Real Nurse Health Makeover: Missy Conover-Walker
At age 60 Missy Conover-Walker, a Nurse Practitioner and manager of an employee health center, lost over 100 pounds. Read her inspiring story in this week's physical activity blog.
Weight lost: 105 lbs.
Position: Nurse Practitioner and Manager of an employee health center
Hometown: Parkton, Maryland
In January of 2014, I weighed more than 300 lbs. I was always short of breath and couldn’t climb up or down steps without knee pain. I hated how I looked and felt like I was embarrassing my college-aged children with my obesity and limitations. Worst of all, as a nurse practitioner I feared my patients weren’t taking me seriously when I asked them to make healthy choices because I clearly wasn’t.
The turning point
My son belonged to a gym and when he was home from college, he would drag me out of bed to go with him. When I had my first consult with my trainer, Max, he told me he was 100 percent positive that we could reach my goals. I had tried every diet known to man, but this was the first time anyone ever said the word we. He gave me hope and was committed to helping me. Now I work out six days per week. Because he believed in me, educated me, and inspired me, I have changed my entire life: mind, body, and soul.
Committed for the long haul
I have two full-time jobs: my nursing job and my fitness plan. Taking care of myself requires the same dedication as my nursing position. I make clean eating and exercise a priority by preparing meals ahead of time and packing clothes for the gym the night before.
Non-fat Chobani yogurt with fresh berries or plain oatmeal with cinnamon are my usual breakfast choices. For lunch, I typically eat grilled chicken breast over salad with vinaigrette, and I drink seltzer with lemon throughout the day.
I used to think personal trainers were only for affluent people. Now I understand that making this investment in myself is less costly than developing diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, or any other illness that can be averted by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I tell myself, “You can pay now or pay later. What’s your choice?”
A new life
Losing weight has made me happier in so many areas. I used to need a seat belt extension on an airplane and I barely fit in the seat. Now I have plenty of room and extra slack on a regular seat belt. Clothes feel and look better on me. I can climb stairs quickly and am completely pain-free. My wedding ring, which I couldn’t wear for years because it was too tight, is now too big. I feel better than I did 10 years ago.
My husband has lost weight, too, since I don’t keep junk food in the house, and my daughter was inspired to go to the gym herself. My patients all congratulate me and many of them have been motivated to join a weight loss program or started working out at my urging.
One of my patients told me she was proud of me, but she also said she used to look at me and think, “she’s taking care of everyone but herself.” Hearing that was bitter sweet. I was sad she saw me that way, but happy she saw me make a positive change.
Missy’s best tips
- Find a buddy: I can call or text my trainer, Max, any time of the day, and he’s non-judgmental and encouraging. Plus, since he expects me at the gym, there’s built-in accountability.
- Have a mantra: Phrases like, “Keep moving forward,” “How bad do you want it?” or “Failure to plan is planning to fail” keep me motivated.
- Take your time: I didn’t feel pressure to lose all the weight immediately. I reminded myself I was making these changes for life. It’s a permanent change to my eating habits and activity, not a “diet.”
- Enjoy yourself: If I’m on a date with my husband, we may split a dessert or I may have some baked beans at a cook-out. Once per week I have some type of small indulgence that’s an extra 300 calories or so.
Has Missy’s story inspired you to make healthy changes? Reply in our weight loss discussion to share your stories and comments or post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Tag a nurse and us with #HealthyNurse.
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If Missy can do it, why can't I?
Fantastic!!! I like the word "WE" too!!! Best never to go it alone!
Way to go Missy! You are amazing. Thank you for sharing your story.
Thank you for sharing your story, Missy! Congratulations on your success and thanks for the inspiration!