For the longest time, Eron Key thought you had to run marathons or be someone who’s lifting barbells in the gym to be healthy.
“You know, like a competitive athlete,” she explains. “When I was over 200 pounds I thought there’s no way I’m going to do that.”
In 2015 Eron’s doctor asked about her weight gain. Though it wasn’t in a menacing way, Eron had her own feelings about how she looked and started to cry.
“By the time I made it back to work I was still crying,” she recalls.
Eron works at the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee office in Memphis as a supervisor in the behavioral health department. After her appointment, Eron had a conversation with a coworker, a registered nurse who assured her she could improve her health by starting slowly.
3 simple things he told her to try
- Pick only one unhealthy thing that you eat a lot and just stop.
- Get on MyFitnessPal and start tracking what you eat.
- Start walking. It doesn’t matter for how long, just walk.
“And that’s how I started,” Eron says. “I didn’t know taking small steps could be so big.”
Here’s a closer look at those small steps
Eron stopped drinking sugary beverages and started drinking water. She used to have 2-3 bottles of soda or huge glasses of fruit punch every day.
Next she gave up candy and started wondering what good eating habits look like. At that time, BlueCross was offering a healthy eating class to its employees. Eron signed up, read the book and started eating three meals a day – making sure she was only eating until she was no longer hungry (as the book advised).
She walked every day, starting with 30 minutes and increasing bit by bit. After six weeks, her coworker suggested she try to run. After a little hesitation, she gave it a try and to her surprise, kept it up. After a few weeks of running she had the confidence to try other activities she never thought she could do – group fitness classes, strength training, yoga and more.
Motivated by a busy life
Besides being a mom, Eron also has a demanding career – with work days consisting of hundreds of emails, countless phone calls, and everything else that comes with managing a team of professionals. But her focus on making time for her own physical and mental health helps her deal with stress.
“When you feel better about yourself, it impacts how you act and interact with others, at home and at work,” Eron says. “People are happier and more productive if they feel healthy.”
Like many people, Eron spends most of her waking hours at the office, but she says she’s surrounded by supportive coworkers who help keep her motivated.
“Our office is really positive – and we’re all trying to be more health-conscious,” she says. “No one tries to make you feel ashamed if you don’t meet your goals, and everyone is constantly inviting their coworkers to try a new workout class, run hills or whatever. It feels like a community.”
To read Porshure Richardson’s story of success and struggle, click here.
Seeing meaningful results
For an entire year she logged her food and activity into MyFitnessPal and over time, her eating habits improved and her activity level increased. When she returned to the doctor in 2016, she was surprised to learn she’d gone from 205 to 143 pounds since her last visit – from a size 14 to a 4 or 6.
“I didn’t weigh myself a lot,” she says. “I wanted to focus more on just being healthy and feeling good about myself versus a number on the scale.”
Today, Eron’s happy and healthy, exercising 4-5 times a week. She does kickboxing and yoga a few times a week and tries to throw in strength training and walking. She also has a standing desk at work so she doesn’t have to sit all day.
Her advice to others?
“If you want to focus on being healthy, you have to focus on being realistic,” she says. “It’s not realistic to say you’re never going to eat a cookie again or skip a workout here or there. That’s not realistic.”