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Shelby County FSSA hits gym, drops bad habits

Tanya Monroe just needed a little encouragement.

The Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) state eligibility manager said she all she really needed was a bit of a push from fellow staff – and friends – in order to get moving in a better health direction.

They obliged, and due to a combination of hard work, plenty of willpower and reliable friends, Monroe has attained several of her personal health goals in recent years.

Pictured right: Shelby County Division of Family Resources employees Tanya Monroe, Jackie Quick, Tonya Hanna and Dallana Novoa have been working out together at a Shelbyville gym. They’re committed to making healthier choices and reaching their fitness goals.

Not all of it was easy.

“I definitely need the encouragement and motivation,” she said, mentioning that the support of her colleagues helped her quit smoking.

Now, she’s working on dropping 40 to 50 pounds after becoming part of a rather exclusive Shelby County “club.”

Monroe said the Shelby County Division of Family Resources’ office has held several “Biggest Loser” weight loss contests within the last year, and workouts and other get-healthy goals have been bolstered by the opening of a brand new Planet Fitness.

But it’s the commitment of Monroe and her co-workers that is something truly “out of this world.”

And they don’t just “talk the talk,” they literally “walk the walk.”

“Several of us have started working out together on our lunch breaks, doing a 30-minute circuit three to four days a week,” Monroe explained.

Other smokers have permanently put down the cigarettes and have picked up the free weights as well. As a whole, they’ve tried to live less sedentary lives at work and at home.

“Since my work is mostly on the computer all day, it’s easy to sit there and not move for long periods of time,” Monroe said. “I enjoy someone coming to my office door and saying, ‘Ready for a 10 to 15 minute walk?’ If that didn’t happen, I would just sit longer than I should.”

Monroe has worked for the State of Indiana for 18 years, a tenure nearly as long as that of colleague and friend Tonya Hanna whose fitness story mirrors that of her co-worker.

Also a state eligibility consultant, Hanna will celebrate her 20th anniversary of state employment in 2019 in perhaps her healthiest physical state yet.

She’s taken several steps toward getting there in recent months.

“I am more conscious of the food I eat,” she said, mentioning that she tries to make healthy food choices, even when dining out.

Hanna “landed” on Planet Fitness with Monroe and others, and that has been yet another positive development in her ongoing fitness quest.

Right beside her, often, are friends making the same get-fit commitment.

Talk about strength in numbers.

“We have also started working out at Planet Fitness regularly which makes me feel better, and having other people to work out with is definitely a motivator,” Hanna said.

Others who have been part of the office’s workout regime include state eligibility caseworkers Dallana Novoa and Melissa Decatur, and state eligibility consultant Jackie Quick.

With a shared determination to get healthy, it looks as though that group will continue on a positive path.

After all, the overall goal, at its heart, is simple.

“Several of us in the office have been trying to lose weight,” Hanna said. “We wanted to motivate each other. My main reason for wanting to work out and eat better is to stay healthy and feel good.”

Story by Brent Brown, INSPD

Photos courtesy of Tanya Monroe