Shaina is a determined, young woman. When she made a decision two years ago to lose weight, she knew it wouldn’t be easy, especially if she wanted to keep the weight off. But Shaina accepted the challenge and never looked back.
That was 60 pounds ago.
Today, Shaina, 25, who lives in one of Boone County Family Resources’ supported living apartments, has embraced a whole new lifestyle. She eats healthier and exercises on a regular basis. In September, she competed in her first 10K race at the Roots ‘N Blues BBQ festival in downtown Columbia.
On October 19, Shaina received the Mayor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Health Award. For the people close to Shaina, the recognition comes as no surprise.
“She is so deserving,” said Natasha Grayson, a Client Service Coordinator at Boone County Family Resources. “I’m just so excited!”
In the beginning, Shaina was placed on a low-calorie diet by her doctor and began working out twice a week with a personal trainer at the ARC. She now plans her own meals and workouts three or four times a week, lifting weights and running. “I look up items I want to eat and see how many calories they have,” Shaina said. “Now that I’ve lost all this weight, I have so much more energy.”
Shaina’s accomplishments are all the more astounding when you consider the statistics. According to the Center for Disease Control, obesity rates for adults with disabilities are approximately 57 percent higher than for adults without disabilities. People with disabilities can find it more difficult to always eat healthy, control their weight and be physically active for a variety of reasons, including lack of healthy food choices, difficulty chewing and swallowing, medications that can contribute to weight gain, physical limitations and pain.
So, how did Shaina do it? With the help of her support team at BCFR, Shaina created a plan to meet her weight-loss goal along with increasing her independence with healthy eating and exercise. Shaina and her team consulted with a dietician to create a pre-planned menu that would allow Shaina to choose meals that she liked while giving her the nutrition needed to lose weight.
Each week, Shaina pores through her favorite cookbooks, creating daily menus for breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks. BCFR staff help her develop a shopping list and shop. But ultimately, the commitment is up to Shaina.
“It’s been really hard, but it has given me a chance to do things I’ve never done before,” she said.