Work Friendship Leads to Healthier Lifestyles

It’s not unusual to see Stephanie Hammons and Renee Franklin walking the halls of Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) at lunchtime.  In fact, it’s very common to see these teammates from the Communications Department walking together on one of AAMC’s walking paths, logging steps every day on their lunch break.

Stephanie and Renee share not only the demands of their busy jobs routing communications through AAMC’s entire network, but also a partnership to sustain healthy lifestyles. In the last year they have lost a combined total of 165 pounds and each credits their friendship for helping them be successful.

“We help each other,” said Renee. “We share meals, recipes and we walk together on our work breaks. Stephanie helps me stay on track because I don’t want to disappoint her.”

Stephanie agrees: “When we have difficulties we text each other for additional support, especially if we encounter road blocks. It’s a lot easier to do things with a friend—including losing weight.”

Both Stephanie and Renee found the motivation to lose weight and get healthy in serving as role models for their children.

“I was tired of the weight loss roller coaster,” said Stephanie. “I could lose weight but I would gain it back. I wanted to get healthy once and for all for my kids and myself. Best decision I ever made.”

Renee’s motivations were similar: “I have a four year old son and I found it hard to keep up with his active lifestyle. I knew I had to make a change.”

They both have built physical fitness and healthy eating into their family routine, and made a commitment to sticking to those routines.

According to Stephanie, “I plan our family dinners ahead of time and stick to a routine each day. It’s the only way it works for me. After dinner my kids and I go to the gym together. My 14-year-old son works out with me and my 8-year-old daughter goes to the gym day care. We go to the gym five to six days a week.”

In addition to walking during her breaks at work, Renee spends time in the evening running around and playing with her son. “Taking care of myself is easier since I plan out when and what I will eat,” she said.

Both women say the most important part of a successful weight loss journey is do it for the right reasons and commit to making a total lifestyle change.

“I have changed my mindset,” said Renee.  “I have totally given up soda, fried and fatty foods, breads and pasta and I watch my sugar intake.”

Stephanie agrees: “You have to make a lifestyle change not a ‘diet’ mindset. You will need to work out and eat healthy on a regular basis for life. So, do it for yourself and no one else.”

And of course, finding a friend to do it with always helps, too.

Finding a fitness buddy increases your chance of success creating a healthier lifestyle. Plus, AAMC offers classes, nutritional counseling and other resources through our Energize program.

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