Here’s how a Miamian is working to improve her diet and hit her wellness goals

We asked New Tropic readers to tell us one wellness goal they’re trying to reach, and then we chose six of them to pair with fitness and wellness experts across the 305 who are helping them achieve those goals.

The catch? Each challenger has to keep us updated on their progress and share all their best tips and advice along the way. Our hope is everyone in our community can learn from the advice experts give our challengers.

So help us in cheering on each of our challengers. Now meet one of those brave Miamians:

April Dobbins

Wellness goal: To move more and exercise, and to eat better.

Why she wants to achieve it: “I really want to do more weightlifting. I go to the gym but I find it’s very hard to cross that line because all the jocks are on that side and it’s very intimidating.”

Her wellness expertSusan Nowrouzi, a dietitian with Baptist Health South Florida.

Update #1
We asked April: Does reaching your wellness goal feel impossible to you? Why or why not? What’s the first step you’re taking to try and reach it?

“It doesn’t feel impossible, but I have felt a bit lost and helpless trying to do it on my own. I have struggled with my weight most of my life, so I know this isn’t something that I can tackle without a support network. It’s especially helpful to have someone to hold me accountable. The first step for me is putting my pride aside and asking for the help in the first place. That was not easy for someone like me, who likes to believe she can balance it all.”

Update #2
We asked April: What’s one thing you tried to do this week to reach your goal? What did you learn?

“I’ve signed up for a Paleo food delivery service through Primitive Nutrition–something that I ordinarily wouldn’t do. Honestly, I’m trying my best to let the carbs go, but it’s very hard. I’ve learned that it’s much easier to stay on track with healthy eating when your meals are prepped. I’m eating a lot of food that I would normally not care to eat–beets; squash; cabbage, zucchini. Trying my darnedest to avoid the snack drawer at the office. Also, I very much enjoy my one cheat meal a week!”

April has gotten into meal prep and says it helps her stay on track with her wellness goal. (Photo credit: April Dobbins)

Update #3
We asked April: What’s one valuable piece of advice you’ve received so far from the trainer we’ve paired you with? How have you used that advice?

“My nutritionist told me to eat smaller things more often. I have a habit of eating my 3 meals and going hours in between them without eating anything. That makes me ravenous by the end of the day. I’ll have almonds or an apple in between my meals so that my metabolism stays up.”

Update #4
We asked April: At any point have you felt like giving up on your goal? Why? How have you encouraged yourself to stick with it?

“I’m really not losing visible weight so that is discouraging, and I canceled my meal service because my budget is tighter for the summer. That all makes me a little sad, but I was in China for a week for work, and it was a physically strenuous trip (we walked the Great Wall), and I was able to keep up thanks to my diet and exercise. I’m in much better shape than I was at this time last year!”

Update #5
We asked April: What did you learn? Do you feel like you hit your goal? If not, do you plan to keep working at it?

“Mostly, I learned that getting healthier is just a series of small decisions. You try to make better decisions little by little. If you do that, you see progress.”
“I definitely wanted to lose at least 20 pounds. That did not happen, but that was my fault. I AM in the gym regularly and feel much better than I did before. AND I finally crossed over into the weightlifting section, which has intimidated me for years. I can say that I’m finally comfortable in the gym, and that I actually look forward to it. Diet-wise: I do well some weeks and then I have days where I’m not so good, but I try to just get back on the wagon.”

We’ll keep updating this page with #realtalk from April and tips from Susan. Want to share some advice that’s worked well for you? Leave it in the comments!