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Peg Bradford, 48, of Sewell, started Steps to Good Health, a closed Facebook support group to help others.
Why did you start Steps to Good Health?
About five years ago, I started menopause and gained a lot of weight. One day, I was in the store trying on clothes, and a pair of pants didn’t fit me. I started crying. I decided to get healthy. I was 220 pounds. I had never been that in my entire life. I decided I have to do something about this. No one is going to help me. I have to do something on my own. I got to a breaking point. I had to be at that point, breaking point. It was a game changer. In a year, I lost 75 pounds. I did not use diet pills. That’s the way to do it. Slow and steady and it will stay off. When going through it, I felt alone. I am a firm believer of helping others. I love to help people to support people. So, I started a support group on Facebook.
Where did you come up with the name for your group?
Part of my weight loss was using a pedometer and that’s how I came up with “Steps of Good Health.” There are so many success stories. Walking is a large part of it.
What is it about this group that makes it special?
People on the page say it’s because of the positive support. Nobody bashes anybody, it’s all positive support. It’s unbelievable. I’m so thankful to be a part of an amazing group. I have one member that lost 300 pounds. People say to me all the time. You don’t charge anything. I am doing it because I want to help people. When I read emails and member posts, it’s rewarding. There are no words for all these amazing people in my group. There are so many people in this country with weight issues and a lot of people can’t afford to go to a gym. If you are having a good day we cheer you on. If you are having a bad day, we lift you up. There are men and women members from all over the world, including Puerto Rico, Canada and Australia. It is a closed group. It’s not secret. But we want people to feel comfortable so they don’t feel like they are being judged.
Some posts from the Steps to Good Health Facebook page demonstrate the sense of community:
- Well I am still here although I haven't been posting much. I have slacked on tracking, walking, etc. since I lost Mom, but you know what? I braved the scale this morning and I have lost another 1.4 pounds for a total loss of 15.4 pounds! Slowly, I am doing this! It's time to get back at it and take care of me. Hope everyone has a great day!
- So excited to report that the 18 pounds I came home with from the hospital has gone down to 2, I can live with that. Thanks for all the advice when I was flipping out. Happy Saturday everyone.
- April 24 - 6,130 steps - was able to get outside to walk, took baby for stroll, watched her last night
April 25 -6,740 steps - work out on Gazelle, a very stormy day. Just need to do better on eating habits. Getting there.
What is the one thing you’d say to someone who wants to lose weight?
Get a pedometer. Get moving. Get the word “diet” out of your vocabulary. It’s a lifestyle change. You have to be realistic. Set small realistic goals.
How do you manage your weight now?
I watch portions. I don’t cut food groups out. I like ice cream, but I don’t go crazy like I used to. Use the pedometer tracking device, portion control and drink lots of water. If you cut out foods, as soon as you introduce it back in the food plan, you gain again. Don’t cut out food groups. It’s all about portion control, drinking more water and moving.
What exercise regiment do you do?
I step (go up and down steps), do weights, 15 lbs weights. Jog in place. Walk outside. My goal every day is 20,000 to 30,000 steps a day. I walk the neighborhood, few loops around is a couple miles. I want to start jogging 5 miles again and mix it up. I play some tennis. I like softball. I play with a women’s league. I was never involved in sports. I was never an athlete. This process has changed my life. It has changed me physically, emotionally and my life.
What do you eat?
Breakfast: healthy cereal and peanut butter
Lunch: chicken and yogurt with protein
Dinner: chicken breast and vegetables,
Snack: I eat one later in the evening, never cut that out and it’s usually ice cream.
If I get hungry, grab a protein bar. I do cheat. You have to be realistic. If I were to cut out everything it wouldn’t be realistic. I try to drink a couple glasses of 8 oz a day. I drink a lot seltzer water. I used to drink soda, now I drink flavored seltzer. That is one thing I did cut out -- soda. All I was doing was drinking sugar.
Any other tips for people trying to lose weight?
When you reach a goal, put money into a jar and treat yourself to something. Make a food journal. When you see what you eat. When you write it down on paper and you look at it, you will be amazed.
Looking back on, what has Steps of Good Health taught you?
You don’t have to do this alone. It’s possible. You can absolutely do this. The main thing is that if you look at the big picture it is very depressing. I look at getting healthy as losing 5 pounds at a time. I will do this for the rest of your life. I learned this on my own how to be healthy and have done a lot of reading. The one thing that has come out of this is that I have a huge interest in fitness. I read all the time. I never try to act like a dietician, nutritionist or doctor. I tell people to consult their doctor for medical advice. I’m an every day woman sharing her story. That’s all I am. America is full of people who are struggling. I know I’m not alone. I’m just going to keep going.