Working Healthy

Healthy Tech Q & A: Jeanette McGrew

When faced with a warning from her doctor, Jeanette McGrew decided to face her fears and take charge of her own destiny.  By focusing her mental outlook, she was able to attain a physical fitness level she never believed possible.

<p>Mcgrew before and current.</p>

Tell us a bit about yourself and your career.
I’ve been a nail tech for about eight years. It’s one of the most exciting careers in that you get to meet different people on a daily basis, and no day is quite the same at the salon. You’re not only a nail tech, you’re also a therapist, guidance counselor, and best of all, you become friends and family with your clients. The name of my salon is JM Nails, and it’s located in Clinton, Miss. I specialize in natural nail care, and pedicures are my clients’ favorites.

What are your health challenges?
I decided to take my health into my own hands in August 2015 after my doctor told me that my glucose level was elevated.  I decided that diabetes wasn’t going to take my life. At first, it was difficult for me to start any type of fitness program because I’ve always had a fear of not completing something because of my weight. When I decided to own my weight (248 pounds), I also had to face my fears. I said to myself:  “I can’t fail unless I quit.”

What was/is your plan of action?
For me to reach my goals, I had to create a fitness challenge, so I decided to train for a local 10K. I committed to walk and strength train every day, even in bad weather. I started out with one mile, then two miles, and eventually I got up to six miles per day; I couldn’t believe I did it just by walking one day at a time. Four months later, I’d dropped 30 pounds.  Eventually, I felt good enough to add running. I would pick a landmark, run to it, and then walk the rest of the way. It wasn’t easy for me to focus on this journey, but I enlisted help from a friend. He pushed me to a level I didn’t realize I could reach; he believed in me.

What’s been the greatest challenge and greatest success of your new healthy lifestyle?
It wasn’t easy for me at first, because I was a plus-size woman and I limited myself to only a very few types of exercise. There were days when I would make excuses not to work out or would crave Oreo cookies, but I had to realize I was doing this for me. I had to change the way I viewed myself (just an overweight woman). I realize that it was my mind telling me that I couldn’t do it. As my mind became clear as I walked, it was telling me “You can do it, girl.” I keep a journal and write in it every day. That’s what keeps me motivated and feeling good about my journey. My greatest moment is when I completed The MS Blues Marathon in January 2016 in Jackson, Miss. I completed the 10K in 1:54. It was liberating to see proof that if I put in the work, I will be rewarded. Best of all,  I’m no longer worried about my diabetic numbers. My endurance has increased. I rest better, and I no longer see food as a friend, but as nourishment for my body.  

How has/does your job as a nail tech affect your plan?
My new lifestyle change was easy because I had support from my clients. Now, all our conversations are about making better food choices, healthy recipes, and supporting each other. I’ve inspired my clients to join me on this journey. The major modification I made in my job was to be as open with people as I could be and to make sure my scheduling included time for me. I had to realize I couldn’t help anyone else until I helped myself.

What ‘s your best advice for other nail techs who need encouragement?
We all know being a nail tech is a sedentary lifestyle. Incorporate your clientele into your journey. My best advice for anyone who wants to start a new health journey is to believe in and love yourself because you are most important. Move forward one step at a time.

<p><em>McGrew with her trainer.</em></p>

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! If you would like to share your success story (overcoming health issues, weight loss — any health-related triumph) with NAILS readers, email [email protected] to find out more about how YOU can be featured as a NAILS Healthy Tech.

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