The following is a wonderful guest blog post by AmeriCorps member Brianna Martinez, about her journey in the pursuit of wellness.
Salutations! For those of you that do not know me, my name is Brianna and I am the AmeriCorps HealthCorps member for the School Based Health Centers here at CHC. Since wellness seems to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue as of late, I thought I would reflect on my newly discovered infatuation with working out and losing weight. So here we go…I have always been on the heavier end of the weight spectrum for as long as I can remember. For example: when I was born, I was 11 pounds and two ounces. True story. My poor mother, right? Oy vey! But that is another story all on its own and this is my story (thus far) about my weight loss journey.
Let us rewind to June of 2011. I was graduating from University of California, Santa Cruz and the world was my oyster (still is!) and I had accepted to be a HealthCorps member for the Community Health Center, Inc. Now let it be known that my parents have never made me feel like less of a person because of my fluffiness; but my mom did plant the seed into my brain about how I will be working at a health center and perhaps I should consider a healthier lifestyle that included exercise. Whoa whoa whoa, exercise? Right! Based on prior experiences, exercise and I did not get along. I attempted to go to the gym during my under grad career but whatever progress I made would be relapsed by the copious amounts of partying (Beer pong, anyone?) and unhealthy eating habits that several college students adopt. When you’re in college, cooking a well balanced meal is not at the top of your list of things to do. Top Ramen was usually the meal of choice due to its convenience and cheapness and we all know how that is packed with health benefits, right? Not exactly. My mom was right. If I wanted to be taken seriously, I needed to put some hustle in my step and get to shedding all of this college weight but it was summer! It was time to let loose and throw all caution to the wind. Right? Yeeeaaah, no.
Summer is the season of temptation. I know that many people consider the holidays to be the king of calories but summer is pretty darn close in regards to filling out that waistline. There are several gatherings throughout the season to celebrate the birth of the good ole’ USA and with that comes finger lickin’ BBQ, deliciously sinful desserts such as ice cream sundaes and apple pie a la mode, and then of course, BEER! Aye, there’s the rub. While nothing quite screams America like an ice cold brew (or several for you tanks out there…) with fireworks decorating the pitch black sky as your backdrop, the consequences that follow from consuming empty calories are not that flattering. I really sat down and evaluated where I wanted to be in a year and how I envisioned myself. Did I want to continue to be a woman whose closest shape resemblance was that to a circle or did I want to work towards being a buxom babe with a likeness to Marilyn Monroe? Naturally, I chose the latter. So with the help of my yellow Lab Jesse James (named after the outlaw), I started going for morning walks every day until I departed for my cross-country trip to get to Middletown, CT. By the time I left in mid august, I had lost 10 pounds but I wanted more. I needed inspiration and when I started working at CHC I found it.
CHC takes pride in delivering the best medical care possible to their patients. I would know for it was my medical home during my stay here and I wish I could keep my doctor with me for when I’m in California but I digress. In any case, on top of delivering state of the art health care, the medical professionals (and other employees!) really take their wellness to heart. In the health industry one should really practice what they preach. If a doctor tells their patient they need to lose weight but the doctor isn’t exactly practicing the healthiest of lifestyles then how can they expect positive results for their patient? True, only you can change the way you live your life but it is extremely helpful to make changes when you have a role model. I had several role models while serving my term with CHC and I wanted to live up to the ideals that were preached so often throughout the agency. With the help of my roommates, I started eating more fiber and going to exercise in the morning before work at the YMCA of Middletown. Getting up at 5AM was not exactly my cup of tea initially but now I find it difficult to sleep in past 6! Thanks to perseverance and dedication, I have lost 48 pounds (hopefully by the time this is published it will be 50!!) and I am planning to keep losing just because it feels great! I have more energy, I get more out of my day when I get up early to exercise and my confidence has increased. I never let my weight effect the way I carried myself so I’ve always been bubbly and kind-hearted (hence why I am always surrounded by a posse of brilliant people) but once you start to turn more heads than usual, how can your ego NOT become inflated? Don’t misunderstand me, I still have a huge love affair with food but I am smarter about what I put into my body.
To celebrate my weight loss, I recently participated in the WARRIOR DASH (a 5k accompanied with obstacles from hell) with fellow members from the HealthCorps wolfpack and it was AWESOME! I still have the battle scars on my legs to prove it and even though I felt like I was about to die upon my completion of the course, it was.worth.it. It is crazy to think that a year ago I never would have considered doing such an event but you only live once so live it to the fullest! Serving at CHC has changed my life for the better and I wish I was sticking around to participate in the wellness initiatives that will be happening throughout the agency but I will be continuing my weight-loss journey back in sunny Southern California. Well, that is the story thus far but it is not finished by any means. I do appreciate those of you who took the time to read this and I hope you are somewhat inspired! Carpe diem, ya’ll and God Speed.