Rebecca Sosebee was an active child, taking dance and gymnastics and always playing outside with her friends. Being on the move brought her joy even though she viewed herself as overweight from a young age.
Making time to exercise became difficult when she went to college, and that struggle increased after she graduated.
“I was like many others who face challenges as they get used to being on their own, being in charge of what they eat and what they do,” says Rebecca, a project administrator for community relations and foundation at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.
Her new lifestyle and independence led to:
- Emotional eating
- Lack of motivation
- Increased fatigue
Asking for help getting started
But once she began her career at BlueCross, Rebecca was determined to start her weight-loss journey. “My desire has always been to be healthier. I didn’t really have your typical wake-up call, but I knew that it was time to be stronger—live longer and grow,” says Rebecca. She aimed to see a real change with not just her body but within herself.
“I started participating in wellness programs hosted by BlueCross exercise specialists. We met 2-3 times a week over 4 months. It was exactly what I needed,” she explains, reinforcing that having resources at work was helpful and convenient for her.
Rebecca soon learned she was expecting her first child — and gained over 65 pounds during her pregnancy. She embraced the road to motherhood and did not let her new body overwhelm her.
Creating a community of support
Rebecca used her maternity leave to regroup and develop new goals.
“If I’m not being my best, I can’t be the best for my daughter,” Rebecca says. “One of her needs is to have a mom who’s around. I want to be her role model and create habits that lead to a healthier lifestyle.”
To help recommit to her journey, Rebecca brought her mother and older sister along for the ride — creating a tightly knit support group for encouragement. She also found support and positive influence from her coworkers on the BlueCross community relations and foundation team.
“Having a community made the biggest difference for me,” Rebecca says. “My mom and sister were key for my movement forward, and they helped me get my mind right.”
Checking in with family daily provided Rebecca with:
- a nonjudgmental atmosphere
- positive influence
- consistent communication
Rebecca, her mom and sister joined Weight Watchers together and her participation gave her additional support that helped her closely manage her progress. She also joined a group fitness class that helped her develop discipline for diet and exercise.
“I realized that sometimes you’re motivated, and sometimes you’re not — but you can always be disciplined.”
Looking past the misconceptions
Based on her experiences and consultations with Weight Watchers, here’s how Rebecca approaches some common misconceptions about eating.
1. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive.
“It’s actually cost-efficient and has advantages in the long run — you can save money on medications, health care and copays,” Rebecca says. “I keep my family in mind when selecting groceries. In our society, many women and moms still carry the weight of their family’s health. Know that you’re all worth the investment.”
2. You can still eat food that you enjoy.
“I didn’t give up eating at the Cheesecake Factory or ordering pizza for dinner. I became more aware of my portions and how often I ate,” says Rebecca. “Some foods that are considered ‘bad’ aren’t actually harmful—you could just be eating too much of it.”
3. What you eat is just as important as exercise.
“A lot of people prioritize exercise on the front end, but the real issue may be your kitchen,” Rebecca says. “When you focus too much on how much you have to work out, it can lead to burnout and ultimately quitting. For me, 80 percent of the work is done in your kitchen, and 20 percent in your tennis shoes.”
Eliminate comparisons and deadlines
“I would get frustrated because my husband and friends could literally eat whatever they wanted and still look great. It didn’t feel fair,” says Rebecca.
“Eventually, you have to realize that everyone isn’t on the same journey as you, and that applies to every element of life. Don’t play the comparison game. Even If everyone ate the same and did the same workouts, we would still look very different.”
Rebecca believes that once you embrace your own path, you must give yourself grace.
“You can’t just say, ‘I want this weight gone by my birthday, by the holidays.’ There is no deadline. You have to start from a place of love and can’t be against yourself. Take small steps and don’t feel guilty.”
Rebecca lost 95 pounds by being consistent in her efforts. With her resilience and determination, she’s experienced:
- an increase in energy
- improved asthma
- better sleep
- improved mental health
“Losing weight has allowed me to feel more confident and go after new goals. I’ve recently been accepted to the Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute, where I am able to empower other women. I don’t think that I would have had the courage to participate if it wasn’t for my personal journey,” says Rebecca. “Start making small changes every day and continue the path to reaching your goals.”
Get more information about specific health terms, topics and conditions to better manage your health on bcbst.com. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also find tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the Managing Your Health tab.