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TDS data architect laughs her way to fitness

Sally Greenwood receives her Get Fit Challenge

Sally Greenwood receives her Get Fit Challenge "Most Improved Woman" trophy from IB Publisher Jon Konarske.

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Anyone who’s ever embarked on a fitness journey knows that losing weight requires a stern dedication to healthy eating and exercise, as well as a steadfast refusal to give in so readily to the siren call of ice cream. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun along the way.

Just ask Sally Greenwood. The TDS Telecom data architect recently took home the Most Improved Woman trophy in IB’s Get Fit Challenge, shedding a remarkable 40 pounds in just six months. And since the competition wrapped up last fall, she’s continued on with her mission, sticking with her exercise and diet regimen with an eye toward her ultimate goal of losing 60 pounds.

But just a smidgen of that weight likely evaporated as a result of a vigorous, calorie-burning belly laugh early on in the competition.

During one of her workouts at Hybrid Fitness in Fitchburg, Greenwood’s trainer, Grant Brooks, was challenging her to step up her game. Unfortunately, Brooks wasn’t exactly getting his point across.

“I have inner-ear damage in one ear, which means that in a setting with a lot of ambient noise I have trouble hearing low tones like men’s voices,” said Greenwood. “So Grant has a fairly low voice, and he had taught us to do two different warm-ups. One was where you would walk down and back and bring your knees up high in front of you, kind of like you were a drum major, and then there was another one where you’d walk back and forth, but you would bring your feet up in back like you were kicking your butt.

“And so one day I was doing it, and he kept saying, ‘Sally, hineys! Hineys!’ And I thought that meant I should be kicking my butt — you know, I was doing the wrong one. But it turned out he was saying ‘high knees!’ And he kept yelling at me, and so I finally stopped and said, ‘I am kicking my hiney.’ And he said, ‘No, no. I’m saying ‘high knees,’ and then the whole group just cracked up.”

It’s unlikely the rest of Greenwood’s fitness journey was that fun, but it was fruitful. Not only did Greenwood lose 40 pounds during the competition (and around another 10 after that), she also reaped the benefits of a healthier lifestyle. That’s helped her perform better at her job, which tends to be fairly sedentary.

“I found that I now have an even longer attention span, and mentally I’m more alert, and because I work out in the morning before I come to work, when I get to the office I’m all warmed up and ready to go,” said Greenwood. “There’s no kind of break-in period — that 20 minutes in the morning when you’re trying to figure out which end is up. And it’s also a really good stress reliever.”

The key to success

Of course, while Greenwood’s weight loss has been eye-opening, it’s not the metric she’s most interested in.

“[This challenge] was not about who lost the most weight,” said Greenwood. “The pretesting that was done at Meriter Heart and then the corresponding post-testing tested far more than just what the number on the scale was. They did blood sugar, they did lipids, so they were looking at your triglycerides and your cholesterol. … So they were really looking at your overall health, not just the number on the scale.”

To Greenwood, whose job focuses on numbers and statistics, all those measures are important, particularly considering her family history.

“I keep track of my health numbers — so my good cholesterol, bad cholesterol, blood sugar, those kinds of things — because over the years they tend to kind of creep up if you don’t do anything, and my dad had type 2 diabetes, and he developed it at about this age, so I know that if I keep my blood sugar in a normal range, I’m not going to have to deal with that.”


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