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In our October 2004 health feature called Fit Steps: Your Fitness Guide, Kentucky Living outlined vital steps for a successful fitness program.

We asked our readers to share their fitness success stories and tips—the things that most helped them succeed in their own quest to a healthy lifestyle. Here’s what our readers had to say.

You can find many more suggestions from readers on our Web site (see MORE FITNESS SUCCESS TIPS below).

To read the October article online, click here: Fit Steps: your fitness guide

Thanks to everyone for sharing your wonderful advice!

President’s Challenge
I continue to exercise and lose weight by keeping an exercise journal, which started with a program called the President’s Challenge at Seeing what I have done and the time I have invested makes me meet the challenge of exercising five days a week.
Michelle Johnson, Maysville
Fleming-Mason Energy Cooperative

Feel satisfied
One thing that has helped me be successful is that I have learned to eat healthy and feel satisfied. Now I am not always in the kitchen looking for something to eat. I have lost 65 pounds in eight months. Remember, take it one day at a time.
Dana Buckner, Greensburg
Taylor County RECC

Walk off one meal
To offset weight gain from smoking cessation, I started noticing the calories and fat of what I was eating. I picked one meal per day and vowed to walk off that amount of calories and/or fat grams before getting off the treadmill. I started that in January 2004 as I had gained 12 pounds. I have lost 15 pounds and now I walk three days per week for 20-minute periods just for maintenance and flexibility.
Brenda Moore, Beattyville
Jackson Energy Cooperative

Don’t skip meals
A major part of a fitness program is eating healthy. That has always been a problem. The biggest mistake I’ve made is taking second place to the kids. My meals were often their leftovers. I’ve since realized I deserve a balanced meal, too, in order to take care of them.
Karen Etterling, Greenup
Grayson RECC

Anyone can exercise
I am 86 years of age. I had a stroke six years ago on my right side. I do exercises three times per week. I do eight different exercises lying on the bed and five standing because I can’t get up and down on the floor and can’t walk anymore.
Mrs. Lois Walls, Hardinsburg
Meade County RECC

Walk! Walk! Walk!
Although I underwent open-heart surgeries in 1994 and again in 1996, today finds me an alert, agile 83-year-old man in excellent health.

My secret? Simple. Walk! Walk! Walk! Just one hour a day, six days per week on my trusty treadmill does the job. Ain’t life grand?
Joseph E. Schabell, Alexandria
Owen Electric Cooperative

Make a list
I am a “list” person. Every night before I go to bed I make a list with everything I have to do the next day, including what exercise I will be doing and at what time. I have found you are much more likely to complete a task if it is written down.
Amy Harper-Hogancamp, Clinton
Hickman-Fulton Counties RECC

Skill power
In January of 2002, I decided at age 44, at 258 pounds, 6 feet tall, I was a heart attack waiting to happen. I drank sweet tea daily (one to two gallons). I replaced my tea with water. I walked one-fourth mile a day. After noticing my weight dropping and my energy level increasing, I gradually changed my eating habits and increased my walking. I now eat raw veggies, fresh fruit, and nuts as snacks instead of chips, candy, and ice cream. I don’t eat anything fried or white (bread, potatoes, cheese). I now walk/jog approximately four miles every other day. I am wearing a size 16 instead of size 24. I feel great! Praise God for the skill power and strength. It’s diet versus habits. Skill power is about life-changing habits; willpower is short-term progress (diet). Diet is a negative word to the weight-conscious person.
Cindy Gibson, London
Jackson Energy Cooperative

Powerful machine
The best fitness tip I ever received was when I broke my neck in a car accident. I was hesitating about going back to stunt cheerleading when my orthopedic surgeon said: “Don’t be afraid to take risks with your body. Do everything in your power to become fit, because risks are everywhere. You could be harmed just walking into the parking lot.” He made me realize my body is a powerful machine made to be worked out. He was proved right.
Shaunna Turner, Columbia
Taylor County RECC

Drink of choice
The one main thing I have changed in my diet is what I drink. I have cut out all soda. I drink lots of water and on occasion I drink a little tea. Water is good for the entire body and helps to shed the pounds. It also clears your complexion.
Tamria King, Gray
Cumberland Valley Electric

Mood enhancer
Before I started a regular exercise program, I was “down in the dumps” all the time. Nothing in my life has helped me really as much as exercising.

My tip is this: set a daily time to exercise and be consistent until you get hooked on it so that you won’t feel “like yourself” if you don’t exercise that day. Exercise will become like a daily drug that you cannot do without!
Margaret Stafford, Lexington
Blue Grass Energy Cooperative

Take care of health
Almost three years ago I lost 50 pounds without trying. It turned out I had diabetes. I’ve since lost 25 more pounds.

Write down your meals so there’s no surprises at mealtime. Cook and freeze individual portions. Do tai chi or yoga to relieve stress. Try weights and cardio, too.

I have no health insurance, so when I finally went to the doctor and found out I had diabetes and that it was severe enough that it had caused me to drop 50 pounds within a couple of months, I knew I had to do something.

It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I took charge of my health, doing what I could to treat myself.

Diabetes has caused irreversible damage, yet I am not on any prescription meds or insulin. My cholesterol has dropped from 272 to 179, my glucose from 200-300 to an average of 100-200.

So my biggest health tip is to do what you can for yourself. Eat right, exercise, lose weight if need be, never smoke, and be at peace with God, yourself, and your fellow man.
Lisa Swift, Welchs Creek
Warren RECC

Commercial break
I am a physical therapist assistant who does home house visits. Two tips that have been successful with my patients and myself are to exercise when a commercial comes on the television, and the other one is to exercise in either the sitting or standing position during their treatments.
Peggy Peerenboom, Loretto
Inter-County Energy Cooperative

Nine health habits
I have lost and maintained 110 pounds on the Weight Watchers program. I learned nine good health habits:
1. portion control
2. fruits and vegetables: 5 a day
3. dairy products: 2-3 daily
4. whole grains
5. lean protein
6. limit fats, added sugar, & alcohol
7. multiple vitamin-mineral supplement
8. water
9. exercise
Melissa Goff, Somerset
South Kentucky RECC

Track your pulse
I use a pulse rate monitor to help with my aerobic workouts. It’s a simple device that keeps instantaneous track of your pulse rate throughout your exercise. It lets you know when you’re in the proper “zone,” so you know if you’re exercising properly.
Paul Twehues, Cold Spring
Owen Electric Cooperative

I want to live
When I think about eating too much food, I try to think about whether eating all that food is worth dying for. Do I want to live and spend time with my family and friends, or do I want to eat something that is not good for me? Naturally, I want to live. So, I don’t eat the food at all or not as much of it.
Vicky Mayhan, Inez
Big Sandy RECC

Join fitness center
I chose a three-prong attack to lose weight and improve my physical fitness. I joined the HealthPark (fitness center in Owensboro) for workouts three times a week. I walk or jog six days per week, and eat healthy meals as well. I have lost 30 pounds and 4 inches off my waistline since May 2004.
Robert Crowe, Owensboro
Kenergy cooperative

Stretching helps avoid soreness in the days following a tough workout, and soreness is an easy excuse for taking a day off. If you stretch thoroughly after each workout, you will feel better and your muscles will be ready to go the next day.
Sarah Eckert Lainhart, Louisville

Treadmill workout
I walk/jog on a treadmill at least four mornings a week. I start and end with walking with jogging in between. I spend enough time to go at least 1.2 miles. I also do three sets of sit-ups and push-ups in the evenings. Along with sensible eating, I lost 24 pounds.
Darrell Flannery, Paris, Kentucky
Clark Energy Cooperative

Add calcium
In my fitness and weight loss program, eating breakfast each day, including two to three servings of calcium, is my success tip. Making this decision and sticking to it has led to a 50-pound weight loss at this time. Add physical activity for a sure success.
Rebecca Tinch, Adairville
Pennyrile Electric Cooperative

Pool therapy
After a car accident, I had to have physical therapy. It was suggested that I have pool therapy. This helped ease the pain of exercising and got me back in shape again. I felt better than I ever did, lost weight, and even had a spring in my step.
Linda Gibbs, Partridge
Cumberland Valley Electric

Alternate exercise
Vary your workouts. For example, if you jog, never run the same distances two days in a row. Vary between distances, intensity of the run, course, and length of time. By doing this you will stay fresh, improve your conditioning, and have fewer injuries.
Dick Rawdon, Georgetown
Owen Electric Cooperative

Pack your lunch
The best fitness tip is to pack your lunch. You are less likely to let yourself get too hungry and you are more likely to eat fewer calories. It is also a good way to use leftovers wisely. Put the money you save aside for a new outfit.
Julie Ilhardt, Tollesboro
Fleming-Mason Energy Cooperative

Chart your success
Put an activity chart on the refrigerator—you always see it as a reminder to work out and it rewards (over time) by showing the number of times you work out. We always use the fridge as a reminder—put your before picture up beside the activity chart. Change is possible.
Suzanne Edmonds, Berea

52 situps
When I was 30, I started doing one sit-up per day for every year I had attained. I am now 52, so guess how many sit-ups I do every day—no sweat! I also have a 2-year-old dog named Monty who requires daily walks. My weight is kept within reason, and so is Monty’s.

Also, choose a hobby with your spouse and/or family that also provides exercise. Hiking while camping, biking, skiing, or skating—whatever you can all do together. Gardening provides the added benefit of fresh veggies you can proudly enjoy together also.
Jeanette Spalding, Simpsonville
Shelby Energy Cooperative

Consistency works
Do what you can; do what works for you. Having an “all or nothing” attitude can defeat you before you even begin. Ignore all the advice that tells you what you should be doing and do what works. Sure, more is better, but doing nothing never works!

Consistency was the key to my success when I lost 30 pounds simply by walking every day. I realized that it doesn’t matter if a person age 25 works out and does good one day. It is what you do every day (or 5-6 days per week) that matters and you’ll reach your goals!
Angela Allen, Guston
Meade County RECC


A big congratulations to Jayne Newman of Millersburg, a member of both Fleming-Mason and Clark Energy cooperatives. Jayne is the winner of the Kentucky Living Fitness Package in our October issue, valued at $225. Her name was drawn at random from the 64 fitness tips and stories published in our magazine and on our Web site.

Also congratulations to five other readers who received a Kentucky Living Fit for Living T-shirt. They are: Teresia Harris, Reynolds Station, Kenergy; Joseph Schabell, Alexandria, Owen Electric Cooperative; Darrell Flannery, Paris, Clark Energy Cooperative; Sarah Eckert Lainhart, Louisville; and Sherry Osborne, London, Jackson Energy Cooperative.


Melissa Marie Erkenbrecher, 13 years old of Irvine and a member of Jackson Energy Cooperative, sent us 50 one-word tips for inspiration to your fitness goals.

To find Melissa’s tips, as well as additional success stories and tips from readers, click here: fitness tips

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