Denise Norris, RN
"It’s a journey." That’s what Denise says about her health and wellness changes over the past few years. She’s certainly come a long way on this journey.
Back in 2011, Denise reached a breaking point. She wasn’t happy with herself. Getting through the day was exhausting. She was overweight and unhealthy. She didn’t want to live like that anymore.
So she pulled the trigger: She joined Weight Watchers. She chose the program because it offered the support she needed to stay on track.
Within a few months, her terrible heartburn went away. Her blood pressure improved. And the weight started coming off.
Seeing these wins gave Denise the motivation to do more. She decided to cut out processed foods, which eliminated her migraines. She went on walks with her high-energy dog, eventually building up to 8 miles a day.
Hitting (and Overcoming) the Plateau
Soon enough, Denise went through a 6-month weight loss plateau. Her habits were helping her maintain her weight, but she wasn’t losing any more. To see progress, she had to make another change.
That’s when a friend suggested she switch to a plant-based diet.
“I thought the foods would be disgusting, but they were actually really good,” said Denise. “I cut out all animal products and sugar. I lost 16 pounds in the first month and had so much energy.”
Since 2011, Denise has lost a total of 235 pounds and continues to live a healthy lifestyle.
Hitting the Bumps in the Road
Denise has seen much success with her lifestyle changes, but success doesn’t come without challenges. Her mind played tricks on her like feeling overweight despite extraordinary weight loss. She’s dealt with binge-eating, thinking, “If this is where I’m going to be, I might as well treat myself.”
At one point, she even regained 30 pounds. But she got back on track.
“I had to learn to be happy in my journey, to be happy along the way,” said Denise, “instead of only finding happiness in the end goal.”
A Lifestyle and Career Transformation
Prior to changing her lifestyle and losing weight, Denise wasn’t a nurse. Getting healthy motivated her to go to nursing school and help others get well.
Now she’s a health coach, too. Both at her nursing job and as a health coach, Denise tries to motivate others with her story.
“I see people coming in for a heart catheterization, and I tell them, ‘it doesn’t have to be this way,’” she said. “I plant the seed and show my before-and-after photos, which are really powerful.”
She’s even helped educate patients and coworkers on her plant-based diet, sharing delicious recipes and offering advice.
“I always tell people, focus on adding in the good stuff,” said Denise. “Do more than you did yesterday, add in more good, and eventually if you keep doing that, it’ll crowd out the bad.”
Denise Norris is a plant-powered RN and health coach. She works as an RN at Reid Health in Richmond, IN.
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