Real People. Real Change. Lifestyle Change Award
“Real People. Real Change.” recognizes individuals who have made lifestyle changes to live healthier lives and inspire others.
Congratulations to our winners, chosen by a committee of past participants, who made incredible and positive changes to improve their quality of life and health. In fact, these four inspiring ’Real People’ lost a combined total of more than 320 lbs., and they were all able to get their blood pressure and cholesterol into healthy ranges!
An online vote determined our Grand Prize Winner to receive a PELOTON Bike, and the remaining finalists will receive $500, so that all four ’Real People’ winners can continue to inspire others on their wellness journeys!
Change – good or bad – doesn’t happen overnight. Brandon Douglas can attest to that.
Over the course of the last 8 years, life had gotten in the way of his previously active lifestyle. And slowly, Brandon’s weight crept up to more than 280 lbs.
While he and his wife tried several different diets and activities over the years, nothing had stuck. Then in July 2019 they decided to try the Whole 30 plan, which eliminates all processed foods, including added sugars.
This time the change stuck. After two months, Brandon was down 25 lbs. and feeling better than he had in a long time.
Brandon, who always walked regularly on the Monon Trail, joined a gym and began doing high-intensity, interval training. Eventually he also started running.
Throughout it all, Brandon says he focused on taking one day at a time.
“I don’t try to think too far out,” he says. “What do I need to do today?”
Over the course of the last year, Brandon has lost more than 95 lbs., and his blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar numbers, which were always borderline high, are all in the normal range.
Bridgett has made it her goal to help others. She started by helping herself.
Nearly 10 years ago, Bridgett went for her physical. She was at her highest weight and was taking medication for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
When the doctor suggested bariatric surgery, a procedure that had had negative impacts on both her mother and her sister, Bridgett knew it was time to take control of her life.
A chef by training, Bridgett knew she could take control of her diet. She adopted a plant-based diet with a goal of getting off her medications. Within three years she had lost more than 50 lbs.
At that point, she took up running. Today she runs 5Ks, marathons and ultra-marathons.
Through her efforts, she has saved herself – losing 140 lbs. and getting her blood pressure and cholesterol into normal ranges.
And she has turned her attention to helping others. While working with a local non-profit organization, she started an afterschool “food explorers club” for children living in underserved areas, educating them about food choices and encouraging them to dream big. She’s implemented healthier food options for patients, staff and visitors at the hospital where she works as a dietary manager, and she has become a wellness coach to help others take control of their health and live their best lives.
Mike Click had a series of health wake-up calls during the past two years. Twice he went to the hospital with heart problems, including an elevated heart rate. Doctors found partial blockages in several arteries and diagnosed him with high blood pressure. At a later visit, doctors noticed trouble with his liver.
Mike decided the time was right to make lifestyle changes to become healthier. Already someone who exercised regularly, Mike increased his workouts to include three-mile runs and 45 minutes on the stairmaster – the equivalent of climbing more than 200 flights of stairs. He also added in weight training.
Mike also took control of his diet, cutting back on his “kryptonite” - sodas – and drinking more water. He also makes a point of starting his day with a healthy breakfast, which is often oatmeal and fruit.
Mike has lost more than 30 lbs. this year and has his heart rate and blood pressure under control.
Sharvonne has been exercising and eating healthier for several years, but she redoubled her efforts last winter after suffering a TIA (sometimes referred to as a mini-stroke) while on vacation last October.
Sharvonne started exercising by seeking out free group opportunities around Indianapolis. She would meet groups for Zumba classes, kickboxing, climbing stairs and taking walks. She has completed several Beachbody programs and serves as a fitness coach.
She took control of her diet by using portion-control containers. Containers for vegetables and proteins are bigger while containers for carbohydrates are smaller. She also tries to drink one gallon of water every day.
With her outgoing personality, Sharvonne has become an inspiration to others. She leads fitness groups at her church and leads walking groups around the city.
Sharvonne has lost almost 60 lbs. since the start of the year and has lowered her blood pressure from dangerous levels into a normal range.
Friday, February 26, 2021
11:30am - 1:00pm
Your Go Red for Women Team
American Heart Association
Attn: Indianapolis Go Red
6500 Technology Center Drive, Suite 100
Indianapolis, IN 46278