Tawny Archer, a provider executive at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE), has lost 82 pounds since the beginning of her weight loss journey. It all began when she was pregnant with her now 17-month-old daughter.

“When I was pregnant two years ago, I had gestational diabetes really bad where I had to take medication, I had to go talk to a counselor about meal prepping and logging my food because if I didn’t something could happen to my child or me,” Archer said.

Her doctor told her if she did not make a change, she would have type 2 diabetes within five to 10 years. So, she knew she needed to do something.

“The moment you look at your kid, you think ‘I want to be around for them for forever’,” she said. “I don’t want to be sick. I want to be active and I want to do everything with them.”

Archer had tried to lose weight in the past, but it was too overwhelming. She has now found a system that works for her. “Little baby steps to get to your goal will help you succeed way more than just doing it all at once,” Archer said. “If you start out with little goals that will help you get to your end game.”

Instead of trying to change her exercise and eating habits all at once, she started by working to change one habit at a time. “I started with the food portion of weight loss,” Archer said. “If I did both at the same time, I would quit. It would be too much.”

She now works on her eating habits using the Weight Watchers program at BCBSNE.  “I like having a support team at BCBSNE through Weight Watchers,” she said. “Having coworkers around me with the mentality of getting healthier and changing the current situation is so great.”

Archer’s coworkers have also found inspiration in her and have enjoyed watching her journey.

“I am so proud of Tawny,” said Debby Synowicki, another provider executive at BCBSNE. “She started on this journey with a goal. She is determined and dedicated to reach that goal. She has come so far, and the benefits of her determination have really paid off. She is a beautiful individual inside and out.”

Archer feels good that she can be an inspiration to others, but she also knows it always comes back to her – and her daughter. “I want to be a role model, but on the other hand, I am doing this for myself because I have to,” Archer said. “If I was still 82 pounds heavier right now, I would have a harder time keeping up with my daughter,” she said. “She’s walking now, so being able to be there for her in those moments makes me so happy. That’s why I do it.”

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*Wise & Well is a monthly wellness series highlighting BCBSNE employees and their dedication to health and wellness.