It’s that time again…your weekly dose of healthy inspiration!  This week I’m featuring one of my college friends, Donell.  Not only is she one of the funniest, sweetest, and most thoughtful people I’ve ever met, but she’s also someone who’s taken charge of her health and her life, and I’m so proud of her.

One thing I have to mention about Donell – she was the best friend you could ask for if you were away from home.  I’ll never forget her emails and packages when I was studying abroad in Chile, she really kept me going when I got homesick.  That’s what makes this story even better – the gift of health couldn’t have been given to a better person.  You are amazing and beautiful, Donell!  My favorite line from her responses – feeling better about myself is the biggest reward.  Goosebump moment.

Healthy Donell


1. What made you realize that you needed/wanted to make a change in your life to be healthier?

 My life was not what I wanted it to be. I was very unhealthy. I knew I needed to change my life style. It was more than wanting to lose weight. I wanted to be able to run a race or go hiking. I was embarrassed how weak and out of shape I was.

2. What was the hardest part about making the change?

  It’s easy to get frustrated. I didn’t want to do a fad diet but seeing results with diet and exercise was slow. The hardest part was sticking to my routine and talking myself out of getting discouraged.

3. What has been the most positive/biggest result since adopting your new lifestyle?

 I have so much more confidence and energy! Feeling better about myself is the biggest reward.

4. Is there anything you would share with others who are struggling with reaching their fitness goals?

 I got discouraged a lot at the beginning. It didn’t help me to set weight loss goals. I was constantly looking at the scale and not seeing results as fast as I wanted. I started setting fitness goals. Long term, I wanted to run a race so I set short term goals based on that. I set small weekly goals like running a mile, then slowly worked my distance up. I stopped looking at the scale every day and when I did, I saw bigger results.

5. What would you say was your “recipe for success?” Support from family, coach, friends, planning meals ahead of time, fitting in training in the morning, etc.

 I’m a logical person. I educated myself by reading articles on weight loss, the science behind it, and getting advice from people I trusted. My sister was a huge help. My family and friends were very supportive. Surround yourself with people who will support you no matter what. I learned that something that worked for another person didn’t always work for me. So I combined my research and advice and found what fit for me. Once I got into a routine, with both diet and exercise, it got a little easier.