This edition of our Member Spotlight features Charity Miles member Olga Zingerman! Olga, who currently calls Washington DC home, has led an interesting life as she has lived in 3 different countries throughout her lifetime! I recently had the opportunity to chat with the IDF veteran about Charity Miles, her recent weight loss and her work as both a IT specialist and health coach with nutrition company Optavia. Check it out!
“I was born in Russia, grew up in Israel and once I moved to the US I went from living in Brooklyn to the suburbs of DC, where I have lived for the past 9 years with my husband and 5 year old son. I’ve been working in IT ever since I took the first technical course in the Israeli Defense Forces, where I spent six years and reached the rank of a Captain. So it’s almost 20 years in the IT world. My favorite part about IT was always helping others, especially when it’s almost a life or death situation, like a printer that stops working five minutes before an important meeting.”
Olga was introduced to Charity Miles in 2015 and has been using the app consistently ever since. “Back in 2015 I started running for the first time in my life and my friend suggested that I use MapMyRun. I saw that they use challenges with minor prizes and that these challenges were attended by hundreds of thousands of their users. Around the same time I ran across a story of a girl in Alabama who lost her baby boy through an unethical forced adoption practice. And I really wanted to help somehow. So I spoke to the CIO of the company I worked for at the time. He put me in touch with the Chief Business Officer of Global Giving. When I shared my idea with her she told me about Charity Miles. I instantly fell in love with the app and have been using it since.”
Olga’s workout routine recently changed after an unfortunate accident in February of 2017. “I used to run 3 miles a day since Sept 2015, but I injured my neck pretty badly last February in a car crash. Since then I have had to alternate between walking and running, depending on how my neck feels. On bad days I’ll do no exercise or just walk a mile. On good days I’ll run 2-3 miles and walk the rest to complete the 5 miles. Occasionally, I go for shorter walks/runs with my 5 year old son.” When using the app Olga logs miles for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, as she is passionate about helping children in need.
As time has passed Olga has learned that there are multiple components to living a healthy life. “Although I truly learned to enjoy exercise and these days I can’t see myself without the outdoor walks/runs, indoor rock climbing and dancing, I learned that exercise alone is not enough to be in good health. I’ve been battling with being almost 40 lbs overweight for a little over 5 years now. I had to acknowledge in the process that I have an addiction to sugar and as with any other addiction, you can’t win the battle simply on will power alone. We all need a coach and a support group to help us win such battles. Which is why I’m absolutely ecstatic that my friend introduced me to Optavia health programs about 3 months ago. They have amazing health plans and 53 days ago I tried one of them.”
“I started the plan with a mindset of “Oh, this is just another diet. I’ll give it a try and maybe fail a couple of times.” Three weeks later, I completely changed my thinking to the point of “I am never going back!” And that was the power of the four components of the health plan I’m on. Part of my program includes taking pictures of myself holding bags of sugar in the amount of the weight that I lost. I make these ‘sugar shots’ at every 5 lb mark. As of this morning I’m 0.2 lbs away from my 25 lb mark!”
After her initial success with Optavia, Olga was hooked. “The day after I took my first sugar shot I had this mental image in my head of a belt around my waist full of sugar. I kept thinking to myself, “This is what I’ve been running with for the past 3 years.” The more I learned about the health benefits of their programs, the more I wanted to help spread the word. That understanding that none of us should be wearing these belts [of sugar] was what really motivated me to become a health coach. When my health coach suggested I join their ranks, I felt this is what I really wanted to do. I absolutely love helping others become the best version of themselves! And that’s pretty much the same thing that makes my work as a health coach for Optavia so exciting! I still do IT consulting part time, so I get to enjoy helping people in both worlds: IT and personal health.”
“Optavia has many health coaches and they are all amazing, but I want to take my coaching to the next level. I really want to encourage businesses to give more to various charities, and I plan to incorporate that into my work as a health coach. I’m going to partner with companies where they get to choose a charity to raise money for. I will donate 1% of the amount that their employees will spend on Optavia products to that charity.”
Congratulations on the weight loss Olga and keep up the amazing work! You are no doubt making a huge difference!
For more information on Optavia you can visit www.optavia.com.
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