Carla Girod: The journey to a healthier lifestyle
"The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step." This quote by Lao Tzu epitomises the journey of Carla Girod - from fat to fit. The JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation administrator shares that although she was slim in her earlier years, as she got older she struggled to maintain the lean figure of her twenties.
Her weight typically yo-yoed as she sought to lose weight for a particular event or to fit into a particular dress. After accomplishing her goal, Carla admits, "Once this was achieved, that was the end of it. I had won, therefore, there was no need to continue with whatever I had done to lose the weight." She adds, "I would regain what I had lost ... plus added interest." Her struggle with her weight worsened by 2013, with tragedy, she explained: "I lost my job, my parents died within a year of each other, and I was in constant pain from my rheumatoid arthritis. I gained a lot of weight and was on medication for high blood pressure. I was unhappy with the person in the mirror, and so I decided I had to change my life."
THE FIRST STEP
In photo: Carla Girod. -Contributed
The battle for the then overweight Carla was an uphill one as she took the first step on her journey towards a healthier life. She revealed, "I started walking because at the time that was all I could do without feeling like I was about to have a heart attack. I slowly built up to running and made a commitment to enter at least one 5K per month to keep me on track. By the end of the first year, I had completed thirteen 5Ks, one 6K, one 6-mile walkathon, one 12K hike, culminating with the Reggae Marathon 10K in December 2014."
In a bid to guarantee the success she achieved, she took several deliberate actions. "In order to hold myself accountable, I hired a personal trainer to keep me motivated on my journey. I also joined a gym when I realised that as I lost weight I needed to tone my body." She combined her exercise routine with a change in diet, having realised that, "One of the most valuable lessons on my journey to a healthier life is that what you eat (or don't eat) is far more important when losing weight, than exercise; [although] that does not mean you don't need to exercise." Carla, who declared that "chocolate is my vice", traded in her sweet tooth for healthier snacks like fruits and nuts and now exercise has become her solace for a hard day.
In sharing her secret to making healthier food choices, even while on the go, she notes, "Food preparation and planning is key." She elaborates, "I drink a lot of water; eat slowly so that I feel full quicker, reduce my portions and instead eat more frequently. In addition, I try to avoid fried foods, and even bought a small grill, so that helps me to easily prepare a healthy meal." Taking a strategic approach, she is also careful to select restaurants with healthy options or chooses the 'lite' option at fast-food joints.
Armed with a sense of determination to achieve her goal, Carla admits that even in the face of setbacks, she keeps going. "Along my journey, I have found a circle of support in the form of friends and family and others who share a similar passion for exercise, and encourage me to stay on track."
In photo:Carla Girod
THE JOURNEY CONTINUES
Now more than 60 pounds lighter, countless road races later and several hikes, Carla is quietly sharing her secret to success and helping others in her unassuming way to tread their own path. As evidence of this, Carla has shared her story with a few small groups on the invitation of friends, as a living testimony. She also started a fitness and lifestyle blog to chronicle her journey and share lessons learnt. Her blog, Miles to Go Before I Sleep (https://milestogo876.wordpress.com/blog/), which was initially for her own self-actualisation and shared among family and friends, has morphed into a part of JMMB Group's 10-week challenge advice column.
HEALTHY LIFESTYLE CHALLENGE
The company earlier this month introduced a 10-week healthy lifestyle challenge that saw more than 150 team members getting on board to lose inches and adopt a healthier lifestyle. As part of this challenge, 'Carla's Corner' provides weekly healthy tips and testimonies to serve as motivation and advice for team members. In addition to this, the team members benefit from weekly challenges, including Water Only Wednesdays (WOW), to encourage the habit of water drinking. Team members are also invited to participate in seminars, boot camp sessions and exercise sessions organised as part of the 10-week challenge as they pursue the ultimate prize of a "new, healthier self", in addition to exciting prizes and the grand cash prizes for the winning team and individual.
Although she is extremely proud of this accomplishment, Carla admits her biggest accomplishment to date is the healthy lifestyle that she has adopted, because of the long-term health benefits that she has reaped, including lowering her blood pressure dosage, though conceding, "I still have miles to go before I sleep."