Healthy goals led to big changes for this Colorado nurse

DEC 18, 2017
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Three years ago, registered nurse Tanya Baca was treating a diabetic patient at a Kaiser Permanente medical office when she had a life-changing moment.


“I glanced at the mirror on the back of the door and I saw myself, and I was disappointed,” Tanya recalls. “Here I was nearing 30 years old, weighing 289 pounds, and I was teaching a patient about healthy living. What kind of an example was I?”


Tanya knew that she needed to make some changes. After talking with her doctor, she chose to undergo surgery for a gastric sleeve to help her lose some weight.


But to lose more and stay healthy, Tanya needed to change her lifestyle. She worked with a Kaiser Permanente weight management team, changed her eating habits, and took up running.


Today, she fully enjoys the results of her healthy lifestyle changes. Having lost more than 140 pounds, she completed her second half-marathon race at the Kaiser Permanente Colfax Marathon in 2017.


Small changes make a big difference


Making healthy changes doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Use these tips to help you find your motivation and stay on track.

1. Set goals. Figure out exactly what you want to accomplish — and give yourself a timeline. Do you want to start walking 30 minutes each day? Cut refined sugars from your diet? With a “finish line” in mind, you can stay inspired by tracking your progress every day.


2. Get online support. Turn to online resources like for advice, encouragement, and tools to help you reach your goals. Having clinical specialists on your side will ease any confusion you might have, as well as guide you through any setbacks you’ll face along the way.


3. Make it social. Making a major lifestyle change can be difficult on your own. Ask your friends, family, or co-workers to try healthy new habits with you. Having a support system can make habit-building more fun. It’ll also give you accountability, which will help you persevere when the going gets tough.


4. Try something new. Don’t let boredom creep in — it’s a motivation killer! If you get tired of taking long walks, try a solo dance party in your living room. If running isn’t your favorite activity, try bicycling or roller skating.


5. Don’t give up. Tanya’s weight loss didn’t happen overnight. Major life changes take time, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Remember that the long journey will be worth it in the end.


Tanya now runs daily, maintains a healthy diet, and enjoys playing with her kids. “I feel comfortable and confident when I educate my patients,” she says, “because I know now I am walking the talk.”


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TOPICSColoradofitnesshealthy goalsNutrition