Walking for Weight Loss: How One Woman Lowered Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar

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Sherrie Dampeer saw firsthand how weight-related problems impacted her mother’s health. And the 56-year-old was afraid she was on the same path herself.

“My mother’s health was one of the things that really frightened me because in looking at her, I was seeing myself,” Dampeer said. “By the time my mother passed, she was on a lot of medicine, mostly related to her weight. She was a diabetic, had hypertension, developed congestive heart failure and had mobility issues because of the excess weight. She ended up in a nursing home because she couldn’t physically take care of herself anymore.”

When Dampeer’s mother died, it spurred her to action. “It was like a light went off. I started to focus on my own health.” But it was hard for Dampeer to find the time to devote to her health. She works for the New York City Human Resources Administration Department of Social Services and she’s also a minister at her church and a volunteer ombudsman.

The COVID-19 pandemic sparked Dampeer’s weight loss in two ways. First, it scared her since she heard how people with obesity, like her, were at higher risk for severe COVID-19 and hospitalization.

Second, it gave her extra time to build some healthy habits. “My job shut down in March of 2020, and instead of sitting home and eating, I decided to take care of me. I live by myself. I didn’t want to die alone. I was scared. So, I got more aggressive with changing what I ate and walking,” she said.

Dampeer came across the Start TODAY Facebook group early in the pandemic. “Stephanie [Mansour] sounded so motivating, and she focused on doing what you can. If you can’t do situps, squats or pushups, she shows you how to modify, so she makes it feel welcoming,” she said.

Dampeer credits the group with motivating her, holding her accountable and encouraging her to exercise and eat better. “Start TODAY has helped me tremendously with reinforcing my ‘why’ and how it is crucial not to compare myself with others, but to compare myself only with myself on my journey,” she said.

I try to make exercise fun, so I will stick with it, so it doesn’t feel like a job.

Dampeer walks every day and aims for at least 10,000 steps. She lives in Brooklyn and says she’s walked almost every bridge in New York City. “I’ve walked the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Queensboro Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge. Walking is therapeutic for me. I see different areas of neighborhoods, and if I see a historical building or something nice, I’ll take a picture and post it at the end of the day. I try to make exercise fun, so I will stick with it, so it doesn’t feel like a job,” she said.

She also uses resistance bands to build muscle. “I want to be strong, flexible and independent,” she said.

This content was originally published here.

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