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Saturday 23 March 2019
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Penny Redmond Feeling Fit, Fab & Free

story by KATRICE WILLIAMS photos by SHELIA SCOTT
“I feel like a shiny new Penny. I feel I can accomplish anything now; I feel good about me,” Penny Redmond
proclaimed with a huge and joyful smile.
Indeed, Penny is like a shiny, new penny after losing 127.6 pounds over the past year. In fact, at just over
4’11,” Penny weighed 273.8 pounds before she began her fitness plight.
Penny is an Effingham native and has been on the team at Independence Day Publishing, Inc. (IDP) as a
delivery specialist for about seven years now.
After nearly a lifetime of yo-yo diets and defeated weight-loss endeavors, last year, Penny made one of the
biggest and most beneficial decisions she could ever make; she knew that it was time, once and for all, to do
something about her weight…her fitness…her health. Actually, for Christmas 2017, her dad gifted her with her
exact request-a Fitbit Blaze. Penny was unaware that the seemingly small request would be the start of a whole
new life.
She remembered her long-time friend Pam Elder in South Carolina, who had accomplished significant
weight loss and physical fitness after beginning her own journey some time ago. Penny spoke with Pam, who
agreed to become her long-distance personal trainer. She requested that Penny attain a complete physical
examination before beginning. Pam also encouraged Penny to download the My Fitness Pal Application to her
phone. It served as a great guide for Penny, helping her to “track meals” and hit personal fitness targets over
time. Penny weighed-in every two weeks to track her progress.
Pam encouraged Penny to start by doing some walking on her treadmill, which had become more of a
“clothes collector” over the years; Pam also mentioned a few good exercises to begin with. The next morning,
Penny “jumped on the treadmill and did about a mile or so.”
“You have to have someone to hold you accountable. Pam told me, ‘I’ll help you, but you have to want to do
it,’” Penny said.
Many of the exercises were very difficult for Penny to perform; she knew that Pam was unaware of her
weight, as she hadn’t seen her for many years. Penny sent Pam a “long, honest and emotional” email regarding
her physical state; she cried while typing it. Pamela later assured Penny that she could modify all of the
exercises in her workout.
Pam later asked Penny to get on a scale to get her exact weight, record measurements and have photographs
taken for reference purposes; this was one of the biggest hurdles that Penny would face—it was
uncomfortable…it was difficult. It had long been terribly hard for her to face her own reality.
“I didn’t do well with pictures. I hated looking in the mirror; I’d walk by a mirror and would turn my head.
Even when brushing my teeth and hair, I would turn my head because I detested the way I looked…the way I
felt. I was embarrassed; my self-esteem was low,” she said.
Penny did, however, take that courageous step to have photos taken. Actually, someone she had long
admired agreed to take them. Lea Thornton-Allen, the IDP Office Manager, took some great shots of Penny.
Lea personally understood it all, as she continued to diligently strive towards her own health and fitness goals
after successfully losing an incredible amount of weight over the past few years.
Regarding Lea, Penny said, “She has helped me out, too. Watching her has been an inspiration.”
Penny credits January 7th as the day that she started down the path to her new and healthier self. It was the
day that she eliminated all alcoholic beverages from her diet, as she particularly enjoyed wine and consumed an
excessive amount each day. Penny, however, learned that most wines have a high sugar content.
“I was drinking my calories. Wine is pure sugar,” she stated.
Unfortunately, much of that habit was because of regular bouts of depression, largely due to her personal
dissatisfaction with her appearance. However, finally became sick and tired of being sick and tired.
“I decided that 2018 was going to be my year,” she asserted.
Pam helped Penny create a regimented daily eating and fitness plan and stressed the importance of “being
consistent.” Penny feels that her Fitbit Blaze has been “the best investment that her dad has ever made.” It
remains a great way for her to keep up with “calories burned and activities done.”
Pam wanted Penny to initially focus on cardio-based exercises, being best for weight loss. Penny started off
by walking about 1-1 ½ hours daily for the first six months, whether on her treadmill or in her neighborhood.
Over time, she reached about 4 miles each day. Pam sent Penny a list of more personalized exercises based on
her fitness level and needs. Penny has recently joined Planet Fitness, as Pam designed a “special workout” for
her.
“I love going to the gym. I can spend hours and hours there,” she stated.
Penny is currently working out four times each week, alternating workouts with walking and jogging, to give
her body proper rest from conditioning. She, too, is presently weighing in once each month. Penny has found
that “staying active” is of utmost importance, as she strives to take an average of 250 steps each hour (usually
between about 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.). She knows that “the little things matter,” like “parking further away from the
grocery store” in order to walk a longer distance to the entrance.
Overeating was never an issue for Penny; she often bought in to the popular misconception that
undereating produced weight loss; Penny soon discovered that the body needs healthy calories to use as energy
to burn fat and keep a steady metabolism.
“Eating wasn’t my problem; I didn’t eat enough food. Now I eat more than ever,” she remarked. Her journey
never actually included “dieting.”
“It’s really not a specific diet; I have taken no diet pills…had no surgery. It’s eating right…just healthy
eating,” she added.
Initially, Penny started each day with two pieces of bacon and two eggs but later began eating plain oatmeal
with fresh fruit. She now often has Ricotta Cheese or Greek Yogurt alongside fresh fruit. She has a snack,
usually a banana, at about 10 a.m. For lunch, she normally eats about 4 ounces of deli meat, particularly low-
sodium chicken breast, wrapped in Romaine Lettuce, along with 1 ounce of cheddar or pepper jack cheese aside
a piece of fruit, like an orange or avocado. She has a post-lunch snack around 2:30 p.m. which often consists of
a Portable Protein Pack (P3) or a plain rice cake with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter. Penny’s dinner includes 4
ounces of baked or broiled chicken or fish, one plain sweet potato and a vegetable, like broccoli, cabbage or
zucchini. If she is hungry before bed, she has a protein shake. Penny drinks 1-1 ½ gallons of water each day,
understanding the importance of ample water consumption. She, too, made several other beneficial dietary
changes.
“I eat lots of fruit, so I’m getting carbs, but it’s good carbs…natural sugar. I eat no fast food; there’s nothing
healthy about fast food. I try to stay away from going out to eat; you can go out to eat and eat something
healthy, but you have to be really cautious,” she affirmed.
Further, after discovering its numerous health and weight loss implications when accompanied with a
healthy diet, Penny takes one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (in a full glass of water) twice each day.
Penny has achieved several personal goals, including participating in her very first fitness runs on December
1, 2018.
“I did my first 5K and 10K—the Bridge Run in Savannah. I loved it; it was the best feeling in the world. I
want to do the half marathon in April. If I feel good about it, hopefully in October, I’ll be ready for the
marathon,” she said. Penny is also presently working towards toning and building muscle.
“My ultimate goal is to be firm and fit. I don’t want fat; I want muscle,” she added.
Penny has felt better than she can remember feeling most of her life.
“I don’t have aches now. I couldn’t sleep in my bed; it hurt my back and hip. I slept in a recliner for the past
eight years. I have finally moved back into the bedroom. I can actually lay down and sleep at night. My whole
life has changed,” she stated.
Penny is immensely grateful for the help and guidance of Pam, who is now a certified personal trainer.
“She wanted me to succeed. She keeps me accountable,” Penny said. She, too, has long treasured the support
of her family and friends throughout her journey. Penny proudly revealed a silver bracelet, given by her brother
and sister-in-law, with the motivating and encouraging inscription, ‘You Got This.’
This shiny new Penny has no desire to look back or give up, as the best is yet to come.