Deanna Hamilton, R.N. Page ContentMarch 2017As a mom, Deanna Hamilton put herself last for years. One day, she decided to make some changes and get in shape. When a local gym just for women opened, Deanna was one of the first to join. It was tough going at first, but the coaches were inspiring and the workouts fun. A year later, she’s lost 30 pounds and finds that a good workout after a stressful day helps her relax. Her biggest challenge is planning family meals so that everyone is happy, but she’s working on that, too!Why did you want to get in shape?I’ve known for years I needed to get healthier. I have a baby grandson and one day while playing with him I realized I wanted to be as healthy as I could be to enjoy him. How did you finally take that first step?I had seen advertisements for a women’s-only gym close to my house and they had a contest to win a free membership. I didn’t win, but it got me to thinking I’d give it a try. It’s a little more expensive than some, but it’s worth it.What do you like about it? The owners and coaches are really inspiring. If you can’t do something, there are modifications. The workouts are focused on your ability and, as you get stronger, they get more challenging. What’s your workout routine?About three times a week, I make it to the gym for the 6:15 p.m. class. We do warm-up stretches, then weight stations for four minutes. Every class is different.Have you made other changes?I sit almost all day at work, so it’s a challenge to be active during the day. I got a FitBit and try to walk when I can. I average about 6,000-8,000 steps a day. I use the MyFitnessPal app to track calories.What’s your biggest challenge?Nutrition has been a challenge, especially meal planning for my family. I try to drink more water and eat more chicken and salad and fewer sweets and fried foods. I’ve tried meal prepping, but it’s too time consuming for me. What are your biggest diet downfalls and how do you deal with them?I’m not a candy eater, but I love any type of chocolate. I’m trying to find better options. Skinny Cow ice cream is a better decision than eating a whole candy bar.How have you changed?When I started working out, I didn’t realize how out of shape I was. I am so much stronger now. I can even run, and I don’t remember the last time I did that. Also, I have less back pain. I’m gaining muscle and I’ve lost 30 pounds.Did you notice emotional benefits?When I used to hear people say working out was a good de-stresser, I didn’t believe them. Now I can honestly say that it’s true. You really can work off a stressful day. I feel stronger and have more energy. What’s your motivation secret?To keep going, I look at my long-term goals and what I want to accomplish. My gym’s website helps keep me motivated and Pinterest has ideas for healthy recipes. Looking forward, what else to you want to accomplish?I need to lose more weight, and I’d like to get even stronger. Hopefully, I can start going to the gym more often. What is your advice to others? The hardest part is getting started. Set realistic goals and think long term. Remember that even a small step is a big step.