Najah Swain: Manager, Employee Relations, Pearland Administrative Offices
Najah didn’t let the limitations of the pandemic lockdown prevent her from learning all she could about how to not only start a wellness journey, but also how to make it her own. Now, she’s educating others on how to start their own journey, set realistic goals, and make diet and exercise changes that last a lifetime.
When did you start your wellness journey?
My journey started in May of 2020. I noticed that I had gained weight gradually since moving to Texas in 2016 – not a significant amount, but more than I liked. I also have hereditary high blood pressure. When the pandemic lockdown happened and we were home, I had more time on my hands, so I started looking into health and wellness and seeing what I needed to do to get my health back in order.
What were your first steps?
I started with just walking the trails in my subdivision, maybe a couple of miles two or three times a week during my lunch hour. I did that until August 2020 when I talked to people who were on a similar journey to see how they got started and what they were doing.
One of my friends told me about HIIT training – high intensity interval training. So, I contacted her trainer and committed to 30 days of training with him. I did live classes over Zoom with other women who were also training and on a similar journey to get fit.
What about your diet?
My trainer gave me a meal plan and asked me to log my meals into an app so he can track what I’m eating – my macros, protein, and things of that nature. That way he can see where I’m lacking and why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling. It’s part of the training process.
I can’t really give you my eating plan because it’s been trial and error as everyone’s body is different. What makes you lose weight may not work for another person. It’s been a learning process. I’ve been doing this for a couple of years and I’m just now realizing that I can still eat. The foods I desire. I can still have bread. I can still have chips. But I can’t have the whole bag of chips or multiple slices of bread. I can still go out to eat at restaurants – I just make healthier menu choices when I do. So, it’s really a matter of learning what works for you and eating to be satisfied and not overly full.
Where do you stand in your journey today?
The journey has been great. I feel like I’ve gotten great results. I’m learning now how to maintain. So, if my clothes are feeling a little tighter, I know I’ve gone off the rails and need to pull it back in. It’s really just learning and saying, “Okay, this is just day one. This is a part of the journey.” It doesn’t mean that everything I’ve done goes away. It just means I need to be more disciplined.
With my Zoom training class, I’ve been picked to be one of the captains. I lead a lot of the high-intensity cardio dance segments on Saturdays, which is fun. So, now I’m moving into coaching by educating other women about the health journey and partnering with them through the training process. We all need support when you are on the path to a healthier lifestyle.
What’s your advice to others?
Be gentle with yourself during the process. You’re not going to conquer Rome on day one. It’s a marathon, not a race!