10:50 AM

Employee blog: Changing her life … forever


At first, Rachel Hehl thought she wanted to lose weight. It didn’t work. But everything changed when she realized what she really wanted – to be strong, self-confident and happy.

Have you ever come so close to giving up on something you desperately wanted or needed?

I did.

I remember clearly the day in 2010 I stood in front of the mirror feeling frustrated and disappointed in the person I saw looking back at me. I wanted to lose weight, but nothing I tried seemed to work. So I thought, “What if I just give up, give in to every whim and craving, and forget about ever losing weight?”

But then, I realized that would not make me happy, and that’s what I really wanted, more than the weight loss, more than the smaller sizes, I wanted self-confidence, strength and pride. That’s what I needed to be happy.

How would I get there? Weight loss was the start for me. I examined what I had tried and decided to go simple. Weight loss equals more calories burned than consumed. I got moving and focused on small changes in my life to make that equation work for me. I started small, one change at a time, like drinking more water, taking stairs instead of the elevator and adding more movement to my day. Once a change became routine, I kept that going and added another change. I wasn’t looking to drop a ton of weight right away. I’d done that before and gained it all back plus more. I wanted to change my life … forever.

One of the biggest changes was the way I considered the choices I had. If I was tempted not to exercise because I was sore from a workout, I asked myself, Is that an excuse or a reason? I found I was making excuses which did not fit into my long-term plan, so I got over it and got moving.

With more activity came weight loss, and other changes. In 2011, I learned I was pregnant with our second child whom we had been praying for seven years. This was a reason to modify my exercise and diet, but not an excuse to give up or change my goals, so the work continued.

In 2016, I learned I needed a total hip replacement but that I could put it off up to five years if I stopped doing most of the exercise that had helped me lose 50 pounds so far. I was terrified. I could see all that work going up in smoke, weight coming back on, unable to continue what had been so successful for me.

I decided to take charge and not wait. I had my hip replaced in January 2017 so I could continue my journey. Today, I’m 80 pounds lighter than that woman who looked back at me from the mirror so long ago. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. I’ve become a strong, confident, healthy example for my family, inspiring them to make healthy choices. That makes me very happy.