Walking off the weight

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By Brandon Mattingly


A number of Washington County residents have taken measures to adopt a healthier lifestyle recently and anyone passing through Main Street in Springfield shortly after 8 a.m. on any given morning could see a couple of those individuals taking part in that quest for healthier living.

Ronda Phillips and Sue Ann Hill hit Springfield for a seven-mile walk around six days a week and Phillips, who started her routine at the beginning of 2011, said she’s worked her way up to walking 10-15 miles per day.
“I started walking two or three miles a day, and we started 12 or 13 teams at Sansbury Care Center, where I work, for what we called the battle of the bulge. That kind of motivated me too,” she said. “Now it’s like if I don’t do 10 miles a day I don’t feel like I’ve done anything.”
Phillips began walking before her employers started the competition, but she said it helped her take her workout to the next level and that the results have shown, dropping nearly 50 pounds since April.
She said programs like the battle of the bulge have been great for Sansbury employees and residents alike.
“(Sansbury) is trying to keep something going on all the time to keep people motivated,” she said. “It shows that we’re determined to stay healthy and it helps to get the residents involved as well.”
Phillips said she started paying a lot closer attention to her health decisions when her husband, Paul Phillips, Jr., passed away in 2009.
“After my husband passed away, I went through three loved ones’ deaths within four years,” she said. “There’s heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure that runs in the family, so I wanted to get back into exercising to lose some weight and to be healthier. With God’s strength and me having my mind set to do it, I was able to do that.”
Apart from her daily stroll through downtown, Phillips follows a three-mile walking tape before she heads in to work. It’s clear to see that she was motivated to make a change in her lifestyle and the benefits have exceeded just weight loss.
“I think that anyone can make that change, but you have to want it,” she said. “I’ve always had this yo-yo dieting and now I’ve changed my eating habits and I have to say I feel better. I sleep better and it just makes you feel good all the way around.”
As far as dieting, Phillips said she’s avoided starchy foods and anything with a high amount of sugar. Fried foods have also been replaced by baked and grilled meals.
With an altered lifestyle, Phillips wants to share her experience with others to help them turn a corner on health awareness as well.
“The goal is that I’d like to become a certified personal trainer,” she said. (Sue Ann Hill) tells me that she would not have done this if not for me motivating her. I’ve kind of been checking into classes to see what I can do.”
With the way things are trending, Phillips’ 10-miles-a-day routine may soon also be a thing of the past as she continues to look toward the next step.
“If time permits, I would like to increase it even more,” she said. “I’d like to eventually do a 5k or something because I’ve never done one of those just as a challenge.”
In the meantime, you’re likely to find Phillips taking her daily stroll through Main Street and the looming winter months are no deterrent.
“My friend asked me what we’re going to do when it gets cold and I said we were going to put on our scarf and gloves and we’ll walk,” Phillips said.