Janell Barman finds the inspiration she needs for her healthy direction in the faces of her two children, eight-year-old Tyler and five-year-old Kristen. "I want to see my kids grow up. I'm getting close to 40, which is about the age my father died," says Janell, a credit processing specialist from John Deere Credit in Madison, Wis.
Her father actually passed away at age 42, just five years after his first heart attack at age 37. Almost 20 years later, it's still a painful memory. "He was only 42, but his heart looked like an 80-year-old's," recalls Janell. "I was 20, but I had a 13-year-old brother that my mom had to raise [alone]."
With that anniversary in mind, Janell decided to pursue a heart-healthy lifestyle - and lose about 30 extra pounds. For her first step, she joined the group weight-loss meetings held during her lunch hour. "The meetings are here at work, which is wonderful. When you go outside of work, you don't know anyone. I think it's been more inspiring for me at work." Her fitness routine also includes walking, bicycling and working out at home to exercise tapes.
One year later, she's lost 24 pounds. "They say [my program] isn't a diet. It's a way to learn how to eat properly," she adds. Even when eating out with her kids at fast-food restaurants, she manages to make healthier selections. She's also drinking more water, and has cut back on soda and high-sugar orange juice.
"I'm not saying that I never eat badly, but I think it's important to exercise and eat right," she says, adding that it's a great example for her children. "My daughter asks me 'why?" and I say, 'well, maybe I just want to live longer.' So far I've been healthy, but I'd like to stay that way, and see my kids grow up."