The moment when playing tag with the kids doesn’t leave you winded. The day your doc says you can come off the meds. The finish line you’ve been training for, triumphantly crossed. There are so many reasons driving you to make healthy choices and be more active each day. Some are easy to identify and rally behind, others take longer to grab hold and spark real change. The reasons behind the stories of the men and women featured in Fitbit’s new Find Your Reason campaign are all uniquely personal, and Rachel W.’s is no exception.
How Rachel Found Her Reason
For 13 years, Rachel, 42, and her husband, Dion, struggled to get pregnant. But Rachel wasn’t in a good place physically, mentally, or emotionally. Chronic stress and a sedentary lifestyle had taken its toll. “It led to a lot of weight gain and as my weight ballooned, my confidence, my personality, and myself disappeared,” says Rachel. “I remember going to the doctor, and she had to give me a shot for something, and I remember thinking, I just know that if we don’t try [to get pregnant] right now, it’s not going to happen. And sure enough, it didn’t, and I got bigger.”
Rachel and Dion tried everything, including see a fertility specialist, who recommended that Rachel start exercising and lose some weight. “I told him, ‘I go to a gym,’ and I did go to a gym at that stage,” says Rachel, “But the reality is that it’s 20 percent exercise and it’s 80 percent what you put in your body.” Burning 400 calories at the gym isn’t going to do much when you’re also eating a bunch of junk food.
It wasn’t until Rachel’s weight hit 218 pounds and she was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes that she was motivated to change. “I just got out there,” says Rachel. “I wore a Fitbit tracker all the time, and I embraced the 10,000-steps-a-day goal. I was definitely eyes wide open after I’d seen the Fitbit calorie burn feature—you’d be surprised how little calories you’re burning compared to what you’re putting in your mouth—so I dropped my calories and only ate when I was hungry.” And it worked. She lost 33 pounds and thought she was done—all better.
And then she got pregnant.
“We were just amazed,” says Rachel. “But we had no idea that our journey, how bad it was going to be, had really just begun. Being pregnant with diabetes was horrible. You have a lot of ups and downs and hyperglycemic attacks that just leave you almost comatose.”
Post-partum was not much easier. When Tabitha was born, the doctors put a feeding tube in her nose in case she was hypoglycemic and took pricks from her feet to test her blood sugar levels.
“It broke my heart,” says Rachel. “I felt so guilty. There was nothing wrong with her—she was a beautiful, healthy baby—but because of what was happening in my body, they were really concerned.”
Despite the challenging beginning, Tabitha’s welcome into the world turned out to be a pivotal turning point in Rachel’s life.
“After Tabitha was born, I was so happy and I knew I had to do [more],” says Rachel. “So, I braved things. I got out the pram and I got up and I got out and I walked. And I just knew, I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this for her. And from there, it just builds.”
Four years later, Tabitha is still happy and healthy and her mom keeps improving. Rachel went from walking to running—sometimes doing a 16K in the morning for fun—and now weighs 137 pounds and better manages her blood sugar levels.
“You have to find your reason, your purpose, for why you want to do this,” says Rachel. “Tabitha was it for me.”
Learn more about Rachel’s journey, including how she used her Fitbit tracker to help motivate her to better manage her diabetes, at stories.fitbit.com/rachel.
Find Your Reason
What’s your purpose, your reason for getting healthy? What motivates you to eat right, exercise, and stay balanced? Fitbit wants to know. Share your story on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #MyReasonIs.
Every health and fitness journey is unique. The person featured here used Fitbit to help motivate them to make changes in their activity and diet that led to improvements in their wellness. The Fitbit wristbands featured here are motivational tools and are not intended to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.