By Lisa Capobianco
For Human Resources Director Sue Tanner of the Southington YMCA, the start of a new year means the continuation of a journey to a healthy lifestyle, which she started two days before Thanksgiving. Battling with her weight since the age of six, Tanner made a promise to lose weight, and this time, she refuses to give up.
“I’m not sure there is a lot more chances—it is time,” said Tanner, adding that she has tried different diets in the past without much success. “It is now or never.”
Losing nine pounds during the first week of her weight loss journey, Tanner said she has made major changes in her diet between eliminating butter in her recipes and reading nutrition facts labels at the grocery store. Tanner has also made a promise to quit smoking.
“I am drinking a lot more water, trying to stay away from carbs and fats, making sure I have enough protein each day,” said Tanner, who has also started incorporating breakfast into her diet. “I am taking the time to take note of what I am eating instead of having it just be automatic. I think about it first.”
Tanner has a goal of losing at least 50 pounds, and she has already lost at least 17 pounds from the time she started her diet. She also managed to incorporate exercise into her daily regimen. Tanner said she hopes to reach her goal by April, when she plans to participate in the Y’s annual obstacle course challenge called the “Storm Sloper Trails Challenge.” The challenge involves running and climbing, racing, and participating in a scavenger hunt to benefit Livestrong at the YMCA Program for adult cancer survivors.
“Working for the Y is like a gift right under your nose,” Tanner said. “Everything you need to be healthier is right here.”
Tanner said the best part of her new journey is the support of her colleagues. Some of Tanner’s colleagues have joined her in starting a healthier lifestyle, encouraging each other to exercise and eat right while using humor to help each other get through the struggle.
“The people who are doing this with me have struggled to lose weight all their lives,” Tanner said. “We can relate to each other, and we know how hard it is.”
Administrative Assistant Kristin Kelly of the YMCA is one of Tanner’s teammates who started her weight loss journey a week after Thanksgiving. Like Tanner, Kelly has also started reading nutrition facts labels while grocery shopping and has incorporated exercise into her daily regimen.
When Kelly heard the news about Tanner’s decision to change her lifestyle, Kelly said she jumped at the opportunity to make the same commitment.
“Sue is the inspiration,” said Kelly. “It feels really good to be doing it together.”
Throughout her weight loss journey, Tanner has received support from her family. Her nephew, who lives in Virginia Beach, pledged to donate $50,000 to the Southington YMCA if Tanner reaches her goal of losing 50 pounds. Tanner said other friends and family members have also made pledges for her commitment to losing weight.
“That is the bonus, but the real thing is me having a healthier lifestyle,” Tanner said.
For Tanner, her two 18-month-old granddaughters serve as the true motivation for leading a healthier lifestyle. By losing weight, Tanner said she hopes not only to become physically active for her grandchildren, but also to serve as a role model.
“They are the absolute light of my life,” Tanner said. “I want to be around.”