Cynthia started the Norma Jean Family Challenge, and is participating in the challenge herself. Here is her progress so far.
Name: Cynthia Kemp
Location: Sarasota, Fla.
SMART Goal: Lose 8 pounds by year-end; exercise a minimum of 5 hours per week.
Cynthia has lost 2 more pounds since she last spoke with Diabetes Forecast, but hit a snag when she decided to stop using her fitness app. “I was losing weight and I thought I had it all figured out,” she says. Now she’s gone back to the app, deciding that it was still useful in helping her track exercise and calories. “It’s pretty simple – once I stopped counting calories, I stopped losing weight,” she says.
Cynthia has kept up with her swimming, and has been looking for better ways to eat while traveling, though she admits it’s still a challenge. Her current plan is to bring food, such as bananas or individually-sized cereal packets, to the hotel with her for breakfast.
Cynthia’s family is her main motivation to keep up with the challenge. “We’re going to have a family reunion at Thanksgiving, and I’m hoping that it’s a motivator not only for me but for all the family,” she says. “We’re going to get together and celebrate our successes and commiserate over our challenges.”
Four months after she proposed the Norma Jean Family Challenge, Cynthia Kemp is happy with her family’s response. “[The Challenge] has definitely brought us closer,” she says. “I think some people have been very motivated by it.” Her family’s response has encouraged her to push toward her own health and fitness goals, too.
For Cynthia, finding the right exercise is an important part of staying motivated. “I was a runner for many years, until my knee would no longer let me run,” she says. “It took me a while to figure out what would replace that.” She finally found a good match in swimming, and she now swims for an hour 5 to 6 days a week. “I really enjoy swimming, and that makes an enormous difference. Running was almost meditative, I thought and processed my day or life decisions, and swimming has become that,” she says.
The biggest obstacle Cynthia has come across is what to do when traveling. “Healthy eating is harder, but not impossible when away from home.” Her strategy is to eat a main meal for lunch when possible and have a light snack for dinner, sometimes grabbing fruit from a local market.
Cynthia’s favorite way to stay motivated? Have an accountability partner—or be one. “We have a family Facebook group where we show our progress, and I try to post an inspirational quote or cartoon at least once a week,” she says. “That by itself keeps me accountable … I want to be sure that I can say I met my goals.”