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Lisa Ri​​​chardson, R.N.

January 2016

Push yourself!
Lisa began by ditching the comfort foods she always turned to and replaced these with fruits, vegetables and lean meat. She also got moving by walking for 20 minutes a day. All of her hard work paid off. Lisa has lost 50 pounds and counting. S​he says she’s never felt better and now walks 5 miles a day. Her goal is to one day walk a 10K or half-marathon.

How is your health now?
I have an auto-immune disease. The steroids I was on from 2011-2014 contributed to my weight gain, but I have since been able to get off steroids as a result of the lifestyle changes I’ve made.

One of the changes you made was to be more active. Why walking?
Because of feeling so bad for so long and not having any kind of energy, walking was something I could do. I started off walking just 20 minutes and slowly built up from there. Now I walk 5 miles a day, usually on my treadmill at home. I listen to music to keep from getting bored – mostly top 40 tunes with an up tempo.

I also work with free weights a couple of times a week. For example, I’ll do arm lifts with a kettle bell and crunches with a medicine ball.

What other changes have you made?
Last year, we planned a trip to Disney World and I wanted to lose 20 pounds before going. Then I thought, I wonder if I can lose more. It just sort of took off from there and now I’m down 50 pounds.

I watch calorie intake. My husband bought me a FitBit last Christmas. It’s a great tool. You put in your current weight and how much you want to lose and it gives you a calorie count.

One of the things I realized is that when I was feeling bad, I ate a lot of comfort food and fast-food. I’ve changed to salads, fruit, vegetables and lean meats. I also increased my water intake, which I think also made a difference in my energy levels.

How do you stay motivated?
Seeing results has been helpful. Also, for me, just feeling better is a factor because I know where I was and where I’m at now. That’s huge for me. And I’m one of those people who always push themself.

Have patients noticed the changes in you?
I’ve had a few patients notice. That’s kind of nice.

How does it feel to know you’re inspiring your coworkers?
A lot of us in the OB/GYN clinic have Fitbits now and we compete against each other in walking challenges. At the beginning of the year, a coworker brought in a NutriBullet and we tried different veggie smoothies. The support is really neat. Within my department, we’ve probably lost over 100 pounds collectively. I now have my own juicer at home and I still use it.

What advice would you give to others?
Start out with baby steps and work your way up to a healthier lifestyle. I think that works better.  I recommend a slow-building routine, even if it’s just walking 10 minutes a day if that’s all you can tolerate, and then push yourself to increase from there. Even though there may be days you don’t feel 100 percent or you feel discouraged, it helps to develop a habit and stick to it. I think walking does that for people because it’s not real aggressive, it’s not expensive and it gets you moving.