WINNSBORO — Who said it’s too hard to change one’s lifestyle as they got older? Whoever did forgot to tell Becky Lambert.
Becky, 63, has lived in Fairfield County her entire life (minus a five-month period when she lived in Mississippi) and almost two years ago to the day she committed to drastically change her life.
She joined a program called Winning at Weight Loss. After seeing an advertisement (in The Herald Independent coincidentally enough) in 2011, she joined the program.
Although it might sound like a spur of the moment reaction, it was anything but.
Becky had reached a point in her life where she knew she needed to make a lifestyle change. Not only was she about to have to go up in the next dress size — which she couldn’t possibly stand — but she was also dealing with a family history of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer.
So, needless to say, health became a prerogative.
“I was at point where I had to make a change and just dieting was not working,” Becky said.
She acknowledged, during her earlier years she was able to stay trim by dieting, but now needed to make more of a lifestyle change to achieve the results she wanted.
Becky said “they” don’t like to use the term diet — “they”being program instructors Mac Russell and Sandy Kammerman.
“It’s more of a lifestyle than a diet,” Becky noted.
Even though she was the one to make the decision to change her lifestyle, Becky gave Mac and Sandy credit for encouraging her to take that first step by joining the program.
The program was a 12-week class that met once a week, and gave information and tools on how to make a change. Most importantly, she learned how to read food labels and cook healthier.
“I had no idea I wasn’t looking at the nutrition facts correctly,” Becky said.
The class learned about the different types of fat, amounts of sodium and sugar content.
“Fats were the real eye opener,” Becky noted.
Before, she would only look at the total fat and didn’t see how it was all broken down. Now she is aware of several types including trans fat, saturated fat and unsaturated fats (poly and mono). She went through the program during the holiday season of Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“That was hard, missing out on all the goodies,” Becky noted. “But I was able to be disciplined and eat some foods moderately.”
By the end of the program, she had lost three sizes and gained a new lifestyle.
She was so excited as her results progressed that she couldn’t wait to put all the information she had learned into practice.
A couple of tricks she picked up were how to “doctor” a cup of yogurt. Becky likes the plain vanilla and would use canned fruit, raisins or even almonds to make it tastier. She liked using almonds because they are healthier than pecans or cashews.
Now instead of a piece of chocolate, she eats fruit instead.
One of the most difficult habits to give up for Becky, was drinking sweet tea.
“I’m a southerner and I do like my sweet tea,” she stated.
Now she drinks water with lemon or lime juice but she still has a glass of tea every now and then.
The second part — and maybe the most drastic — was incorporating exercise into her routine. Other program participants inspired Becky to get off the couch and begin exercising along with her new eating habits.
“It was good to hear what other people had gone through and were doing to change,” she said. “It was encouraging and motivating.”
As she noticed the weight coming off, Becky began to feel better and look forward to her exercises.
Becky still walks 10,000 steps per day. She walks at home during mornings, at lunch around downtown and during the evening she walks a local walking trail.
She said the long term difference is that she feels healthier overall and looks forward to spending her free time walking.
“It feels good to be able to walk around, up and down steps and not feel out of breath,” Becky said with a smile.
She continues to challenge herself, and is planning to begin strength exercises for her upper body by using weight training.
After noticing Becky drop three sizes, her daughter is now making the effort to lose weight as well. During this past summer, her daughter was active in strength training and changed her eating habits.
Becky’s testimony also motivated some of her church members, including the pastor’s wife, to join the Winning at Weight Loss program.
Recently, an old high school friend of Becky’s came into her office downtown and noticed how much weight she had lost. After hearing Becky’s story, her friend decided to attend the Winning at Weight Loss information sessions. The final session is Sept. 17.
“I’m just so thankful for Mac and Sandy who worked with us all,” she stated. “I can’t say enough praise for them and the job they did. People should take advantage of the program.”
Now two years later, Becky has kept the weight off and is enjoying a new lifestyle. You can still spot Becky walking around downtown Winnsboro during her lunch break.