Cara Sevier, RN
My Journey To Self-Care
I wasn’t always the picture of perfect health. Though my genetics pre-disposed me to a relatively high metabolism, and being active in my early years, produced a body that most people thought I had to work for. So, I had it made, well at least for a little while.
I really didn’t start gaining weight until my junior year of college. It was subtle. Creeping up a few pounds at a time. I am quite sure that the daily Popeye’s runs and Pizza Hut escapades did me much justice either. You see, I went to Xavier University of Louisiana—New Orleans.
I didn’t care for the cuisine, but I did manage to squeeze out a few tuna fish sandwiches from the cafeteria from time to time. The weight steadily packed on, bringing me to a robust weight of about 150 lbs. by graduation (did I mention that I started out at 125 lbs.?)
Graduation came and went and upon returning home and entering into a relationship, food became the shared experience. From all-you-can-eat restaurants, to fast food drive-ins---I was having myself the best of times…a man AND food, humphhhhh, I was good. But then I started noticing pictures here and there. I thought to myself, oh, is this me? Even though I heard a resounding YES, I continued to eat….and eat…and eat. By this time, I remember getting on a scale and seeing the numbers “1-6-6”. Ummmmmm, well ok. It wasn’t that bad right? I had the extra pounds in all the right places.
Fast forward 6 years, 2 relationships, and a couple of semesters in nursing school later, I was over 170 lbs. Now the highest that I remember the scale reading was…..wait let me bring you up to speed. After I graduated from nursing school, I started working 12-hour night shifts and started a project that would keep me up most of the day. After a few years of ping-pong night shifts, and “the project”, I remember the scale reading “1-8-8”. Yep, I easily fit into a size 16.
It was around that time, that I began to speak to myself, “You have never been this big, so why now?” I was under pressure, over-worked and stressed. I would eat and then go to sleep, then wake back up and do it again. Something had to change. I had to change.
I decided to leave the stressful relationship (oh, yeah that’s what was stressing me out), and the city that I was in. I took a travel assignment in Atlanta, following my passion. Upon arrival in Atlanta, I immediately started losing weight. Without even trying---it just started coming off! I worked out here and there-losing pounds, but didn’t start a serious exercise program until years later. The only thing was, my diet did not improve, so I never reached the full benefit of a work-out program.
There was also an unfortunate hospitalization that I endured while actually working a 12-hour shift in the hospital. I stood up from charting at a computer and felt dizzy. I had to grab hold of the desk, so that I wouldn’t fall. At that instant, I became a patient. I was taken to the emergency room. I had to stay overnight to ensure that I did not have a cardiac event (heart attack). I was released in the morning, with the tests being “all clear”. I immediately began looking for ways to physically and nutritionally make changes in my daily habits.
In the fall of 2016, I joined a family owned gym and the results were amazing. It was not an easy or quick fix, but I did get down to 150 lbs. of muscle. Not just 150 lbs., there’s a difference…I’m talking about a size 6—difference. Again, my diet did not change, so after some time, the weight came back on, to the tune of 173 lbs.
In 2018, I joined a group fitness center and lost 10 pounds. I realized right then and there that I needed one-on-one training. So, I cancelled the group fitness membership and signed on with my current coach. Notice I said “coach”. That training experience took me up to January, 2019. Here is where it gets interesting. While posting exercise pictures on social media, one of my nursing colleagues, Victoria Randle, sent me a private message. She wanted to discuss an idea. The idea has blossomed into a self-care initiative that we call Nurses 4 Ever Fit™! We host monthly fitness experiences in Atlanta, where our guests participate in fun, fitness, and fellowship!
Recently, we expanded our reach to the Georgia Nurses Association (GNA). Victoria and I co-hosted a successful event with GNA for Nurses Week 2019, called “Restoring and Renewing: A Self-Care Extravaganza”! Nurses from around Metro-Atlanta came to the GNA headquarters and experienced self-care services and shopping with our vendors! We were recognized in the local AJC Pulse publication. Victoria and I have written two articles in the GNA publication "Georgia Nursing". Our second article is a research based article, "The Importance of Self-Care", and is currently available for viewing in their August, September, October 2019 issue! As we look to the future, GNA and Nurses 4 Ever Fit have pledged to continue collaborations for nurses.
Cara Sevier, RN is the co-developer of Nurses 4 Ever Fit™ and the CEO of Cara Sevier Industries.
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