Christin New: No more excuses

My name is Christin New and I've been at Stanford for about a year and a half. In my first full year at Stanford (2013), I lost over 40 pounds.

For anyone who thinks that weight loss while working can't be done, I say think again. I used MyFitnessPal app to track my calories, focusing on healthy, wholesome foods high in protein, moderate in good fats, and whole grains. I set incremental goals for myself, including giving myself "cheat days." I incorporated regular exercise by taking a HIP class once a week. I took kickboxing on Fridays at noon with Charles Cesar, which was challenging, fun, and a great workout. I always feel energized when I return to my office, and it sets the tone for my weekend ahead.

Previously, I took two HIP classes per quarter, and they were instrumental in creating a lifestyle change. Exercise has become a daily part of my life. I found things I enjoyed and tried things I'd always been interested in. Even with a regular full-time work schedule (that can sometimes run over), it has been important for me to schedule and keep my commitment to myself and to my health by going to classes, making sure I go to the grocery store, and being mindful of what I eat.

When I first started, I made "small steps": I cut out soda, then fast food, and with every change I adapted. You may think you can't live without that drive-thru, or that can of Coke to get you through the day; I'd say you might be wrong. I look back, and I've lost my taste for those things. I can't say I miss them.

I now commute by bicycle to work, which is a great new step that I took in 2014. Learning to build my cycling confidence this past year, gain experience, and navigate my way to campus no matter what the weather has actually enhanced my enjoyment of going to work. I look forward to my commute! How many people can say that?!

For me, the health outcome is worth it: at my heaviest, I was 230 pounds (obese), prediabetic, with high blood pressure. And I was college-aged! Now, in the best shape of my life, I look forward to my second marathon, a week-long cycling trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and I have no significant health problems. I can say I'm an athlete. I can do all the things I've always wanted to do since those days when I used to use my poor health as my excuse.

Christin New, Clinical Research Assistant, Cancer Clinical Trials Office, Stanford School of Medicine