When Nakeya Johnson had her third child in 2010 she knew something had to change. With three small children at home, her health and wellness had taken a back seat to family and work responsibilities. But, on January 1, 2013 Nakeya decided to make a serious commitment to getting healthier. I gave up soda,” said Nakeya, a medical secretary with AAMC Oncology and Hematology. “I started drinking water, eating a healthy breakfast and I got moving!” Nakeya made it a priority to visit the AAMC Employee Gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays when her schedule permitted, and when she couldn’t make it, she began getting up at 5 am to walk. “I realized that I could get up that early and fit in a work out,” Nakeya said. She still follows that routine – adding jogging and strength training to her routine – and to date she has lost more than 70 pounds!
Nakeya credits technology with helping her get and stay fit. “I find so many workout routines on YouTube,” she said. “I have walking videos and weight lifting routines to help me strength train.” Nakeya also uses her FitBit to track the number of steps she takes every day and the My Fitness Pal app on her phone to help her keep track of the calories she eats. She participates in AAMC’s Weight Watchers at Work and focuses on portion control when it comes to eating. “I am a stress eater,” Nakeya said, “but now, when I feel stressed, I excuse myself from my kids and I go to my basement and do a five minute workout instead of eating a cookie. It’s amazing how much exercise helps reduce stress!”
Staying active and making healthy choices is a family affair with the Johnsons. After seeing Nakeya’s progress, her husband started exercising regularly. Nakeya has become a role model for her children who are also more active and aware of the importance of making healthy choices. “My kids are always pointing out things that aren’t on our ‘healthy eating’ list,” laughs Nakeya. Asked what advice she has for others looking to improve their health and fitness, Nakeya stressed having faith in yourself. “You will get discouraged because it does take time to see results, but you have to have faith that you can do it. I kept telling myself I wasn’t turning back once I started and I didn’t.”