Wake-up calls come in all forms. For Tyraia Colbert, a tele-health assistant who works nights in the Communications Department at Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC), her wake-up call to get healthy came in the form of shoes.
“I couldn’t wear my high heels,” Tyraia laughed. “I was too big, and they weren’t comfortable anymore. I had to wear flats to work every day, and I didn’t like it.”
Her fashion limitations, coupled with a health scare the year before when she was hospitalized with cluster headaches, lead her to commit once and for all to achieving better health.
In five months, the single mother of two boys, ages 7 and 10, has lost nearly 50 pounds and drastically changed her lifestyle and eating habits.
“I was scared that if I didn’t change my life, I would die,” said Tyraia. “My children need their mother, and I needed to make sure I was there for them.”
AAMC’s Energize Program Provides the Tools
Tyraia began her journey by turning to AAMC’s Energize, the hospital’s wellness program. She began walking twice a week for 30 minutes on the Energize walking path in the basement of AAMC. Then, she took advantage of the various Energize fitness classes and workshops.
In July, she started seeing a nutritionist weekly through AAMC’s nutrition coaching program – free to employees, yet available to the community for a fee – to improve her diet.
“Before I started with Energize, I was lazy,” Tyraia said. “Now, I see Maureen [nutritionist] once a week for accountability, and she pushes me to work harder and helps me find new recipes and healthy foods to add to my diet.”
Tyraia’s Journey to Better Health Becomes a Family Affair
Now Tyraia’s mother, Kay, joins her daughter for Energize group fitness classes 4-5 days a week.
“My mother is my support system,” said Tyraia. “She makes me get up and go to class when I don’t feel like it. We hold each other accountable.”
“When Ty got serious about her health I wanted to support her,” Kay said. “During this year Ty has lost weight, completed her high school diploma and started college,” she added with pride.
Both Colberts noticed that their whole family’s health has improved with their efforts, but when people ask Tyraia about her “secrets” to weight loss she is honest.
“I tell people there is no magic trick to weight loss, no gimmicks. It’s about making lifestyle changes and I tell them they can do it, too. It’s easy to dismiss, but it’s true – it will make you feel better.”
Tyraia’s journey isn’t over yet. Her long-term goal is to lose 100 pounds. “I’m halfway there,” she said, “and I can keep up with my boys now.”
And, her high heels have come back out of the closet.