It’s said that a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. For one Aetna employee, the journey to lose 100 pounds also began with a single step: metabolic testing.
Deep down, Emilee knew she wasn’t healthy. The 34-year-old mother of two had been morbidly obese for 10 years. But she never thought about how it was affecting her well-being.
The results of testing for metabolic syndrome opened her eyes. Her test numbers included a 50-inch waist. Her triglyceride level was nearly 115 points above the healthy target range. In short, she failed. The findings unnerved her. But they also inspired her. “I gave myself three days to mope. And then I never looked back,” she said.
“October 24, 2011, was my ‘Day One.’ I began with eating better and walking on the treadmill a mile at a time regularly. Every Friday morning, I weighed myself. I kept a record with a goal of striving to see a smaller number the following week,” she continued.
A few months later, Emilee began running. She clocked a 15-minute mile to start. About that same time, she started working with an Aetna wellness coach. During their phone sessions, her coach offered encouragement and helpful tips.
One of the best suggestions? ”Downloading an app on my smartphone to keep track of my food intake and exercise,” said Emilee.
Little steps became big successes. In June 2012, a still-overweight Emilee ran her first 5K race. And when next year’s metabolic syndrome testing rolled around? “I passed with flying colors, and cried,” she said. “And I never felt better about myself.”
She stayed with her new-found healthy habits, and kept running, incorporated strength exercises and continued to embrace healthy eating.
In October 2012, a full year from her “Day One,” Emilee completed the 13.1-mile Hartford Half Marathon.
With a half marathon under her belt, Emilee went big. In May 2013, she ran her first 26.2 mile marathon. In 4 ½ hours.
That year, Emilee also hit her weight-loss goal: 100 pounds. She completed two more marathons. And developed a newfound confidence in her abilities, too. She noted, “When I started running, I always used to think I couldn’t possibly get to that next level. But I never stopped pushing. Now, I know I can do it.”
These days, you can find Emilee training for her first 50k. (Yes, that’s a “zero” after the “five.”)