Less than two years ago, Yvette Renteria weighed 250 pounds and was struggling
with diabetes and depression. She ate out a lot, and her diet consisted
mostly of fried foods and baked goods. She never exercised.
“I was too comfortable doing nothing about it, but when I saw myself
in the mirror, I knew I wasn’t happy. And when I found out I had
diabetes, I realized I just couldn’t let myself go anymore,”
says Renteria, 28, who is an emergency room receptionist for Covenant Health.
“I am a wife and I have two stepchildren, and I wanted my family
to have a good future.”
Today, Renteria lives an active lifestyle and her weight has dropped to
170 pounds. Her eating habits have also transformed—she is on a
gluten-free diet and enjoys trying new, fresh recipes at home that mostly
consist of grilled lean meats and vitamin-rich veggies. Through exercise,
diet and insulin, Renteria is able to control her diabetes.
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She credits her health transformation to two things:
Covenant Health’s employee well-being program, called Choose Well, and returning to her childhood passion of boxing.
Renteria began working for Covenant Health in 2015. As a new employee,
she learned about Choose Well and the partnership with
Virgin Pulse, a program that rewards employees for certain levels of activity steps.
The well-being program was just the incentive she needed to get more active again.
“The program was amazing because it motivated me even more since
I could earn extra money just by moving,” she says. “I got
a Fitbit activity tracker and started doing about 4,000 steps a day, and
next thing I knew, I was doing 7,000 steps a day. As a reward, I took
myself to the casino with the money I earned from Choose Well, our caregiver
Once she gained the confidence she needed by walking, she decided to find
her passion again in an activity she hadn’t done since she was 11
years old – boxing.
“I was already a fighter when I was 11 and my dad was my trainer,
but when my parents got divorced when I was 17, I stopped going to the
gym and stopped caring. I let myself go and got out of shape,” says
Renteria. “When I started getting active again, I realized I needed
to do what makes me happy. So I went back to my hometown gym and starting
boxing again. I can’t believe how many steps I’m able to get
in during my boxing class!” Renteria now does CrossFit training
three mornings a week and boxing three evenings a week.
Her eating habits have taken a total 180 degree change as well. Grilled
chicken has become her favorite food, replacing the fried foods and baked
goods. The best part, says Renteria, is that her stepchildren, who are
11 and 13, are now eating healthier too.
“I used to drink a 12-pack of Cokes in two days,” she recalls.
“ Now I drink water like crazy and if I drink even one Coke, I feel
Weight loss was never Renteria’s transformation goal, she says. “My
goal was to feel better about myself. I didn’t care about weight
loss. I wanted to have energy to do things like I used to, and I didn’t
want to be such a grumpy person who hated life,” she says.
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Today, Renteria says she sees the change in herself when she looks at photographs
or when she’s putting clothes one. “I want to do stuff now
instead of feeling tired all the time. Now I hear myself saying to my
family, ‘Let’s go to the trail to walk or let’s go play
outside’. My family and friends now see a happier person too.”
Her advice to anyone else who wants to lose weight to get healthy is to
never throw in the towel, so to speak. “It was hard, but I pushed
myself through it. I stuck to my plan, and I never game up,” she says.
More from our successful life changer series:
A Successful Life Changer: A Caregiver Transforms Her Health for Herself
and Her Son