Healthy Directions

Deb Cameron's Success Story

A 28-year cycle of yo-yo weight loss and gain wasn't doing Deb Cameron any favors. So with a desire for real, lasting change - and looming health issues in her immediate family - Deb made a new commitment to wellness two years ago.

"I had reached my heaviest weight, and I was not happy about it," says Deb, a customer service representative for John Deere Credit (JDC) in Des Moines, Iowa. And with the presence of Type 2 diabetes in her mother, uncle, and grandfather, "I decided I had to kick it up a notch. I did not want to follow in their footsteps."

Other than slow and steady, "try, try again" might well be Deb's motto. Taking advantage of the wellness programs in Des Moines, she started with a lunchtime toning class. That led her back to the group weight-loss program she had joined many times before. In addition, she works out three to five times a week at a 30-minute fitness center across the street from JDC.

The combination delivered a one-two-three punch to her long-term weight problem, with Deb losing 45 pounds and at least 30 inches. More importantly, it's a loss she's maintained over two years. "When you take [weight] off slowly, you keep it off better," she notes. "I know it's a healthy way to do it. It's about eating normal food and making healthier choices. I'm happy that I'm not putting it back on."

Her husband has helped by cooking healthier foods, and her co-workers have been supportive, too. Having a support group is one of her tips for success. The other is resolving to take action. "You have to do this for yourself. It's not for your husband, father, mother, or uncle."

Though she has 40 to 45 more pounds she'd still like to lose, Deb has several incentives to stay on course. One is swimsuit season. She and her husband have a sailboat and spend a lot of time on the water. Another motivator is the wedding of her son next fall - the same son whose birth 28 years ago ushered in her struggles with weight.

"It's not baby fat anymore," she notes wryly, adding, "I want to look good in those pictures. I don't want to buy that mother-of-the-groom dress until I'm smaller."