50th birthday inspires Omaha woman to lose weight

There just comes a time when you have to change – that’s how Machel Perry sees it. The Omaha woman didn’t like the way she looked or felt when she turned 50.

It wasn’t when the doctor told her she should lose weight that prompted the change or the health fair that her workplace, John Day Company, sponsored that made up her mind. It was just one day, she decided, she had to do things differently.

“I started by eating less, cutting back on alcohol and the weight started falling off,” Perry said. “At our next health fair I had lost 20 pounds and inches around my waist.”

Then her weight plateaued, and Perry knew she had to begin exercising because she wanted to buy new jeans and tuck her shirt in. Perry started by doing exercises in an empty office by her desk: squats, calf-raises, push-ups and planks.

“I noticed my stomach getting flatter, and I felt stronger, in my core,” Perry said.

Then she expanded her exercise to include walking over her lunch break. She took on a hill near her home, walking and running up it. Perry attended more of John Day’s health-focused lunch and learn events as part of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska’s Walking Works program.

Perry is walking three to four times a week now, as well as doing yard work. She's lost 32 pounds in all and can slip between her cars outside mirror and the pole in her garage easily now. She is convinced that if you use the functional things you do in life as exercise, it is easier to start and stay moving.

This is where a little vanity comes in, Perry said. This month, she and her partner are going to New York City for the first time to see the U.S. Open tennis tournament and take in a Broadway show.

“I want to step out of that taxi in front of the show in a little black dress,” Perry said. “Maybe turn a few heads.”

That vision is more than enough to keep her on track.



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