Meet, Beth! An IT’S TIME TEXAS Employee With a Personal Success Story
Beth Michel joined the IT’S TIME TEXAS team in 2016 as our events & initiatives coordinator. She won us over with her spunky energy, great style, and attention to detail, and we were blown away by her personal success story. Here’s a bit about Beth and how she’s managed to become an infinitely healthier and happier person over the past two years!
Beth, where did you grow up, go to school, and what brought you to Austin?
I’m originally from Louisiana! My family moved to The Woodlands when I was seven, where I lived until I graduated high school and chose to attend THE best university in Texas- Texas A&M! Whoop! After years of traveling around the country with various jobs, my love of live music, the outdoors and proximity to my family ultimately won me over and I became an Austinite last year. Y’all aren’t ever getting rid of me now!
When did you start working with IT’S TIME TEXAS, and what drew you to this cause?
I started working here in March of 2016. It feels like I’ve been here forever though, in all of the best ways possible! I graduated from college with a degree in Biomedical Science thinking that I would continue to medical school but after some introspection I realized that though I may be interested in health and medicine, marketing is actually what I love waking up to do each morning. From there it was an obvious choice for me to go into the nonprofit sector for my career since volunteer work and giving back were both huge passions of mine. Basically I was at a crossroads after deciding “no” to med school, so I mushed together everything I loved and, after a few career hits and misses over the years, I finally found my perfect job at IT’S TIME TEXAS!
What do you like most about event planning for IT’S TIME TEXAS?
I absolutely love going out into the community and talking with people about things I’m passionate about. If it were up to me I would go door-to-door across this big ole’ state telling people about what we do, why we do it and how much we need everyone working together to help end the cycle of preventable chronic disease. Add in the fact that I’m super Type-A and organized, and you’ve got an IT’S TIME TEXAS event planning machine!
You have personally transformed your health in recent years! Will you share about your own health journey?
“Transformed” is right! Sometimes I don’t even feel like the same person, I’ve changed so much. Ever since puberty I’d been overweight. My teen years are a blur of yo-yo diets, discontentment and an enormous amount of fast food. I don’t know what my exact weights were during those years… I think I blocked it from my memory, but I can say that I was in the morbidly obese range. The struggle continued all through my college and post-college years with a few successful, but unhealthy and therefore unsustainable, attempts at significant weight loss that led me to a point where I had little-to-no self-worth regarding my physical attributes. I was happy on the outside but that was just a show for my friends and family. In May of 2015, I was referred to a cardiologist due to some abnormalities detected by my primary care physician. My actual age was 27, but my body was performing as if I was roughly 62 years old. I had put so much strain on my heart that it was losing function and the doctor told me that given my current trajectory, I was on track to not live past 40. That was the scare I needed, because I left that day with an easy to follow, actionable plan to start losing weight (as prescribed by my cardiologist) and I never looked back. Fast forward to March of 2016 when I officially hit the -100 pound mark! As of today, I’m still down over 100 pounds and am working hard each day to live a balanced, happy, healthy life. I love life. I love me. I’m so proud of all that I’ve accomplished!
What’s your best advice for fellow Texans who are working to lose weight and improve their health like you have?
Quit thinking of losing weight as a “diet”. In fact, strike that word from your vocabulary. You’re not dieting, you’re eating healthy. You’re fueling your body. Calling it a diet has this mental correlation with something short-term and therefore starts you out on the wrong foot.
I’ve found that so many of us in our struggles to lose weight are either 100% going strong, working out, eating right, yada yada yada or we’re completely the opposite, not trying at all. Instead, try making changes to your lifestyle in small stages. The first thing I did was cut the portion sizes of one of my meals each day in half. I still ate the same junk as before, I just cut my dinner portion size in half. After a few weeks of getting used to that, I made that one smaller meal a healthy one. Again, gave it a few weeks, then tried to make all three meals healthier. I didn’t even start adding in exercise until I was about four weeks into my journey because I knew that I had tried the “all-or-nothing, right now” weight loss model before and it never ended well… this time would be slow and steady.
If my story resonates with anyone or you think would hit home with someone you know, please feel free to send them my way. I learned how to live healthy through an enormous amount of Googling, Instagram stalking and trial-and-error. Had I known about the resources IT’S TIME TEXAS provides, things would have been so much easier. We are here to help; I am here to help. Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or anonymously call in to our free coaching hotline for tips, resources and help developing a plan of your own at 1-(844)-26COACH.