Student Takes Fitness Challenge “To Heart”

For the past five years, the Luckyday Program has hosted a fitness challenge to encourage students to make more mindful nutrition choices and be more physically active. Jessica Seaton, a senior scholar, participated in the challenge last spring. She fully engaged herself, enrolling in the nutrition class provided through the “Health is Golden” campaign and attending sessions at the Payne Center with a personal trainer. She started using the MyFitnessPal app and entering her calories and exercise each day. Once she got accustomed to entering certain foods into the app, she started to understand more about the calorie content of many foods and it made her meal choices easier to plan.

Why did she want to join the challenge? Jessica has a history of high blood pressure in her family and wanted to be happier with who she was as a person. She gave herself a goal weight and the added motivation of working out with a friend at least once a week. By the end of the official Luckyday fitness challenge last April, Jessica had lost some fat and gained some muscle, meeting the foundational goal of the challenge. Due to the confidence she gained through her participation in the fitness challenge, Jessica decided to continue to pursue a healthier lifestyle. So she set a new weight goal for herself. She met the first and then set another. And another. She was actually surprised when she kept meeting the goals and seeing her weight decrease. “Once you start seeing results, it becomes a motivator to do more,” Jessica told me in an interview last September. By that point she had lost 50 pounds.

What were some of the changes she made in her habits that made such a difference? One was cutting calories from beverages and learning to enjoy water. She also kept an exercise schedule: having a plan helps you stay on track and know how to organize your week. Jessica said it was also important to her to keep the plan fresh. Trying a new class at the Payne Center or switching up a workout is key to not letting yourself settle.

Majoring in public health, Jessica wants to be a walking example of someone who not only makes wise choices with nutrition and exercise but someone who knows what it is like to take on the disciplined journey of weight loss and maintaining healthy habits. In the future, she hopes to have a fitness group called “Black Girls Work Out Too.” When I spoke with Jessica this past January, she was excited to say that she has lost 70 pounds! What a story of hard work, self-control, and determination. Congrats to Jessica!

The Luckyday Fitness Challenge is a 9-week program in which scholars can elect to participate. A partnership with the School of Kinesiology allow students to have pre-challenge and post-challenge scans using the InBody analyzer, which measures body composition including fat and lean tissue. Participants are given the overall goal of achieving a decrease in fat tissue and an increase in lean tissue by the end of the challenge.

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