COVINGTON, Ga. - National Women’s Health and Fitness Day is Sept. 25, and Resurgens Orthopaedics Physician Dr. Roderica Cottrell, who practices in Covington, opens up about her own struggles with weight in an effort to help women overcome obesity and the wealth of health problems it can create.
“I was always on the heavier side as a child, and overweight as an adult,” she said. “My attempts at losing weight over the years included pills, shakes and everything in between. These efforts always proved to be moderate and temporary.”
After having her second child, Cottrell’s weight hit 240 pounds, and she developed several obesity-related problems, including sleep apnea, poorly-controlled hypertension and increased back and knee pain. She was on three different anti-hypertensive medications that were barely controlling her blood pressure and began using a CPAP machine at night due to sleep apnea.
“At this point, I knew it was time for a change as I could have been moments away from a stroke, heart attack or even death," she said.
Cottrell took control of her life and began adapting lifestyle changes, including healthy eating habits and incorporating a regular and intensive exercise program into her schedule. She began monitoring her portions and limiting and eliminating certain foods in her diet. She soon realized that consistency is the key, and the pounds began to drop.
After three years, Cottrell has lost more than 50 pounds, her blood pressure is under control, she no longer suffers from sleep apnea and her back and knee pain have subsided.
Obesity is the cause of numerous health problems, including some that Cottrell specializes in treating as an orthopaedic physician. These include musculoskeletal conditions that often cause chronic pain, which in turn can lead to a sedentary lifestyle. Hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes and cardiovascular disease can follow.
Obese women are also increasingly susceptible to developing certain kinds of cancers.
Cottrell says that she does not always choose the best food options and some weeks she does not work out as much as she should. She has learned during her journey that if you are consistent with your nutrition and exercise at least 80% of the time and commit to a healthy lifestyle, you can successfully reach and maintain your fitness goals.
Cottrell's advice to those who want to make a change to a healthy lifestyle:
- Just get started. Learn about healthy eating choices and move your body in any way that works for you, whether it is walking, swimming or working out with weights.
- Don’t let a bad day of eating sabotage your program. We have all been there and falling off the wagon is human. It’s most important that you eat healthy and exercise MOST of the time consistently. You will see results even if you have a bad day now and then.
- Consult your doctor for advice before you begin a workout program and if you experience pain while exercising.
- Think positively about the changes you are making for yourself. Results won’t be instant, but they will occur and once you get started, you will feel better very quickly.
For more information about Dr. Cottrell, visit https://www.resurgens.com/physicians/roderica-e-cottrell-md.