Walking helps Kimberly Kilgour and her mother,
Arlena, improve their overall physical and
mental health. Kilgour's mother had a stroke in
Kimberly Kilgour, 52, has a
busy schedule as a preacher's wife, mother and full-time
manager in the Immunology Unit at the Georgia Public Health
Laboratory (GPHL). In 2010, Kilgour's schedule became even
busier when her mother, Arlena, 76, had a stroke and moved
in with her daughter after extensive rehabilitation.
She tried to
juggle the demands of home, work and church -- all at the
expense of her health.
first reality check was during a 2011 visit to her doctor
after a colonoscopy. The follow-up results were great but
she was bothered by her weight gain.
down at the chart and the doctor wrote obese," Kilgour said.
"I almost had a heart attack for real. I never got over that
statement and that was a big motivation."
Kilgour was diagnosed with high blood pressure. Her doctor
encouraged her to exercise more and change her diet. Kilgour
obliged but eventually gave in to the demands of personal
obligations and stopped.
Then came the
second reality check in 2012.
gynecologist said something to me about my blood pressure,"
Kilgour said. "We were sharing personal stories as
caregivers. She mentioned how she started neglecting
herself. The doctor said I would have a stroke like my
mother if I did not get my blood pressure under control. On
this particular day, it was sky high," Kilgour said.
She knew she
had to make some changes.
"At the time,
I was not in a good place," said Kilgour. "I really was in a
rut and I was experiencing pains that I had never had
before. My weight had ballooned up to 183 and I was losing
control of situations that I always thought I could handle.
I never realized how much stress
affected my health."
not have to look far to find support. She engaged in daily
walking to lose weight with coworkers during the DPH Holiday
Survivor Challenge. She instantly felt better even though
she faced several temptations.
obstacles were all the Thanksgiving and Christmas
activities," said Kilgour. "I felt like I was walking
through a minefield. Everything looked so tempting and there
were those who offered me to taste their favorite foods. I
learned to eat only what I wanted. I cut out all breads and
kept the portion sizes very small."
Kimberly Kilgour, fourth from right, finished as
first runner up during the DPH Holiday Survivor
Challenge, where she lost 20.8 pounds and
lowered her high blood pressure. In this photo,
Kilgour and coworkers demonstrate how 90 DPH
employees collectively lost 150 waistline inches
during the challenge.
Her hard work paid off. Kilgour was recognized during the
DPH Holiday Survivor Challenge as the first runner up after
losing 11.35 percent of her body weight or 20.8 pounds. Her
blood pressure is under control and she is losing weight
while managing stress.
accomplishment was not at all easy for Kilgour, who loves
sweets and Southern cuisine. Her husband enjoys watching the
Food Network Channel and preparing meals high in fats and
carbohydrates. Now, Kilgour spends more time in the kitchen
with him making suggestions and helping prepare healthy
started this journey, I thought that I would lose 10 pounds
at a time," Kilgour said. "I wanted to start slow and try to
make changes that would help me keep the weight off and to
not have to take the high blood pressure medications. My
initial goals were to lose 30 pounds, get my blood pressure
under control and increase my physical activity. I could not
have imagined that kind of support from my coworkers and
motivating her mother to regain her health. Both mom and
daughter exercise by walking to gain mobility and reduce
stress and pounds. Kilgour's mother desperately wants her
independence back and is willing to do whatever it takes to
also motivating others during Girls Talk, a bi-monthly
meeting comprised of girls ages seven to 17 that focuses on
health, etiquette, bullying and other topics. One of the
participants invited Kilgour to a 5K run/walk to benefit a
local charity.The youth counselor-mentor relationship is a
healthy combination for everyone.
neglecting my health because I was so busy focusing on the
important people in my life," said Kilgour. "But as women,
even though we have to take care of loved ones, we have to
take the time to refocus and take care of self."
With her improved health decisions, Kilgour can continue to
encourage others to do the same.