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This past June, Al Roker and TODAY fitness contributor Stephanie Mansour (and a group of Start TODAY members!) kicked off the new workout plan with a live plaza walk. The segment inspired thousands across the country to join the Start TODAY Facebook group and pledge to walk with us.
This month, those members are celebrating their one-year walkiversary. And they’ve commemorated the occasion in creative and inspiring ways.
From tattoos, to before-and-after photos, to meeting a co-worker and new friend for an in-person walk, here’s how some members celebrated their health commitment 365 days straight.
Tammy Carter Skov and Kris Martin
Tammy Carter Skov and Kris Martin have taken their virtual friendship offline, meeting in person for a walk to celebrate their one-year anniversary as members of Start TODAY.
Today I finally met the AMAZING Tammy Carter Skov. It was the best evening… walking, then dinner. I feel so happy that she made the effort to meet and spend time together. It was the best way to end the month. Thanks Tammy, wrote Martin. Happy anniversary to everyone who joined like me last year! Welcome all new members, I hope you love this group as much as I do, such a blessing in my life. Thank you Stephanie Mansour and Al Roker for always making things better, dedicating your time and supporting us all.
Glad it all worked out to be able to meet the fabulous Kris Martin for a walk and a snack tonight. It was such a beautiful evening and the company was amazing!” wrote Carter Skov. “One of today’s quotes is to be around people who crave sunshine, and Kris definitely lives up to it.
Deborah Canady joined the group a year ago as a way to hold herself accountable and find her inner strength.
I needed to know why I always started something but never finished something. I needed to know why I was getting in my way, she wrote. The only thing I knew was that I love walking and it was the only thing that brought me peace, joy and my free therapy sessions; I knew I could. For the first time in my life, the first thing I thought about every morning was what I needed to do for the day’s challenge. Nothing stopped me, it didn’t matter if the weather was bad I couldn’t walk I cycled, if I had pain (in my back or knees), I pushed because there was something inside that wouldn’t let me let go.
He also reflected on the support he found in the group. I wasn’t going to open up to strangers. I just wanted to post and move on, but you got me. I started to see and feel safe, it was okay to share and even though we are not on the same level; we are all trying to get to the same place to be happy and healthy, she wrote. Since I’ve been in this group I haven’t retired, I’ve gotten back to the gym, I’ve gotten used to meal prepping (which I thought I couldn’t eat the same thing everyday) and on my way to quitting my health meds blood pressure.
Canady’s post included a fully completed year calendar and a selfie of her signature smile, which led other members to nickname her smiley. It’s funny because I never thought my smile was anything special. I just smile more because some people see my bald head and make assumptions like I’m going through cancer so I look very sad. I want them to see that I’m smiling, I’m fine and if they ask me I’ll tell them I have alopecia, she wrote.
Kristine Davis downloaded the first walk challenge on June 1, 2022, a year later she hasn’t missed a day, she wrote in a post along with photos of her posing in her workout attire.
Today I celebrate my first anniversary with the Today Walking Program. So happy to be a part of this walking family, she wrote in a second post. I promised myself that if I made it through 1 year of the Start Today Walking Challenge I would get a tattoo that said I did… Well here it is she wrote.
Peggy Sturges Hanfelt
Peggy Sturges Hanfelt celebrated her one year anniversary with a before and after photo of her progress.
I walk 2 miles in the morning 5-6 days a week. I haven’t done my best to change my eating habits, but I will keep trying. I’m down 15 lbs that are left off! I help move consistently! she wrote. I more hope to lose, but this is a good start for me. I never thought I’d train like this! I love this community of positivity. Thanks and see you next year with all of you!
Heather Harne joined the Start TODAY challenge on June 1, 2022 and has walked every day since. In addition to walking, she also celebrates a number of daily lifestyle rituals, which have helped her lose 38 pounds while gaining strength, confidence and balance.
Her rituals include: brief guided meditation, stretching and yoga, walking and other forms of movement, strength training, adding more hydration, and finding the foods that work for me, she wrote.
But more than anything, she’s celebrating her ability to overcome setbacks and learn to give herself grace and compassion. I went through many obstacles and challenges. She is a cancer survivor, she lost all sight five years ago so now she is completely blind, dizzy and balance problems, lumbar surgery, chronic migraines she wrote.
Making a year hasn’t come without setbacks, Harne admits. He shared words of encouragement for others: There are so many things in our lives that can try to get in our way, but we can find ways to work through and work around and overcome struggles as we celebrate victories. Every step counts and matters as you keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. I am so proud of everyone in this group and all your achievements from one step to 10 steps, 100 steps, 1000 steps, 10,000 steps You should be proud of yourself!
There are so many things in our lives that can try to get in our way, but we can find ways to work through, work around, and overcome struggles while celebrating victories.
Celebrate success and accept setbacks
In true Start TODAY fashion, members were open to encountering setbacks over the past year and struggling with a lack of progress toward their goals.
Karen Deery Smith has lost less than 10 days of walking since last June but is disappointed with her progress. This morning is a difficult morning. I started this journey a year ago. I didn’t weigh myself the whole time. I know what weighs on my mind about myself. I dreaded stepping on the scale this morning and anticipated writing to you that I’ve only lost 10 or 15 pounds this year, but that for next year, I’ll focus more on healthy food choices. I was crushed today as my weight remains the same as it was a year ago. Actually four kilos heavier, she wrote.
But Deery Smith has acknowledged his large-scale victories: making exercise a constant habit in his routine, his clothes feel baggier, his face looks slimmer, and he feels great emotionally and proud of his dedication and determination. .
And she’s using her walkiversary as inspiration to stay committed to her health routine: The bottom line is that while I’m devastated today and battling the tears, I know I’ll recover and I know I’ll continue this journey, I know I need to do more. in terms of intensity, pick up the pace, put down the fork and find a way for me too to a large-scale victory. I’ll keep walking, I won’t stop now!
As one insider points out, no trip comes without roadblocks and detours. Support members are quick reminders to others that being in the group, making yourself a priority, and moving forward each day is an accomplishment in itself even if you haven’t reached the milestones you hoped for.
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