Ashley Neville, LVN, Urology, Berthelsen Main Campus
A year ago, Ashley found herself constantly fatigued and gaining weight. She went to her doctor, who told her that her cholesterol was high and recommended medication to get it under control. She decided right then to find an alternative for getting healthy. She began exercising and changed her diet, which was admittedly a challenge for this Louisiana native who was raised on Cajun and creole cuisine.
What prompted you to take control of your health?
Last year I felt fatigued all the time, and I noticed that I was gaining weight. I went to the doctor and found out I had high cholesterol. The physician told me about eating more fruits, vegetables, and grains as well as doing exercise. They also offered me a medication to help control it. I didn’t want to take the medication, and instead decided to eat right and exercise on my own.
How did you get started towards your goal of being healthier?
I started doing aerobic exercises four days a week at 5 a.m. Later, I added strength training and eventually got into high-intensity training. Even when I went to my hometown in Louisiana, I would keep up my routine even if it meant getting up in the morning and going on a nature walk. After three months, I followed up with my doctor and my cholesterol had gone down.
What about your diet?
I started meal prepping on Sundays and try to eat organic, whole foods in addition to fruits, vegetables, and grains. Being from Louisiana we eat a lot of rice and gravy and other heavy foods. I used to eat those foods for lunch and dinner, but they made me feel drained and tired at work.
So, what do you like eating now?
My favorite meal is a chicken and shrimp fajita with onions, peppers, and tomatoes. I also like to have strawberry chicken salad and for a treat I like to eat frozen fruit bars.
How did these changes affect you?
After two weeks I noticed a change in my sleep pattern, I started staying asleep straight through the night. I felt more energized when I woke up in the morning. I also noticed a change in my vision … I used to use eye drops daily, but now I don’t.
Did your lifestyle change influence your friends and family to be healthier as well?
My dad was a smoker, and he had high cholesterol and high blood pressure. So I started working with him as I was learning about myself. By working with him, as well as teaching my patients various tasks as part of my role at work, I realized how much I enjoy teaching people how to take care of themselves. So, I became a certified health and wellness coach. Right now I’m working with four individuals and helping them be healthier.
What do you know now that you wish you knew before you started this journey?
That some diseases could be preventable if you take care of yourself and do your best to be healthy. Because of what I’ve been through, I feel like I can be inspirational to people who are dealing with something similar.