look great 🙂

  13. Doretha Johnson says

    I’ve had the pleasure of being around this young woman and she’s a true motivator herself. She inspire me to keep striving to be healthier. Porshure you are beautiful inside and out.

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