Email INShape YouTube Twitter Facebook
CONNECT WITH US
Archived Individual Success Stories
INShape Success Stories: Individual

Courtney Sheppard

Courtney Sheppard
Courtney is a volunteer, or non-resident, for a program called Back on My Feet, which promotes the self-sufficiency of homeless populations by engaging them in running as a means to build confidence, strength and self-esteem.  She joined the program because it combines her passion for running with a passion for helping others down the path to recovery. Though Courtney is an avid runner, she was also a smoker. She started smoking nine years ago and since January 2010, has tried to quit four different times. Today, she has successfully quit smoking. Courtney found the motivation to quit through her passion for running. She was smoking half a pack to a full pack every day and would reward herself after long runs with a cigarette.  When she signed up to run her first 5K race, she realized smoking and running shouldn’t go together. Soon, her body started resisting cravings and she made the decision to pursue other outlets besides smoking to relieve stress and pass time. Courtney now maintains a tobacco free lifestyle by exercising. After several timed races and four marathons, Courtney says her main reason for not smoking is her desire to beat her PR (personal record).

The first three days of quitting were the toughest for Courtney. She would encourage anyone trying to quit smoking to keep busy and avoid situations or activities that contribute to cravings. She also recommends cutting back gradually the number of cigarettes smoked in a day or consider medication.

James Boyd

James Boyd
James is a resident runner with Back on My Feet, a program established to “promote the self-sufficiency of homeless populations by engaging them in running as a means to build confidence, strength and self-esteem.” James had been smoking for 12 years but decided to quit when he fell in love with running. He knew that in order to improve his time and distance, he could no longer smoke. After quitting, James made other healthy lifestyle changes like adding more fruits and vegetables to his diet and developing a regular physical activity routine of running and biking. It hasn’t always been easy, but when faced with obstacles, James keeps motivated with a 12-step program that helped him overcome substance abuse. He encourages anyone wanting to quit smoking to find an exercise they enjoy and keep busy. He says the first 14 days were the toughest, but he noticed immediate improvements to his health, quality of life and self-confidence.

Sam Kincaid

Sam Kincaid
In October of 2009, Sam knew something had to change with his health. He was 290 pounds, on several medications for hypertension, cholesterol control, and osteoarthritis and was eating poorly without exercising. His current lifestyle was also affecting his work and family life, so he made the decision to eat better and exercise regularly to reach a healthy weight.

Sam decided to join a local gym. The first workout he completed was one mile on the treadmill, which he struggled to finish in 24 minutes. He continued exercising and started to notice how diet, physical activity and weight loss work together - the pounds started coming off. In 3 months, Sam stopped all medications, had normal blood pressure and was 30 pounds lighter. By March 2010, he had lost almost 70 pounds and found a passion for competitive running. In May of that year, Sam ran his first competitive race.

Today, Sam has lost 115 pounds. He has completed 10 road races and runs a 5K (3.1 miles) in under 20 minutes. Sam uses his story to encourage his friends, family and co-workers to start living healthier lifestyles.

Allison Fore

Allison Fore
Allison's journey to a healthy weight was a rollercoaster of ups and downs. She struggled to understand that weight loss takes time and effort and could never maintain the weight she lost. Over the past two years, Allison has lost 82 pounds and finally lives a healthy lifestyle.

Here are some tips that helped Allison along the way:

  1. Tracking is vital. Allison recognized that as soon as she stopped tracking, her weight increased. 
  2. Exercise is key. Allison lost the most weight the weeks she engaged in physical activity for 30-45 minutes, four or five days a week. She now participates in 5K events and invites friends and family to join, which motivates her to keep going. 
  3. Rid your pantry and refrigerator of unhealthy foods. Allison identified her trigger foods and replaced them with healthier options, like fruits and veggies. 
  4. Find a support system. Allison surrounded herself with supportive, motivating people that encouraged her to keep achieving her goals. 
  5. Educate yourself. Allison referred to resources like INShape Indiana for meal ideas, nutrition and physical activity programming, tips and advice, and more.

Allison says, "It's taken me a long time to learn and embrace these basic guidelines, and every day offers a new opportunity to choose to be healthy."

Tracy Shutt

Tracy Shutt
Tracy has followed INShape Indiana from the beginning. Over a year ago, Tracy had gastric bypass surgery due to health issues. Since that time, she has lost 161.5 pounds. She used INShape’s exercise and nutrition tips to apply to her daily routine and has toned and strengthened up along the way. Tracy has also helped others, including family and friends, by sharing these tips. The INShape exercise tips were very beneficial during her weight loss, especially with toning, motivation and changing up her routine. Tracy is fortunate to have a home gym and exercises as often as possible. She cooks healthy foods for her and her husband and is looking forward to a healthy life ahead.

Tom Mix

Tom Mix
Tom read the INShape Indiana articles and put to use the ideas and tips related to activities and nutrition. He was diagnosed with diabetes over a year ago and knew he had to make some changes. The doctor recommended he improve his diet to help control the illness. They didn’t have to tell him twice! Tom’s family has a history of diabetes and he wanted to avoid any additional health risks.

Tom started his weight control regiment right away and used INShape's idea of keeping a food journal. He wrote down everything he was eating and noted any changes. He added weights and other resistance training to his activity schedule, and walked 5 to 10 miles each day. Tom played golf 4 times a week and always walked the course instead of renting a golf cart. So far, he’s lost 60 lbs, 9 inches off his waist, and has been taken off his high blood pressure medicine.

Shirley M. Lewis

Shirley M. Lewis
Shirley’s personal health initiative has been developing for years.  She began approximately 15 years ago with the realization that weighing over 200 lbs was not a "good thing."  Gaining approximately a pound a day for quite a few weeks showed Shirley that she was on a path of destruction.  She adhered to the following ten steps to start living a healthier lifestyle, and with INShape Indiana's encouragement, has made vast improvements to her health:
  1. Read INShape Indiana newsletters and every book possible to learn more about healthy living.
  2. Document concrete methods of attaining a healthy body and research family health history.
  3. Picture yourself, in the future, healthy and happy.
  4. Choose people around you that will help encourage your healthy lifestyle.        
  5. Research what foods will be best to eat regularly.
  6. Exercise within your parameters & ability to ensure a healthier body.
  7. Get a checkup from your doctor and acquire his blessing on your routines.
  8. Smile and congratulate yourself each day that you chose a healthy lifestyle.
  9. Vow to maintain a healthy lifestyle for "one year," and then into the future.  Be patient with your body in getting back to good health.
  10. Consult INShape Indiana's resources such as the programs, websites, and newsletters.

Getting healthy isn't easy, but maintaining your health is harder.  With the help of family, friends, research, and INShape Indiana, Shirley has kept the weight off for ten-plus years!

Bill Wisniewski

Bill Wisniewski
Since 1980, Bill Wisniewski has lived in Munster, IN and currently works for L&S Electric and Ohio Magnetics as a manufacturer’s reprehensive. At 56, Bill’s heightened concern about his health prompted a doctor’s visit for a routine check up. After his appointment, Bill felt defeated and overwhelmed by his total weight. Knowing that the road to weight loss was difficult, he desperately wanted to make a change.

He began walking with INShape Indiana’s Ready, Set, Walk! program, which provided helpful email tips and advice along the way. Bill’s progress halted briefly due to back and joint pain, but walking sticks helped him recover quickly. The walking sticks also allowed him to increase his daily exercise to 70 minutes a day.

He began walking with INShape Indiana’s Ready, Set, Walk! program, which provided helpful email tips and advice along the way. Bill’s progress halted briefly due to back and joint pain, but walking sticks helped him recover quickly. The walking sticks also allowed him to increase his daily exercise to 70 minutes a day.

Bill’s commitment to walking daily lost him 75 pounds. Along with exercise, Dr. Mary Tilak’s weight loss program taught him the importance of healthy eating. His back and joint pain has virtually disappeared, along with the walking sticks, and everyday tasks are much easier to accomplish. Bill can finally fit into a business suit and no longer shops at big and tall clothing stores. He attributes his success to his wife, daughters and friends who continually showed support and motivation.

Today, Bill continues exercising and keeps a watchful eye on what foods he consumes.

Congratulations, Bill! INShape Indiana applauds your efforts and we commend you on achieving your personal weight loss goals.

Francisco Lemus

Francisco Lemus
Francisco Lemus is a 32 year old Latino and 12-year smoker, averaging five-seven cigarettes per day. After deciding to quit in April 2007, Francisco enlisted the help of the smoking cessation services at Indiana Latino Institute, Inc. (ILI), where he learned the five keys for quitting smoking. The first step is getting ready, so Francisco made a list of reasons why he wanted to quit. His most important reason was “The desire to live a longer life.”

Lemus’s support network developed within ILI’s free Spanish language cessation classes. During the cessation classes, Francisco learned to change his regular routine. By identifying when, where, why and with whom he consumed tobacco products, Francisco was able to avoid "triggers" that could cause a relapse.

Francisco began using the patch, a form of nicotine replacement therapy, but relapsed during a personal, stressful period. Even though he knew relapsing was a high possibility, guilt weighed upon him heavily, which is common among relapsed individuals. The heavy sense of failure drew Mr. Lemus back to his recovery efforts with the ILI.

Contact the Indiana Latino Institute at 317-472-1055 for smoking cessation information.

Marilyn's Success Story

Marilyn's Success Story
Marilyn, a 53-year old African American, started smoking at age 17. In November 2006, after several failed attempts, she decided to quit smoking. She contacted Ms. Lisa Smith, a Smoking Cessation Specialist, at the Marion County Health Department (MCHD) and enrolled in the Smoking Cessation Module through the Martin Luther King Community Center’s Health Initiative Program.

Quitting the habit was not easy for Marilyn, but her support system of coworkers, family, and friends made the task seem more achievable. MCHD helped by providing regular counseling sessions and cessation aids, like nicotine gum and patches. Weight gain was a negative side-effect, but positively influenced Marilyn’s decision to change her total lifestyle. She enrolled in the INShape Indiana challenge and significantly furthered her walking distance.

As of May 2008, Marilyn is still smoke-free!

Martha Davis

Martha Davis
Martha Davis, a seven-year smoker, tried quitting two years ago. “I wanted to quit but I would tell myself, ‘It’s too hard, I am stressed and need one, I’ll quit after this pack.’ It was so easy to say and never actually try,” said Martha.

Smoking began affecting Martha’s appearance and the people around her, who walked by holding their breath. “I started getting embarrassed if people saw me smoking”, adds Martha.

On September 25th, 2006, Martha successfully quit smoking. “I decided to do it and I did!” states Martha. “I have now been smoke-free for almost a year.”

To document her progress, Martha marks off each smoke-free day on a calendar. “Finding something or someway to make you feel good about your decision to quit is a good way to stay committed to your goal. Each day I write that number on that calendar I feel so proud of my willpower and strength,” Martha exclaims, “I have done it! Now that I am smoke free, I feel healthy, strong and proud!

Carolyn Maddox

Carolyn Maddox
After Carolyn Maddox gave birth to her first child, she found losing the extra weight easy. However, after her second child, Carolyn found it much more difficult to lose the added pounds, despite her active lifestyle.

Carolyn became so involved in her children’s activities that she did not realized she had gained almost 30 pounds. Unhappy with her weight gain, Carolyn decided to make a change and joined the Fitness Experts in Avon, Indiana.

In February, Fitness Experts held a “Biggest Winner” contest, with the winner receiving a free mountain bike. With her eye on the prize, Carolyn started an exercise program and eliminated sweets and fatty foods from her diet. She also kept a food journal that helped her understand the importance of selecting beneficial foods.

Through her hard work and the encouragement from the Fitness Experts staff, Carolyn won the “Biggest Winner” challenge and the new mountain bike. She still follows her fitness program and feels much better about herself and her 22 pound weight loss. She looks forward to achieving her future fitness goals.

Danny James

Danny James
Like most 13-year old boys, Danny James loves playing Baseball. For eight years, Danny played for the Middlebury Little League program, earning him valuable player status and the nickname, “Powerhouse.” Nothing made the husky, blond-haired boy more proud than hearing the call, “Hit it out of the park, Powerhouse!” as he approached the plate.

Last season, however, Danny’s playing time, self-esteem and confidence diminished significantly. In fact, Danny “Powerhouse” James spent most the season sitting the bench. The reason was painfully obvious; Danny was too heavy and too slow to play. Danny knew he was gradually gaining weight, but never imagined it would interfere with his most beloved game.

The Middlebury Community Schools started a walking club after realizing most students, including Danny, remained seated after the lunch period, rather than playing basketball or four-square.

The Coordinated School Health Program (CSHP) Committee saw a need to offer additional opportunities for students to be active. Along with implementing a walking program, the CSHP took time to educate the seventh grade class on Indiana’s obesity problem. They explained the harsh reality of corporations abandoning Indiana due to the increasing cost of health care. They talked about Governor Daniels’ INShape Indiana program, his commitment to improving the health of our state, and how he leads by example in his own lifestyle. Students soon felt responsible for the program’s success and took ownership.

Nearly one third of the seventh grade class lined up on the walking program’s first day. Danny was first in line. He recognized the opportunity to increase his chances of playing next season and envisioned regaining his “Powerhouse” title.

The first few days Danny walked 600-700 steps quietly and slowly by himself. Then, Miss Lisa, one of the staff members, started walking with him to help increase his speed and steps. By the end of the second week, he was up to 1800-2000 steps a day. Danny’s discontent with his weight and frustration with sitting the bench motivated him to walk more.

Today, Danny’s goal is to walk at least 3000 steps during his lunch break. With not much time during the lunch period, 3000 steps are nearly impossible to walk, so Danny runs. Miss Lisa can no longer keep up with him. Many students that walk with him can sense a big change in his confidence level. They hear him talk about when he plays ball again, rather than if he plays ball again.

Kate Stewart

Kate Stewart
Within a 15 month span, Kate Stewart lost her mother to Lou Gehrig’s disease and her sister to cancer. Her son was born three months premature and her marriage fell apart. To top off the heartache, she started gaining weight. One day, Kate just snapped and decided to take control of her life.

The Brownsburg, Indiana resident started working on herself from the inside out. She treated herself with bubble baths, manicures, and self-help books. The more she read the more empowered she became. Weighing close to 200 pounds, one of the areas of life that Kate decided to improve was her health. She learned the importance of nutrition in weight loss and reduced her intake of fatty foods and cut out sugar.

Inspired by her improved quality of life, Kate took the next step and bought a treadmill. She started walking, then jogging, and eventually built up enough stamina to run in the Indianapolis Mini Marathon…twice. Eating properly and exercising gave Kate a new identity and her accomplishments only fueled her desire to improve. When she incorporated weightlifting into her exercise regimen, her body took on a whole new form. While attending a bodybuilding contest, she made the choice to take her new lifestyle to a higher level, by competing in the premier amateur bodybuilding circuit.

Kate lost 70 pounds. Her success was the result of believing in herself, eating healthy, and adhering to daily exercise. She was featured as the “Transformation of the Week” on Bodybuilding.com and finished top four in two fitness/figure competitions.

Kate stays motivated by helping others. She wants her son to grow-up practicing healthy exercise and eating habits. She is further inspired by spreading the story of how she changed her life through healthier living. Helping others has brought Kate so much satisfaction that she is writing exercise and nutrition programs.

Detective Dan Kepler

Detective Dan Kepler
In early 2005, Detective Dan Kepler discovered his current lifestyle did not help him serve and protect for the Arson Unit in the Organized Crime Branch of the Investigations Division of the Indianapolis Police Department.

Standing at six feet one inch, Detective Kepler tipped the scales at almost 300 pounds. This former collegiate baseball player had become someone with a poor quality of life and a frightening cardiac report from his physician.

Kepler’s doctor ordered a treadmill stress test. Detective Kepler failed. A regimen of prescription drugs and another stress test followed, which he again failed. At 36 years old, Detective Kepler faced a frightening prognosis. As a single father of a beautiful eight year-old daughter, he knew he had to make a life-altering decision.

The challenge to regain his collegiate fitness level seemed daunting. However determined, Detective Kepler sought help from his physician, dieticians, exercise specialists, and a counselor. His personal goal was to complete a triathlon in a year.

Over the last 10 months, Detective Kepler has lost a total of 80 pounds. He has competed in not one, but four sprint triathlons. Recently, he completed the Mideast USAT Championship triathlon, an Olympic distance race with a 1.5k swim, 40k bike, and a 10k run.

Detective Kepler’s next goal is the May 2007 World Police and Fire Games, held in Australia. He will compete for a medal as a representative of the city of Indianapolis, but more importantly, the United States. Held every two years, the World Police and Fire Games offer approximately sixty sports for approximately 10,000 athletes.

Best of luck, Detective Kepler! You are quite an inspiration.

"The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.” – Walter Bagehot.

Anita Harker

Anita Harker
Anita Harker learned about INShape Indiana through a commercial on television. She was inspired by INShape’s message and decided to make a lifestyle change. It has been about a year since Anita took up the Governor’s challenge and she is happy with the results.

As a nurse, Anita knew the health risks associated with her weight gain and decided to look into her hospital's wellness program. She scheduled a consultation with a dietician and set up an eating plan based on her personal metabolism. She also saw an exercise physiologist and received some fitness pointers. What Anita found most helpful was her activity calendar and food journal.

Anita now walks on the treadmill five-six times per week for at least one hour. She incorporates 15 minutes of strength training into her fitness routines, also. She has increased her fruit and vegetable consumption and makes sure to eat 3 fruit and 5 vegetable servings per day.

Anita is incredibly pleased with her new lifestyle and said, “I thought it would be a struggle, but I have never felt better in my life. I have lost 50 pounds and would still like to lose 10 more. I still struggle with late evening munchies, but a lot of that has to do with being tired after working.”

“Reading the pointers from INShape Indiana has also kept my motivation high,” said Anita. “I weigh in with my dietician every 1-2 weeks. Needless to say, I have had many compliments. There have been a few times when I missed my exercise, and boy did I feel lousy.”

“I really feel anyone can improve their lifestyle if they want to,” said Anita. “It can be hard but the benefits are great. It takes time and planning, but if you don't take care of yourself, no one else will. You need to eat well, exercise, and rest to be the most productive. Keep up the good job at INShape and keeping forwarding the good advice.”

Jim Campbell

Jim Campbell
In an earlier note, you might recall the efforts of an Indianapolis (Pike Township) firefighter taking a shot at the world’s record for stair climbing. The existing record – 66,204 steps in 24 hours, or about 9 vertical miles – was set by a Seattle area firefighter in March of this year.

Lt. Jim Campbell, not wishing to grow "old and fat" on the job, took aim at that record as an effort to raise money for several local charities of great personal significance. Among these charities is the Maude Foundation, which awards scholarships to U.S. soldiers. It is named for Lt. General Tim Maude, an Indianapolis native who was killed in the attacks on 9-11. Another is the Jason Baker Scholarship. Jason Baker was a Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy killed in the line of duty on September 17, 2001.

On August 17, Lt. Campbell finished 24 hours of stair climbing and completely shattered the previous record! The new record now stands at 106,000 stairs – 13.4 vertical miles – or the equivalent of a half-marathon, straight up. While satisfied with the physical effort, Lt. Campbell reports being somewhat disappointed with the local response to the charity effort. To date, the bulk of the money raised has come from individuals and companies far removed from the Hoosier state, with little or no connection to Indiana. For example, the Vancouver-based company, Nautilus, donated a Step Mill PT 7000 machine for the December 1 raffle – a contribution worth nearly $4,000. The same machine helped Campbell beat the world record. Information on purchasing a ticket can be found at, www.StepUpForCharity.org

The largest portion of the donations has come from chili pepper fanatics- "Chiliheads"- from around the world. On his days off from fighting fires, Lt. Campbell has made quite a reputation as a renowned chili pepper grower and hot sauce maker. "Charity efforts remain ongoing and I'm surprised that they've required more effort than the actual climbing" states Lt. Campbell. Further he says, "I'd encourage folks to 'step up' and take their physical well-being a bit more serious. A good start on that is doing good for someone else, which improves your mental health as well".

Herff Jones

Herff Jones
Herff Jones, like many companies and counties in Indiana, went smoke-free in May 2006. To help employees succeed, Herff Jones offered employees ready to quit smoking the opportunity to participate in free stop smoking classes during the lunch hour, along with free stop smoking aids.

Herff Jones contracted with Community Hospital's Health Promotions Department to provide the American Lung Association's "Freedom from Smoking Program" to employees. 33 individuals completed the classes, and after six months, 16 individuals remain smoke free.

One of our success stories is Philip Keibler. Philip is an employee who has smoked for more than 15 years. Now, he has gone more than six months without having a cigarette, and could not be happier with the results.

According to Philip, he can now enjoy the freedom of being a non-smoker. Foods taste better and his sense of smell has heightened immensely. In addition, Philip has embarked on a new physical fitness routine at Cardinal Fitness. Working out each day before work has helped Philip lose 10 pounds.

Philip says, "Looking back on the past 15 years, it all seems like such a blur. I remember starting to smoke and thinking that I would quit before long. I grew up hearing people say things like ‘I was a smoker for 15 years’ and I always thought ‘Wow that's a long time’."

"Now here I am, 33 years old and I was the one saying ‘I've been a smoker for 15 years.’ That's the problem with smoking; it becomes a part of your life and so much a part that you forget you are ‘enjoying a cigarette every now and then’. Before long you're looking back on a life that was in many ways, is being controlled by tobacco".

"I like to give the example of how tobacco controls you. I would have to think about cigarettes before going into a meeting, before going into a movie, after dinner, in the car, and before work. I realized that, without me being aware of it, cigarettes had taken over every aspect of my life. I couldn't do anything anymore without thinking, when would I be able to have my next cigarette?"

"That was when I knew that I had been duped by the tobacco companies. I wasn't really enjoying smoking; I was smoking so I wouldn't feel edgy, irritable, anxious, and angry. What happened to "enjoying an occasional smoke?" Even though I thought I was smoking because I liked it, that's the con, I was smoking just to feel normal for a few minutes. I fell right into the tobacco trap."

"Six months later and my whole life has improved in so many ways. I have extra money that was being spent on cigarettes. I do 45 minutes of high intensity cardio exercise every day and feel great doing it. My blood pressure is normal, my cholesterol is great, and I've never felt better about my health. If I could do it all again, I would have never touched that first cigarette."

"If Herff Jones had not offered me the cessation class, I would be a smoker today. Coughing, wheezing, stinking, but most importantly, addicted."

Billy Polston

Billy Polston
Billy Polston decided to make some life changes in the spring of 2005. In doing so, Billy and his wife maintained a daily food journal, including what they ate and how many calories they consumed.

Billy also started a walking routine near the roads around his home. He wanted to see just how far his “old legs” and his endurance would take him. He said, “I’d back off a little but try to push on a little further the next day. As the miles that I could walk started to grow, my belt started to loosen up and the pounds faded away.”

Each week, Billy had a new goal to conquer, starting with a morning weigh-in. “I started to walk with others and I could not stop talking about how good I was feeling since I started my walking routine. I knew that I was getting into shape when I could walk and talk and not run out of breath, and I love to talk!”

Billy entered the Elkhart Great Race, the Sunburst Run and The Hospice Walk throughout the summer and fall. “I had a ball!” says Billy of the events.

This year has turned out to be the, “best year of my life,” Billy says. He now enjoys having more energy and a new quality of life. This is all because of the changes Billy has made to his lifestyle.

“I may not have turned back the hands of the clock but know the years that I have left will be worth more. I will have more quality time to spend with my wife and family and grandchildren.”

At 75, Billy Polston made a healthy life change and knows that many Hoosiers can share the same benefits. He hopes to serve as a role model to inspire those who wish to make these changes in their lives.

Cicely Ward

Cicely Ward
Born in England and raised in India, Cicely lived through World War II and served in the Women's Royal English Navy Service. She and her family lived in Australia and many places throughout the United States, before settling down in Lafayette, Indiana. There, she is active in Purdue Extension classes for senior citizens, the Women Veteran's Organization, and her church's prison ministry. Cicely is also a seven-time champion of the Senior Games in table tennis, and a member of her local actors' guild.

Despite all her amazing experiences, there was one thing Cicely still yearned to do; hike part of the Appalachian Trail. Her desire was forwarded by friends to the non-profit organization, Never Too Late, that grants wishes to individuals 65 years and older. When Cicely found out her wish would be granted, she began preparing herself for the challenge by walking the halls and opting to take the stairs at the Friendship House, a home for active senior citizens.

In May 2006, Cicely completed a three-day hike on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. With her guide, Marcia Roland, Cicely hiked over 10 miles. She fell three times, but always got back up. At the end of the third day, Cicely received a certificate commemorating her success, and bestowing upon her the trail name, Wise Owl, Matriarch of the Gray Panthers.

Jane Stewart

Jane Stewart
After undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments for breast cancer, Jane Stewart received even more bad news; her liver was in poor shape and she would soon become diabetic. Faced with such health challenges, Jane decided to improve her health and lose 80 pounds.

Inspired by INShape Indiana and the story of Lance Armstrong, Jane set a goal to swim the length of Patoka Lake, which is 17 miles. She even adapted Armstrong's LiveStrong slogan for her own struggle, SPIRIT LIVE STRONG. She quickly met her goal, and soon reached a new goal of 100 miles.

Since the summer of 2005, Jane has lost 38 pounds. Her liver function has recovered, and diabetes is no longer an imminent threat.

Jane's success also inspired her husband, Art, to live healthier. He has lost 40 pounds. Together, they have replaced their favorite pastime of watching TV with many different activities, including fishing, scuba diving, gardening (most of the vegetables they eat are from their garden), sewing, and quilting. They are amazed at their new level of energy.

According to Jane, one of the greatest benefits of her healthier lifestyle is the strengthening of her mind. Before she changed her diet and activity habits, she was beginning to have speech problems.

"I could hardly speak a sentence without stammering and forgetting what I was going to say," says Jane. "It really frightened me." Jane no longer has such problems.

Jane does not plan on losing momentum either. She set a goal to lose 50 more pounds by her 64th birthday in March of next year.

Keri-Ann Baldridge

Keri-Ann Baldridge
During her high school and college years, Keri-Ann Baldridge was a typical "yo-yo" dieter. In the span of nine years, her weight fluctuated from 220 lbs, to 150 lbs, back up to 220 lbs, down to 170 lbs, and back up to 210 lbs.

Keri-Ann's exercise routine was sparse during college. Her physical activity was limited to participating on the Ultimate Frisbee team and her diet was determined by a small budget, which often included junk food.

After her college graduation, Keri-Ann decided to get serious about her health. She joined an Indiana-based Weight Watchers group and changed her lifestyle. Junk food at the cheapest price was no longer an option. Instead, Keri-Ann developed a budget and made weekly grocery lists, which consisted of all types of vegetables, fruits, beans, and lean meats. She also started packing healthy lunches for work, and planning out her meals in advance to ensure a healthy diet.

In addition to modifying her eating habits, Keri-Ann joined a gym and started exercising three to five times per week. She realized if she wanted to be healthier, she needed to make physical fitness a top priority. Keri-Ann also joined a Tae Kwon Do class to add variety to her fitness routine.

"Joining Weight Watchers and changing my lifestyle was the absolute best thing I could do for myself," says Keri-Ann. "Relearning how to live a healthy lifestyle was the best decision I've ever made. I have gone from a size 20 at 220 lbs to a size 12 at 170 lbs and have maintained the loss for two years."

Jim Campbell

Jim Campbell
66,000 stairs
Equals 35 times up the Empire State Building
Nearly 9 vertical miles
All in 24 hours!

On August 16th 2006, Jim Campbell, an Indianapolis (Pike Township) firefighter/hot sauce maker/chili pepper farmer, will attempt to break the world's record by exceeding the totals above, all to raise money for several charities that are especially close to him.

In his "younger" days, Jim was an active athlete, running in marathons and ultra marathons, as well as "Bop to the Top," an annual stair climb race up the 37 story AUL building in Indianapolis. It had been about ten years since Jim competed in this type of event, so he decided it was time to get back in shape. Jim said, "I thought I'd give it another shot rather than grow old and fat on the job. It was my motivation to try and get back in some semblance of competitive shape, though at 48 years of age, I knew I wouldn't be very competitive. The department had a Stair Master PT 7000 (a step treadmill) out in the garage so I started to hit it pretty regularly… as part of a workout routine."

After a disappointing performance in "Bop to the Top" in February 2006, Jim was even more motivated to get in shape. He was also inspired by the story of a Seattle area firefighter who set a record for stair climbing. He climbed 66,000 stairs in a 24 hour period, which was accepted by Guinness as a world record. The fact that this feat was done as a fund raiser for Leukemia research convinced Jim this was something worth attempting. By combining healthy eating habits with intensive training, he has made tremendous progress. He is confident that he can break the world record for stair climbing, while raising money for several charitable organizations, such as the Stehlin Foundation for Cancer Research, the American Cancer Society's Winn-Dixie Hope Lodge, the Jason Baker Public Safety Endowment Scholarship Fund, the Jim Cleek Scholarship Fund, and the Maude Foundation.

You can keep track of Jim's progress and encourage him in his efforts on his website, http://www.stepupforcharity.org/.

Camille Miller

Camille Miller
Camille Miller was not always overweight, but when she reached high school, her body composition changed. Like most teens, she began to eat more and exercise less.

After reaching 305 pounds at the age of 36, Camille decided to do something about her weight. Camille visited a health retreat and learned the benefits of healthy eating. She started to avoid processed foods and animal products, both of which are known to cause excess weight gain. She was very passionate about getting healthy, not just for her, but also to provide motivation to thousands of other overweight Americans wanting to lose weight without the use of surgery, pills or diet shakes.

Camille has set many personal goals for her weight loss management. For example, Camille's initial objective was to lose 100lbs. To date, she has already dropped 72 pounds and might lose another 40-60 pounds, depending on her athletic performance. She plans to run the 26.3 mile New York City Marathon in November 2006. To prepare herself for this journey, Camille participates in a marathon prep program, weight training and does cardiovascular work. Camille's training and healthy eating efforts will definitely prepare her for the upcoming race in New York. Camille's motto is, "Ordinary people can achieve extraordinary results!"

In addition to her personal weight loss efforts, Camille started the Young American Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose main objective is to raise awareness about adolescent and childhood obesity. The foundation strives to help children who are overweight and/or unhealthy.

Camille and others that are in the process of changing their lives in a healthy way know all too well that it is hard work. Everyday may not be easy, but Camille keeps going. She is an inspiration to all ages.

John Grubbs

John Grubbs
When John was just eight years old, he survived being hit by a car. The childhood accident left him with a traumatic brain injury, occupational problems, and walking troubles. As a result, he suffered many falls, and has numerous scars to prove it. In addition to physical limitations, John also had a poor diet. He used to drink two 2-liters of regular soda per day and ate whatever he wanted, while spending most of his time watching television from his favorite recliner.

At age 32, John decided it was time for a change. He wanted to build up his endurance and strength. He joined the YMCA, and has been exercising regularly for the last six months. John exercises at the YMCA three to four times a week. He rides a stationary bike for at least 30-40 minutes and supplements his biking routine with regular strength training. As a result of his hard work, John has lost 18 pounds and can now walk twice the distance without becoming short of breath.

Today, John is more flexible and feels more energetic. In addition to the exercise, John has modified his diet. He eats more fruits and vegetables, and hydrates with water and sports drinks. John has also switched to de-caffeinated soda while reducing his soda intake to just two 2-liters a week. The change in John's diet is a major improvement.

John knows his exercise and nutrition regime is a life-long commitment. He is dedicated to achieving his goal of never being wheelchair-dependent. Now, John realizes that he has a life outside of his apartment, away from his television and favorite recliner. John has a reputation that he is proud of, and he knows how truly blessed he is.

Susan Banker

Susan Banker
For Susan Banker, a leisurely walk with her daughter and daughter-in-law confirmed what her doctor had been telling her for years; she was out of shape.

"I knew someday I would have grandchildren and I want to be able to enjoy something as simple as a walk with my family," said Susan Banker.

In 2005, Susan decided she had to make a change. "I was 49, overweight, and every time I went to the doctor, he added another prescription and suggested I lose weight," said Banker. "I hated having my picture taken, hated shopping, and I couldn't walk very far."

Hope for Susan came through an employer-sponsored wellness program in conjunction with Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) and Optifast in Marion. For Susan, the program worked.

"I started this program at the end of April 2005 and finished it in December 2005. I lost 52 pounds and got off all my prescriptions," said Banker.

Optifast requires exercise as part of its weight-loss regimen. As a result, Susan began an extensive physical fitness routine, which includes water aerobics on Mondays and Wednesdays, circuit weight training on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and biking on Saturdays.

Susan had previously participated in the physical aspect of IWU's wellness program, but dropped out years ago. After being involved with Optifast, she started participating in the IWU wellness program, again.

"I feel better, have more energy, and I am determined to keep my weight down," said Banker. "I record daily what I eat and try to stick with a balanced diet. I feel better then I have in years!"

Larry Andress

Larry Andress
Larry Andress, an employee of the Indiana State Police from Madison, smoked for over 35 years when his youngest daughter announced her intention to quit. He told her he was proud of her and continued smoking – thinking someday he would quit, too. Soon, Larry’s wife made the choice to quit smoking. Larry again thought, “I’ll quit someday, just not right now.”

However, his wife and daughter got him to thinking. At a doctor’s appointment, Larry reminded his physician, “You told me if I ever wanted to quit you could help me.” Deciding Larry was finally ready to stop smoking; his doctor prescribed him Wellbutrin (a medication helpful in reducing the withdrawal effects of smoking cessation) and told him to start using a nicotine patch.

Whenever Larry had tried to quit before he would find himself smoking within a month. With the doctor-prescribed medication and patch, Larry exclaims, “It was easier to quit smoking than to go on a diet.” When a craving would strike, Larry’s solution was simple. “Each time I would want a cigarette I would ask God to make this craving pass and within a few minutes I was thinking about something else.”

After weeks of not smoking, Larry and his wife thought about purchasing a new bass boat with the money saved from not buying cigarettes. This motivated Larry and five weeks after quitting, he stopped taking the medicine and using the patch; continuing his smoke-free life.

Today Larry, his wife and daughter have not smoked in over 3 years. He proclaims, “I wish I would have quit 35 years earlier, but I am 56 years old now and I feel like I did when I was in my 30’s. With God’s help I have kicked it. By the way, my bass boat is paid for...”

Michelle Glunt

Michelle Glunt
Indiana State Department of Health employee Michelle Glunt has a goal of losing 25 pounds by the end of the year. Michelle made a lifestyle change two years ago, but lost her motivation just before INShape Indiana launched. The governor's challenge, however, has given Michelle that extra boost to refocus her energy toward losing the weight. Michelle's weight-loss plan includes exercise and healthy snacks and meals. In fact, Michelle drives out of her way, clear across town, to get to the gym five times a week.

Jeff Peterson

Jeff Peterson has been overweight since he was eight years old. At the age of 52, Jeff weighed 337 pounds and often experienced back and knee pain due to his excess weight.

Jeff's turning point came when he watched an interview on television about a slim man who had once been morbidly obese. "I was shocked that someone who weighed 467 pounds could ever be of normal weight," said Jeff. "I always assumed that the body had a 'normal' weight due to genetics and/or a natural 'set point'."

Motivated by the idea that he was not destined to be overweight, Jeff decided to lose weight through simple diet and exercise. He began his exercise plan slowly. It started by riding his stationary bike 15 minutes a day. He gradually worked up to 30 minutes or more twice a day.

Simultaneously, while he continued to eat the same types of foods he had always eaten and loved, he began to control his portion sizes. "I now look at food as a means of survival not [just] pleasure," said Jeff. "For instance, I [used to] wolf down a pack of M&M's barely tasting them. Now, if I choose to eat some M&M's, I take each individually and savor the flavor. My sweet tooth is then satisfied. It's not that I am 'dieting,' I'm not really, I just listen to my body and give it what it needs."

Jeff also joined an online group for people who were dedicated to losing weight. On a weekly basis, he would post a picture and an update about his weight loss efforts. Others in the group would write back encouraging messages and tips that had worked for them.

Knowing that others were keeping track of his progress provided support and accountability -- helping Jeff keep his eyes on the goal. "Accountability has been one of the keys that have kept me motivated. When I started I seriously considered just dieting in private. I would succeed or fail in the privacy of my own life. I believe if I had not been accountable to my readers I would have fallen off the wagon long ago."

Steadily losing two-to-three pounds a week, Jeff reached his goal weight of 220 pounds in eight months -- a weight he continues to diligently maintain.

Now Jeff is reaching out to his community. He proposed the idea of a "weight loss ministry" to his pastor and is currently leading a group that teaches others about the benefits of health and fitness and how to reach goals.

"When you reach your goal you will feel a sense of wonder, new self-respect and new respect from others," said Jeff. "It is well worth any effort you put into it, and the harder you work the quicker you will arrive at a place that God wants you and you can then start to do his work as well. He has a hard time getting out of shape warriors to do his work."

Dorothy Ilgen

For years, Dorothy Ilgen's doctor encouraged her to lose the weight that continued increasing. When pain developed in her hip, her doctor prescribed, "Diet. Exercise." Dorothy responded saying, "This time I listened."

Dorothy has a busy schedule of traveling, meetings and working part-time on an advanced degree. She felt she needed a structured program, so she began a medically-supervised fasting program, called Optifast.

For the first 12 weeks, Dorothy consumed Optifast shakes almost exclusively. She then entered a six week transitional phase that gradually brought food back into her diet. For the last two months, Dorothy has been on the maintenance phase, where her diet consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.

Dorothy has had some trouble fitting an exercise program into an already hectic schedule. However, she manages to find ways to ‘sneak’ exercise into her daily life. She parks further away from the door at work, takes the stairs instead of the elevator, and takes walks during her lunch break. She plans to work the exercise program developed for her at the National Institute for Fitness and Sport to improve her fitness level.

To date, Dorothy has lost over 40 pounds. While she is still about 20 pounds from her goal weight, she is confident that she will get there.

She attributes her success to two strategies. The first is recording weight loss milestones (such as a loss of 10 pounds) on her calendar as a deadline, based on a weight loss of two pounds a week. "I think it is important to set small and attainable goals. So far I've reached all of them!"

Secondly, as she lost weight, she gave her clothes to Goodwill. "After all," she said, "I don't want to give myself permission to regain the weight."

The Indiana Arts Commission, where Dorothy is executive director, has contributed to her efforts by embracing INShape Indiana. Jennifer Johnson-Wade, the IAC's INShape Coordinator, works with all the staff to develop creative ways to promote healthy diet and exercise.

As a staff, they have held a healthy snack contest and a walk-a-thon to raise money for an animal rescue charity as part of the SECC. Dorothy is grateful for the support and encouragement of her co-workers. "Several colleagues have told me, 'I'm proud of you' and, you know, I'm kind of proud of myself, too."

Bill Frost

Bill Frost
At age 61, Bill Frost, a resident of Evansville, knew he was overweight and needed to take control of his lifestyle, especially after being diagnosed with high blood pressure.

". . . I was overweight and had very high blood pressure," he explained. "Any one of those can be a danger but with having all three [high weight, blood pressure and his age] I knew I was in trouble. My wife and doctor kept telling me I needed to lose weight and get my blood pressure down."

After realizing he needed a change, he saw an announcement for a marathon the local YMCA organized and decided to attend the informational meeting, not knowing whether it was for established runners.

"I went to the meeting and found a totally different story," Frost said. "This was for anyone who wanted to be committed to a 13-week program to train to run the marathon."

However, being a part of the program had its bumps, as he soon found out in the beginning stages of the training.

"So I started the training and at first it was very hard because I had not done this since my Marine Corps days," he said. "The first thing that was a problem was aches and pains all over my body."

But he did not let that stop him, after consulting the cross county coach at University of Southern Indiana, he was given two options, quit or work through the pain.

"I worked very hard to see this program to the finish," Frost said.

Before entering the training program, Frost was given a physical exam. His 5-foot-9 frame carried 241 pounds and his blood pressure was 201 over 108. After finishing 12-weeks of the training program, his weight dropped to 201 pounds and his blood pressure decreased 130 over 79; much closer to normal.

Frost finished the October marathon in 3 hours and 17 minutes and continues to train to get his weight down to his goal of 180 pounds.

". . . INShape Indiana I think is a great program and I hope that there are other people out there that can do what I decided to do 12 weeks ago," he said. "It can be done with hard work and support from friends and the YMCA."

Matthew Williams

Matthew Williams
It was a camping trip in August 2004 that motivated Matthew Williams to quit smoking and live a healthier lifestyle. His children asked him why he always gasped for air on family hikes. The children’s concern prompted a doctor’s visit to learn about smoking cessation options. Matthew learned he was pre-hypertensive.

Matthew quit smoking in September 2004, and is still going strong. He started walking about three miles at lunch every day. In early 2005, he ran three miles a day at lunch. Now, he bikes, plays softball, or hikes at least 5 to 6 times a week. He plans to participate in his first Triathlon this summer.

Matt after modifying his lifestyle."I knew I needed to make these healthy changes to avoid a heart attack and to ensure that I will be around to grow old with my children," Matthew said. "Once I got started, I also liked the changes I was seeing in my body."

Matthew also adopted a healthier diet, having oatmeal, a banana and two glasses of orange juice for breakfast almost every day. He also replaced fast food with fresh fruit salad and yogurt for lunch. For dinner, he has reduced his portion sizes and included fresh steamed vegetables.

As a result of these healthy behaviors, Matthew lost three inches from his waist and lowered his blood pressure and cholesterol to healthier levels.

"I have more energy and endurance," Matthew said. "I do not get sick as much, and when I do, it seems to go away quicker than when I was a smoker."

"I feel MUCH better about myself and my physical appearance," Matthew added.

Matthew says that his employer, Golden Rule, has been a great source of support. Golden Rule built a walking/running track around the lake behind the office, added a "healthy" vending machine with more healthy snack options, started a Fitness Committee to help motivate employees by providing incentives (rewards, prizes, contests, etc.), and currently subsidizes Yoga & Pilates classes at the office during lunch and after work. Matthew says Golden Rule also has a weekly and monthly newsletter with new and interesting ideas regarding fitness and nutrition, which is very helpful.

"Staying motivated has been the biggest challenge," said Matthew. "I do not have a partner or group that I work out with on a consistent basis, so all of the motivation comes from within."

To help stay motivated, Matthew says he tries to mix up his workouts to prevent burn out.

Matthew says that INShape Indiana is a great resource. He had used the Internet to help him in his fitness efforts.

"One of the most aggravating things I found on the Web was there was no "one" place to find out about things going on in Indiana," Matthew said. "I had to go to the running Web site for running news, the mountain biking Web site for mountain biking news, etc. It is great to find information or links at one place that open up new ideas for a healthy lifestyle."

"I have SO much more energy and I look and feel better," Matthew said. "I am more positive in my daily life and much happier."

"Most importantly, I am setting a positive example for my wife, kids, and co-workers," Matthew said, "And, my house and cars are cleaner due to the lack of smoke."

Heather Ward

Heather Ward
Heather Ward changed her life through diet, exercise, and much will power. Below, in her own words, Heather describes her transformation to the healthy Hoosier that she is today.

I was about to turn 32 years old and was unhealthy. At that time, I didn't realize that I was also unhappy. I loved my family but I was neglecting myself. I went to the doctor for a routine check up in 2003 and after being hooked up to the ECG machine, left with a prescription in hand for blood pressure medicine. My blood pressure was 145/100. I thought "How ridiculous. I am too young". I called my mom and she said we both needed to do something and do it soon. My birthday present from my mother was a new life. She paid for my membership to Weight Watchers along with a discount provided by my state health insurance plan.

Heather after modifying her lifestyle.I felt silly going to the first meeting. I was thinking, "How can sitting in a room with other folks talking about food and eating going to help me lose weight?" It took some time to realize it but I know that I needed to watch my portions, cut out the butter and regular sodas. I also introduced exercise back into my life just like when I was younger. I started exercising five days a week and I actually enjoyed it. By December of 2003, I had lost 62 pounds and was off the blood pressure medicine. I attend weekly meetings for a refresher course on basic healthy living, nutritional and cooking skills that are similar to what we all had when we were kids.

As we grow older we get so consumed by work, family, and social demands we forget those important basic skills that we need to meet those demands. As a full time working mother with four children, I need to take that half hour every Saturday morning, once a week, not only for myself but also for my family. My husband also joined with me and he's lost 50 lbs. so far. The classes help us maintain the skills to stay healthy and make our family unit run efficiently. My mother and I both admit that when we first started we would have been happy just to lose 20 pounds, maybe even 30 pounds. My mom and I feel silly now wondering why we didn't do this before. We laugh now because our expectations for our lives and ourselves were so low before. I still walk, jog, jump rope, perform yoga, and perform Pilates at least five times a week no matter what time of the day or night. I do whatever I can to fit it in and not interrupt my family's schedule. I walk 7 flights of steps at my work at least twice everyday, too. When I started, I was happy when I earned a gold star for my weight loss. Now I have more energy and confidence and enjoy encouraging my family, friends, and co-workers in meeting and maintaining their own healthy lifestyles.

Margie Chavez

Margie Chavez
Margie Chavez decided it was time to make a change. Margie’s new position with the Family and Social Service Administration and her research on minority health disparities uncovered startling facts about the causes of diabetes. The disease also disproportionately affects the Latino population, with which she belongs. This prompted her to make a complete lifestyle change. To date, Margie has lost 40 pounds through wise meal choices, exercise, and avoiding harmful substances.

Margie after modifying her lifestyle.There is no miracle behind Margie's diet: it is simply a doctor recommended 1,200 calorie intake diet. Margie now eats oatmeal for breakfast and a grilled chicken salad with fat free ingredients for lunch. She eats fish three times a week, enjoys lots of fruits and vegetables, and drinks 64 ounces of water per day. Soon, the weight began to come off.

Margie breaks down her health quest to the two most difficult days; the first day and today. While her dedication has not wavered, she admits no day is easy. She believes that the support she receives from her co-workers is essential to her efforts. In return for Margie being a great role model to friends and coworkers, she receives encouragement not to lose focus. It is the peer pressure Margie has welcomed and cites as a reason for her remarkable success.

While no two people are exactly alike, Margie has proven what Hoosiers have known for some time: Move more and eat better. By following the example set forth by Margie Chavez, many more can be inspired to make the commitment to lead healthy lifestyles.

Pat Starzynski

Pat Starzynski
Since her childhood, Pat Starzynski had difficulty managing her weight and used food as a coping mechanism throughout her early life. As an adult, her diet yo-yoed after wanting a quick fix. Though initial weight came off, Pat soon returned to comfort eating.

The defining moment of change in Pat’s life happened after an emergency C-section at age 36, increasing her weight to 240 pounds, "I was now obese, and my excess weight made the medical situation even more painful and complicated" Pat explained.

Scared for her life, Pat asked herself, "What am I willing to change and be consistent about? The change did not have to be perfect, expensive or strict, but it did have to be consistent if it was going to work.

Pat began exercising every morning and has been for the past six years. To stay motivated, she relies on her cat, Gizmo. Gizmo wakes Pat every morning at 5:45 to begin workouts with television fitness shows. Pat has lost 70 pounds thus far, and continues maintaining.

During the spring, summer and fall months Pat rides her bike. She participates in water aerobics classes during the winter. At work, she takes the stairs at least once a day and walks during breaks and lunch. Her Weight Watchers program helps her eat better.

Accountability and support are important factors to maintaining a healthy and better lifestyle. Pat credits INShape Indiana for their motivation.

Pat’s story focuses more on maintenance management than current weight loss, but she hopes it still helps others. In the near future, Pat plans to make a presentation to the Toastmasters club, Golden Gavel.

Joanne and Dennis Lambert

Joanne and Dennis Lambert
Joanne Lambert knew her high cholesterol diagnosis called for change in her life and her husband’s. Come June 2005, Joanne was tired of being overweight, and was concerned about the weight of her husband, Dennis.

"We decided to take control of our lives and lose weight," said Joanne. "The first step was admitting that we ate too much junk food, which we realized was making us fat."

"We knew that healthy living must begin with healthy eating," Joanne added.

Joanne threw out all the junk food in her home, and replaced it with healthier options; such as, chicken, fish, and fresh vegetables. Both Joanne and Dennis cut down on fast food and eating red meats, stopped drinking sodas and limited carbohydrates and fats in their diet.

"We went cold turkey," said Joanne.

Six months later, the couple had lost a total of 113 pounds. Joanne was down to 117 pounds and Dennis weighed 196 pounds.

The Lamberts also joined a gym near their home in Elkhart.

The combination of a healthier diet and increased activity not only took off extra pounds, but it also made clothes shopping necessary.

"There's no better reason to buy new clothes than because you have lost lots of weight," said Joanne.

"Our advice to others is to make a plan, and then stick to it," said Joanne. "A strong will and a little dedication make all of the difference."

"Do it for yourself, and for your family," said Joanne. "I'm certainly glad that I did."