Tell us a bit about yourself and your career.
I’m 26 years old and married to Shawn Jones. We have three doggy children: Meeko, Maddy, and Zoey. I decided to get my nail tech license two years ago, and now I’m very busy  working at a salon called The Final Cut in Nevada, Mo., in the afternoons and during the summer three days a week. I’ve also been a middle school special education paraprofessional for seven years and am the 7th grade cheerleading coach.

What are your health challenges?
I’ve been diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). This means I’m insulin resistant, and that causes issues with hormones levels, which messes with the reproductive system and makes it hard to lose weight. The good news is that it can be controlled with medication, diet, and exercise. My husband and I would love to start a family, so I knew I had to take control of my health.

What was/is your plan of action?
At the school where I work, we always have our own “Biggest Loser” contest with all of the staff. I signed up for it last year, which helped keep me accountable. By the end of the contest I had lost 22 pounds. I changed my diet by eliminating carbs and sugars because that is the worst for my PCOS. My husband and I eat a lot of baked chicken, turkey burgers, and veggies. The Paleo diet is very easy to follow. I joined the YMCA and started to work out Monday through Friday after work. I do anywhere between 20 to 40 minutes of elliptical, then weight training. My future goals are to continue to improve my health to better our chances of conceiving and to become the healthiest I can be.

How does your job as a nail tech affect your plan? What changes have you made to accommodate your new lifestyle?
Because I’m so busy it’s hard to get to the gym and still want to work in the salon afterward. To help with my new lifestyle, I buy healthy foods to keep at the salon so I’m not tempted to grab fast food.

What has been your greatest challenge or most difficult aspect of your new healthy lifestyle?
My greatest challenge with my new healthy lifestyle is trying to not cave in and eat all the sugar in sight — I crave ice cream all the time! Motivation is very hard for me. Last summer I took a job as a water aerobics instructor at the YMCA five days a week in the mornings. That has kept me accountable and made me exercise.

Please share your advice for other nail techs who need encouragement to embark on a healthy lifestyle.
Find that one thing or person who motivates you and keep your mind on the end results. Portion control with diet and consistency with fitness are key!

Are you a healthy nail tech? Every month, NAILS will feature one nail tech in a monthly column devoted to shining the spotlight on your health and fitness success! Even small steps are big steps in our book. If you would like to share your success story (overcoming health issues, weight loss — any health-related triumph) with NAILS readers, email to find out more about how YOU can be featured as a NAILS’ Healthy Tech.

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