November 2015 – Donna Oetama

Donna Oetama

My journey towards achieving a healthy lifestyle has been a rocky one. I had an unhealthy relationship with food; I was living to eat – enjoying sweets and breads too frequently. Exercise was unthinkable to me. I was focused on going to school, studying for exams, and I didn’t have time – or make time – for exercise. After living this lifestyle for many years, it was the status quo, and I honestly thought I was enjoying life to the fullest.

I finished my schooling, received a graduate degree, and post-graduate residency training and — at the end of all those endless hours of exams, projects, and presentations — I was a bona fide healthcare professional. And I was fat. Obesity is defined as a BMI greater or equal to 30. I definitely exceeded that definition. Even though I should have felt proud and elated that I had reached my purpose in life, I felt that I hadn’t embodied the spirit of being a healthcare professional — someone who promotes a healthy well balanced lifestyle. I was far from an example of that. I felt ashamed.

My turning point happened quite abruptly. One night, my significant other looked me in the eye and said “I’m worried about you.” He expressed his concern about observing me being breathless just climbing up stairs, and the risk of developing diabetes later in life and dying young. His words made a huge impact on me and I knew he was right. With these thoughts in my mind, I promised to him and to myself that I will change.

I started exercising on my own and with my significant other but it was a slow process. I was still making excuses for myself to get out of exercising and soon enough I realized this strategy wasn’t working. So the idea of a personal trainer crossed my mind, but I really worried too much of what other people thought of me when I’m exercising. I did my online research and came across Individual Fitness. The first call was the hardest to make. I called their number and I hung up before anyone could answer. So later that week, I called again, and then I hung up again. Finally after my third attempt, I talked to Jim and agreed to come in.

I wouldn’t say my life drastically changed. It was baby steps. I had three sessions each week and it was tough — but I paid for it, so I would show up for training. Within a few weeks I noticed a change. I enjoyed exercising, and lifting weights was actually fun! It was something that can take your mind off work and make you sweat. My eating habits were a much gradual change. I still felt like I was living to eat. I started tracking the foods that I ate through a phone app which generated nifty charts and graphs of how much protein, carbohydrates and fats I was taking in and also tracked my weight loss. I found this very encouraging.

My lifestyle journey isn’t finished here. I’m still finding my way through this maze but now I feel like I have the resources that I need to not veer off the course. All their trainers at Individual Fitness genuinely want you to find your journey towards a healthy lifestyle. They will give you all the coaching and encouragement you need, but, most importantly, they taught me the value of persistence. Your journey will certainly be different than mine, and it is on you to make your goals happen. For what it’s worth, if you’re reading this, you’re on the right path. ~Donna O.

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