Michelle Emebo of Illinois was diagnosed with hypertension (or high blood pressure) in 2016 while she was pregnant with her daughter. She took the diagnosis very seriously because both her parents had the same condition and suffered from strokes.
After Michelle gave birth, she realized her blood pressure was still too high. Her doctors wanted to increase her medication dosage, but she decided she wanted to do something to manage it on her own. So she quickly set up an appointment with a nutritionist to explore her options.
“I knew that I was at a greater risk for some major cardiovascular episode if I didn’t do something more about my health,” she said. She also knew her old methods of losing weight weren’t working anymore. That’s what led her to a nutritionist, who asked her to change her diet.
Soon, Michelle was cutting out foods that were high in salt and cooking at home regularly. Meanwhile, she went to a class at Orangetheory Fitness. When she got her “butt kicked,” she signed up for a membership right then and there and committed to changing her ways long-term.
In just three years, she was able to lose 75 pounds and get off her medication! While she described the process as a “slow burn,” it didn’t come without plenty of hard work.
Nowadays, Michelle regularly checks her blood pressure, especially when stress and anxiety seep in. But she’s been successfully managing her health without medication for a few years!
Her workouts help keep her heart strong, but her diet is what really made the difference. That’s why she’s encouraging other people trying to pursue healthier lifestyles to cook at home “80 percent of the time.”
Beyond that, she said what worked for her was loading up on veggies, limiting alcohol and between-meal snacks, and sticking to her calorie goals — while offering herself grace. After all, who can resist a sweet treat from time to time?
“Sometimes, you feel like there’s nothing you can do,” she said. “The moment I felt like I could make changes to really course correct with my weight and my health, it just made me feel empowered. Now I feel like I can do anything. My daughter calls me a superhero.”
These days, she’s working with the American Heart Association to spread awareness and save even more lives!
What an incredible journey! Thank you, Michelle, for reminding us that we can always make a difference in our own health!
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