My name is Roxanne Mullenberg, and I’m a 42-year-old bank project manager living in Fargo, ND.
As an adult, I’ve always seen 350 pounds or so on the scale. I tried weight loss programs here and there that never worked. This was before apps, and manually counting calories was exhausting and not realistic. I tried a program where I drank shakes, but I never felt full or satisfied, and I actually gained weight. I also tried joining a gym, but I could never focus on nutrition at the same time as exercise; it was one or the other, and I never saw much change.
About two years ago, my office set up a summer walking challenge, and I signed up. My goal: Walk 400 miles by September. Having a concrete challenge really motivated me and gave me a reason to exercise. The accountability was also super helpful. Every week, they sent out an email to everyone with each participant’s mileage recaps, and, heck yeah, I wanted to be one of the top participants! I finished in the top quarter of the group, logging 4 to 5 miles a day.
I’ve kept it up, and I’m still walking 4 miles a day. I wake up and walk in the morning, then do 40 minutes at lunchtime every day, then do another walk at night. I split up my 80 to 90 minutes of activity a day because I would never have that uninterrupted stretch. I even walked a 10k for my 42nd birthday this year.
Fargo’s weather isn’t great for walking year-round, but I didn’t let that stop me. My goal this winter was to walk at least one of my miles outside each day to get some fresh air and make it feel different from all my indoor activity (like walking around the house while on phone calls). Over the winter, that meant forcing myself outside during bitterly cold, 20-below days. I’d put on wool socks, big boots, snow pants, and go, even when there was a no-travel advisory. Whether it’s raining, snowing, sleeting, hailing, minus-20 degrees, or 95 degrees, I’m going to be out there.
Finding a nutrition plan that works for me
Even with walking consistently, the weight wasn’t coming off. I knew I also had to change my eating habits. Coworkers at the bank recommended that I try Profile by Sanford, a health and nutrition program developed by medical experts at Sanford Health, one of the world’s largest healthcare providers. When you join the program, you’re paired with a health coach (that you meet with in-person at one of their retail locations or online) to get a custom meal plan and learn sustainable lifestyle changes. There are essentially three phases for Profile: Reboot, Adapt, and Sustain. Starting with the Reboot stage, I had a protein shake in the morning; another one as a mid-morning snack; a protein shake and 2 cups of veggies and a fat (like avocado or olive oil) for lunch; then, a Profile fiber tea and Profile protein bar as an afternoon snack. For supper, I’d have a protein (like chicken or fish), 2 more cups of veggies, and a fat, followed by another shake. Though I was hesitant about any plan that incorporated shakes because of my past experiences with that being all you ate, these ones tasted great, were in addition to real food, and were perfect for my on-the-go lifestyle, so I didn’t have to stop at a drive-through.
Seeing results and setting new goals
When I started with Profile in February 2020, I was at 358 lbs. Now I’m at 209, so 149 lbs down! I’ve gone down 10 pants sizes—getting a whole new wardrobe is fun! I’ve had other major wins, too. Before, my blood pressure was concerningly high and I was close to requiring medication, and now it’s drastically dropped to a healthy range. I’m feeling more comfortable in my own skin. I have more energy, and as I’m gaining confidence, I’m more willing to try new things.
I used to think runners were crazy—why would you do that unless you were running from something?–but now I think about how much more quickly I would get my steps in and it’s appealing to me, so I might try training for a 5k run next. I have walking down, so now it’s asking my body, What else can I do? These days, I’m up for new challenges, and nothing can slow me down.
By Roxanne Mullenberg, As Told To Sarah Z. Wexler for Prevention©