Nichole Looney, Financial Reviewer, Woman’s Center Page ContentWhen her physician told her she not only had high blood pressure, but was also prediabetic, Nichole decided to make an immediate change in her life. By that evening she had taken her first Zumba class and had plans to sit down with a nutritionist. Today, she has lost over 50 pounds and is still motivated to lose more.Why did you decide to take control of your health and wellness?My diagnosis of prediabetes and my blood pressure. These issues all stemmed from me being overweight. That prompted me to get in gear and do something about it! I want to live for a long time, so I did something about it.What was the first step toward wellness for you?When I walked out of the doctor’s office, I walked directly to a Zumba class. There was a class offered near my house twice a week, and that evening I took my first one. It was hard at first; I hadn’t worked out since high school!So, how did your exercise routine progress?I bought a Fitbit and started walking. I would walk 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening. On Saturdays and Sundays I walked by the mile … I started off with one mile each day, and now I’m up to eight miles. Walking is now my ‘me’ time when I can think and clear my head, plan for the week ahead, or just dance to the music in my earphones.What did you learn from the nutritionist?Moderation, moderation, moderation … that was the key! It’s not what you eat all the time; it’s how much you eat. So I started cutting my portions in half. If I went to a restaurant, I immediately packed up half of my meal to take home and eat later. When I got to the point where that was satisfying to me, I cut the half in half! I also eat more vegetables now – they are my snacks when I’m watching TV.What do you have for a treat?French fries! I initially went a whole year without eating fries, but I’ve slowly incorporated them back into my life. I also like the Atkins brand treats – I think they’re good!What hurdles did you have and how did you overcome them?At first the weight comes off quickly, but slows down and that can be discouraging. I learned later that I needed to change up my exercise routine so my body didn’t get used to doing one particular thing. When you do that, the weight comes back off again.What tip would you give someone who is beginning a healthy journey?This is a lifestyle change – not a temporary fix. If you want to fix it for life you have to commit for life. I’ve lost 56 pounds so far and I’m still motivated to continue toward my goal weight. It’s a journey and it will make you feel better.