Name: Arlie Stevens
Location: Powder Springs, GA
SMART Goal: Exercise at least 3 times a week for 30+ minutes each; lose 30 pounds in 2017
Arlie Stevens doesn’t have diabetes, but as a nurse, she sees its effects every day. “I see how much damage [diabetes] causes kidneys,” she says. “I was born with only one functioning kidney... so if I don’t change [my lifestyle] now, I’m going to have a hard time.”
Arlie’s family helped her commit to the lifestyle changes she needed to improve her health. “My whole family, all five of us, has joined the same gym,” she says. They usually spend an hour at the gym on three to four nights a week, far more than she had initially planned. “If I could just go home and sit down, that would be great,” Arlie says, “but [my family] gets me to get up and go.”
To meet her weight loss goal of 30 pounds by the end of 2017, Arlie started on a diet called the “Whole 30” this May. The Whole 30 diet cuts out dairy products, grains, peanuts, legumes, alcohol, added sugars, and artificial sweeteners for a period of 30 days. By the time she finished the diet, Arlie had lost about 13 pounds. Even after she started eating dairy and grains again, she continued to lose about one pound a week. “I have a real problem with food addiction, just eating because it was there,” Arlie says. “I think that [the Whole 30 diet] helped my cravings a lot.” Arlie planned to start another Whole 30 diet in mid-July.
While the diet has worked well for Arlie, sticking to it hasn’t always been easy. ”Going out to eat is very difficult,” she says. “I don’t feel that restaurants particularly cater to a healthier diet. There’s a lot you can’t have.” That was especially true while she was on the Whole 30 diet, and would sometimes have to eat a plain piece of chicken while the rest of the family had whatever they wanted. “Losing weight is hard,” she says, “but you have to be committed to it. It’s a rest of your life change.”
Arlie feels like the many benefits of her commitment outweigh the downsides. “My clothes fit better and it’s an overall confidence booster,” she says. Changing her lifestyle has benefited her health in other ways. “Ever since I started eating healthier,” she says, “I don’t have as many headaches as I used to.” She has more energy, too: “[I’m] able to go to the gym, work out, and do a significant workout and not feel like I’m so tired. Instead of walking on the treadmill, I can run.”