Get to know an accomplished career woman who also excels at caring for others. See what happens when she realizes she also must take care of herself.
Angela Edwards, 60, is a former sales and marketing executive living in Las Vegas who we found because she posted on our Withings Facebook group. She shared a graph that showed 10 full years of weight tracking with a Withings smart scale plus these photos of herself shown here at the beginning (L) and end (R) of her own 10-year challenge.
We were struck by her wisdom, her positivity, and frankly, how she looks like she hasn’t aged a day other than clearly becoming fitter. However, as impressive as these 10-year “before and now” photos are, we found there’s a lot more to the story.
On the fitness side, she took part in marathons and found a community when she started weight lifting. But even more impressive is that she has been doing serious heavy lifting in her life by caring for aging parents and for her special-needs daughter—all as a single mom.
Read on to find out how she faced life’s ups and downs but never gave up the goal of working on her health, and grab some wisdom for yourself.
It was never just about losing weight
While Edwards’s photos show how beautiful she is, she told us that her weight tracking and health kick were never about vanity. She says she was very interested in health and fitness for a very specific reason that ran deep.
“I was very, very interested in wellness, health, and fitness because I have a significant family history of chronic disease, specifically cancer. My mother had cancer three times in her life and eventually passed away from breast cancer. I was her primary caregiver throughout her illness, and she told me, ‘If you know what I know, you will take care of your health,’ and I made a promise to her on her deathbed that I would. So this was never about vanity or how I looked or how much I weighed. Certainly everybody cares about how they look, but I truly care less. My mother died at age 65, and she was absolutely gorgeous. Didn’t matter. She died of cancer.”
Burning the candle at both ends derails a healthy start
Edwards says she grew up “very healthy” in Southern California with an environment that was keyed into a healthy lifestyle.
“My mother was one of the charter members of Jack LaLanne Health Club. We had avocado, orange, tangerine, and lemon trees right in our yard. We walked regularly around the Rose Bowl, and we rarely went out to eat. Even in college I pretty much maintained my weight. It wasn’t until much later, with the stress of my career and burning the candle at both ends that I started picking up weight.”
Joining a gym, finding a community
To get serious about her health, Edwards joined a gym before leaving her job at Xerox, but it was when she finally exited the world of 70-hour workweeks that she made a commitment to go regularly. She tried everything the gym had to offer but focused on weight lifting, and found friends in the process. She says that whether it’s online or in person, “having a network of like-minded people is absolutely key.”
Mapping life’s peaks and valleys
Edwards got her first Withings smart scale at this time, and on a chart showing 10 years of weight tracking, there are no straight lines, up, down, or sideways. Reflecting on her data, she says she can draw lines between what was happening to her externally and what was happening to her body at each stage.
“There were a lot of ups and downs after I lost the initial weight in 2012. I kept the weight off for the most part, gaining 5-6 pounds a year and immediately losing it the next year. I hit a road bump in 2016/2017 where I lost my confidence and had to battle my way back. I was in a very challenging relationship that depleted me in mind, body, and spirit.”
By 2018/2019, Angela was well on the road to success, but then COVID hit and she gained weight again. In addition to COVID, Angela was acting as a cornerstone for her family. She was caregiving for so many people including being a single parent of her adopted daughter with special needs, in charge of her father’s care with advanced Alzheimer’s, responsible for moving two senior citizens into her household—her dad’s wife and sister—plus she was driving 1,400 miles roundtrip racking up over 10,000 miles back and forth between Las Vegas and Northern California to provide emotional support to her sister who was battling breast cancer.
“These past few years have been the most challenging of my life, but now that I am past the phase of extreme caregiving, I am able to focus on myself and put on my own oxygen mask. I am very grateful for Withings and my ability to look back at and see the truth, give myself some much needed grace, and put together a plan for success moving forward.”
Weighing in regularly but without looking
Edwards told us she’s 5’4 and says that during the pandemic she was “one chicken nugget from 200 pounds.” But she found the strength to not give up.
So how did Edwards find the motivation to continue stepping on the scale? Edwards said she “put on blinders” and decided to have her smart scale file the info for later.
“I refuse to look at the number on the scale. I just got on it and looked straight ahead and never looked at the number because I knew what I wanted to do was at least register ‘here I am.’ When you get on that scale on a day-to-day basis, your numbers go up and down for so many different reasons that can impact your mood and motivation in a negative way, so you shouldn’t be looking at them, but you should track them for information purposes later so you can see the trends.”
Keep it real: do what you can, when you can
Though Edwards claims she’s “not a runner,” she’s done the Rock and Roll Marathon, and she recently completed the American Cancer Society’s 100-mile challenge. But long-term health means adapting to an ever-changing environment, and that’s why when Edwards travels, she packs her motivation and rolls with it.
“I am 60 with a 17 year old, so it’s humbling—that keeps me on track. And when I say on track, I mean long term. If you know you have to be real, there are times where you veer off track. For example, I went to spend a month with my sister in Northern California, and I was out of my element since I didn’t have a home gym. There I was, three blocks from the beach, so I went walking, but I wasn’t working out at that intensity level that I normally do or as frequently as I normally do. And I didn’t have the same access to food, so my nutrition wasn’t there. I wasn’t cooking, but as soon as I came back, I got right back on it.”
No shame in her game
To support her efforts, Edwards has even given herself a home gym and says the feeling she gets from being able to workout at home is addicting—in a good way. She loves her gym, but having equipment at home “gets rid of the excuses.”
“If I have a conference call, I have no shame in my game. I’ll get on a treadmill and take the conference call. I just put on some earphones, and everyone else will just have to hear the treadmill in the background—I’m getting some extra exercise.”
Still, even without equipment, when she’s feeling too sedentary, she lands on her own two feet telling herself, “Just get up off your butt and go for a walk. Go straight out your front door. There’s your exercise.”
Still on the path: destination, muscle mass
Edwards says she has a few more pounds she intends to lose, but gaining muscle is her north star. “I’ve got to really do the weightlifting and bring my muscle mass back up. That’s another reason why I love the Withings scale—it’s not about weight. You know you could put 10 people side by side, all 140 pounds, and they’re going to look dramatically different based on what they’re doing and their body composition.”
So true. Edwards is now looking to help others on their health journey, and you can follow her on Instagram @myorganicportal to learn more.
Do you have a story to share with us? Reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from a physician or other healthcare professional and is not a substitute for the advice of a legally qualified healthcare professional. If you have specific medical questions, please consult your doctor or healthcare professional promptly. Nothing in this article should be construed as an attempt to offer or render medical advice.