Nurse Puts Diet Where Her Mouth Is


Posted to Nurse Safety, Nursing, Obesity

Elenathewise –

One thing that comes up sometimes with nurses is the disparity between the talk and the walk — when great advice is being given about how to get and stay fit, but the nurses giving that advice are not fit, themselves.

A Minnesota nurse named Michelle Williams says that she always felt hypocritical when she stressed the importance of being fit to her patients. “I’m telling people to lose weight, watch their diet. And I weighed 270 pounds,” she says in this article in the Star Tribune.

Not anymore, though. After a lot of hard work and dedication, she’s dropped 95 pounds. She has improved her health, changed her outlook, and serves as an inspiration to patients and colleagues.

Her identification badges at the hospital still have photos that were taken before her weight loss — she keeps wearing them, to show patients that she’s putting her diet where her mouth is. She’s been on a strict diet while also exercising regularly.

Long before she decided that her ideal meal was a cup of garden vegetable soup with pesto and a half sandwich at Panera, she pretty much ate whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted. Her parents were overweight. Williams was big as a child. For her, this was normal.

And she’s a good cook.

Obesity brought Williams awkward moments as a child. But when she reached 33, she was in crisis mode. She was diagnosed with hypertension. As a cardiology specialist, she didn’t have to read any health charts to predict what her future might be like unless she drastically changed her lifestyle.

North Memorial offered the Optifast program. Williams, who is single, began 14 months ago. She has lost 34 percent — or one-third — of her total body fat.

It hasn’t been a piece of cake.

“I’d go hours and hours without eating,” she recalled. “And then I’d eat a ton.”

When she started the program in May of last year, she immediately gave up soda, which she loved. She reduced her carbohydrate intake, a difficult task for someone who loves bread. But the hardest part was the exercise.

“I’m not crazy about running or some of the machines,” she said. “But I do what I need to do. At first, I forced myself. Eventually, it became part of my routine.”

Doctors at North Memorial now point to Williams as an example of what can be.

She’s not sure how far her journey will take her. But on Labor Day weekend, she will be in New York, where half of one of those 2-inch-thick deli sandwiches could last the entire three days.

“I’m excited,” she said. “This is a dream come true.”

The trip to New York is just the cherry on the cake. Her greatest reward is what she no longer sees in the mirror.