Margaret Okudo, R.N., B.S.N.
Don’t give up, keep moving!
Margaret Okudo wanted to lose the weight she put on when pregnant with her two children now 5 and 2. As a nurse, she also wants to be a role model for patients. But what really tipped the scales was a heart attack her mother had in 2011. Her mom moved in with her and both began working on changing their habits. They no longer cook with oil and eat more fruits and vegetables. Margaret also does 60-day juice fasts. Already 17 pounds lighter, Margaret is working toward a goal of losing 50-60 pounds. To help get there, she exercises every day at home – running on a treadmill, biking, using one of her many exercise DVDs or hitting the trampoline with her kids. One lesson she’s learned is to not beat herself up. “If you miss a workout or eat something you shouldn’t, just move on and start over.”
Was your mother’s heart attack was the catalyst for your lifestyle changes?
Yes. In 2011, my mother had a mild heart attack that required a stent. It changed my life because she lives with me now. My mom is 74 and she’s exercising every day. She’s changing her habits and I’m changing mine, too. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes – those are conditions you can prevent. There are things you can do to lower your risk.
What are the things you’re doing to lower your risk?
I do juice fasts for 50-60 days. I juice everything fresh. When I’m not juicing, 70-80 percent of what I eat is organic and mostly plant based. I rarely eat meat and I don’t drink milk anymore.
What kind of exercise are you doing?
I do some type of exercise every morning. I work out at home. I have a treadmill, bike, weights, exercise DVDs and a trampoline my kids and I jump on in the evenings. I also walk 30-45 minutes a day during my lunch hour.
What do you do when you hit that brick wall?
I don’t give up. When I hit the wall, I start over. I tell others, if what you’re doing doesn’t work, change something, do something else, but keep moving.
How do you encourage coworkers?
I initiated a challenge where six of us competed to lose weight over a 90-day period. We each contributed $50 that went toward cash awards for the first, second and third place winners. The goal was to get people to exercise and embrace a healthy lifestyle. When the challenge ended, I kept up with the changes I’ve made because I want to be a role model.
What are some of the lessons you’ve learned?
I’ve learned not to beat myself up. If you miss a workout or eat something you shouldn’t, just move on and start over.
What other advice can you offer from your experiences?
Take a look at what you’re eating. I recommend eating more plant-based foods over processed foods, which is what makes us gain weight and can lead to chronic diseases. Invest in a blender or juicer. Exercise. Do something every day, even if it’s just 10-minute increments.
Also, challenges and competitions will give you motivation. Even if you don’t win you still gain something. Family support helps too. If you can involve your husband or wife in supporting you, that is advantageous.
Lastly, I tell others that making changes little by little is the way to go, and that they have to find what works for them, not just do what someone else is doing. But whatever you do, you have to stick with it.