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Healthy Employee of the Month - Carol Alexander

Healthy Employee Month

The Wellness Committee at CCMC recognizes the workplace’s role in helping to create healthy employees. They’ve decided to nominate a CCMC employee as the ‘Healthy Kansas Hospitals Employee of the Month. In March, the spotlight is on Carol Alexander.

How and when did you start training?

I started in January 2015. My son and daughter-in-law were exercising while on a 1500 calorie diet. So I started counting calories and exercising daily. That meant giving up a lot of unnecessary foods. If I felt hungry, I drank water to help make me feel full. I also ate protein for breakfast (eggs, bacon, ham or sausage). Breakfast, to me, is the most important meal of the day. I joined the Wellness Center when I got back from Tennessee. When I worked at the hospital, I spent my breaks working out on the fitness equipment. To date, I have kept off 40 pounds!

How do you stay motivated?

I weigh every Sunday morning before I eat breakfast. I know changing my lifestyle is the only way I will continue to keep the weight off. When I go shopping I always park at the far end of the parking lot. I also make sure I get at least 7 hours of sleep nightly. Sleep helps your body rejuvenate for the next day’s task. Granted, I don’t always get 7 hours of sleep, but I do my best to make sure my body gets plenty of rest. I have a lot of will power to leave unnecessary foods alone. I am proud that I can tell my body that food isn’t good for me and I can walk away from it.

Any advice for beginners getting into fitness?

I have tried numerous times to be where I am today. Sometimes, I actually can’t believe it finally happened. First, you have to give up the food that isn’t good for your body (chips, candy bars, cake, etc). Then set a calorie goal. I feel at the beginning you need to exercise daily, a minimum of 30 minutes. If that is too hard, start with 5 minutes each week and increase weekly. Do the same with an unnecessary food. Remember to get plenty of sleep and think about daily exercise being just as important as eating and sleeping.

In regard to workouts, can you give us an overview of your typical week?

When I started working out, I was riding a stationary bike 3 or 4 times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes a day. If I was off that day, I would walk a minimum of 30 minutes. I had to take it easy in the beginning because my right knee didn’t want to cooperate with the workouts. When my knee finally got strengthened to the exercise routine, I advanced to the treadmill and elliptical machines. Since my vacation in February and March, I have done more walking outside there and at home. Depending on the April weather I may rejoin the Wellness Center so I can do a variety of exercises.

What is your greatest achievement so far?

Losing more weight than planned. I really didn’t have a goal in the beginning. I figured I would try for a few months and I would get irritated and quit once again. One day I was on the stationary bike and I pushed “manual, ok” and it asked me for my weight. I thought how annoying. Then I realized when it flashed daily 150 pounds, that was a starting goal for losing weight. I was amazed when that day came and I could actually hit “ok” and didn’t have to hit a higher weight.

What is your favorite healthy food?

Salad. At work, I usually put crackers and dressing on it. At home I add cheese, bacon bits and french fried onions with dressing.

What is your diet like?

I usually eat 3 meals a day. I try not to eat snacks. I never overeat because that will add too many calories in a day. Some days I do give in to extra food, but I find that’s when I’m tired and didn’t get enough sleep. For lunch and supper I always make sure I have a green vegetable for the meal. I also drink plenty of water daily. My treat for the day is a 12 oz. diet Mountain Dew.