In 1997, Micayla was a typical college student at Abilene Christian University. It was her first venture into the big, wide world without her parents. She alone determined her eating, sleeping, and activity schedule. With early morning classes, challenging tests, and late nights reading and studying, she found it easier to grab fast food when she needed a quick bite or pick me up. The pounds slowly crept onto her 5’3” figure. This was a new issue that overwhelmed her and she felt unable to control. She tried different diets, but somehow, the pounds she lost would come back with even more added weight.
As Micayla continued with her studies, she found her interests in professions changing. She had entered ACU with her major as broadcast journalism. In a required sociology course, her interest was piqued. She was learning about social interaction and also, the job of social workers. She quickly switched her major and graduated from ACU in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work.
Not only did Micayla’s professional life bloom, her love life did also. Her best friend Kristy had been persistently hinting that Micayla needed to meet Kristy’s friend Andy, who had also attended ACU. Her biggest selling point was that Andy had red hair. Micayla loves red hair and finally, agreed to meet him, if only, to gaze at his colorful locks. The gaze turned into amazement as Micayla and Andy discovered their personalities perfectly complemented each other.
They were married on November 9th, 2002. In February 2005, they added daughter Avery to the family. Recently, they celebrated ten wonderful years of marriage with a weeklong anniversary trip to the Inn of the Mountain Gods in Ruidoso, NM. Micayla says, “Andy is my soul mate, I feel like I am married to my best friend.” With her family beside her, Micayla’s dreams and ambitions have turned into realities.
Her first job as a social worker was Director of Social Work at Windcrest Alzheimer’s Care Center. She has wonderful memories working with the ladies and gentlemen of Bluebonnet and the other wings at Windcrest. Another impacting job she held was with Abilene Psychiatric Center which is now called Acadia. She finally found her way to Hendrick Health System. Within the Hendrick Health System, she has worked in case management and as a support services manager with Hendrick Hospice Care before she was hired in her current job as manager of the MedSpa at Hendrick.
Before Micayla’s chapter at the MedSpa began, she found herself at an important turning point in her life. One day as she was looking through photographs and saw pictures of herself, she realized that she no longer looked like herself. “Basically, I had gained quite a bit of weight and I was not happy with myself,” said Micayla. “I did not want to continue down that path. I was miserable. I wanted to be a better example for my daughter.” She joined Hendrick Health Club where she initially started working out with a personal trainer for a couple of times a week. “When I saw results, I also started attending various workout classes.” She said. “I became comfortable enough to do my own thing,
Another thing that Micayla’s trainer recommended was to change her eating habits. She went from eating fast food to eating lean meats, fruits, and vegetables. “I really started watching the things that I put into my body,” says Micayla. Her grocery trips were planned with healthier foods and menus in mind. Her husband supported her efforts by making dinner when she was running late at work. She made eating healthy foods a priority.
She also set goals. Her gradual weight gain had left her weighing 208 pounds. Micayla set her weight goal at 125 pounds which was a healthier fit for her body frame. “I would describe myself as an all or nothing person,” says Micayla. “That was my focus and there was no derailing my focus.” Along the way to her weight goal, she also set smaller goals. “I would set a goal to be able to do a certain class or lift a certain weight. Ultimately, it was about my main goal to get healthy and how to be a healthier person.”
Her lifestyle changes became her passion. “When I saw results, I became passionate about exercise as a release and outlet.” Not only did she exercise twice a week with her trainer at Hendrick Health Club, she worked out by herself seven days a week. “Each morning I would go to the gym. On Sundays, when the gym was closed, I would step out the door and run in my own neighborhood.”
All this hard work and dedication paid off and she underwent a huge transformation, going from her past weight of 208 pounds to an even lower weight than her goal of 125 pounds. “I ended up at 108 pounds which really was underweight for my body,” says Micayla. With her newly improved body and healthier lifestyle, she even contemplated entering a fitness competition. “I saw definition that I never knew existed.” She explained. “It was amazing to reach my goal. I felt accomplished, proud, and confident. It was the greatest feeling.”
Despite the ups in her life, Micayla still had her share of life to struggle with and shared a personal grief in her life. Micalya says, “In the midst of this transformation, I got pregnant and actually miscarried in January, 2011 (in my first trimester). This was a very difficult time for Andy, Avery and me, but exercise helped me to have an outlet and was helpful in my grieving process. But, I also didn’t allow that huge event to let me fall back into my old habits and used it for motivation to continue. It actually catapulted me into pushing a little harder and achieving new things than before.”
Her amazing transformation did not happen overnight. It took almost two years for her to lose 100 pounds. It was hard work and persistence, coupled with a strong support system. Her husband and family supported her each step of the way. In September, 2011, she entered the 10K run during Balloonfest at Redbud Park. As she ran towards the finish line, she could hear the cheers of her husband Andy, her daughter Avery, her parents, and also, her mother-in-law. She finished second in her age group to which she says, “It was an amazing feeling to have my family there and to place in the run. I couldn’t do it without them.”
Micayla realized something else that has been a defining statement to her life. She says, “I realize that wherever I am at and in every circumstance I am in, there is a reason for it.” Only because of her steadfast persistence at the Hendrick Health Club did she come into contact with people who were discussing the MedSpa at Hendrick. These contacts enabled her to get interviews. Her new outlook on life has given her the desire to help others in additional and new ways. “I want to help people live beautifully and do that in a way that is not just improving the outside, but also, giving them confidence for life.” She says, “I would have never had the confidence to apply for this job, but with others encouraging me, I knew it was what I wanted to do and put my mind to achieve it.”
Micayla has many goals and resolutions for her future. “My ultimate goal is to be the best Christian example, wife, mother, and friend that I can possibly be. If I can achieve that, I know I can do everything else.” She would also love to run a half marathon. Her favorite activity is to run outdoors and enjoy the colors of nature. This past year, her priority has been to see the MedSpa open in May, 2012. She was even instrumental in the initial design and colors of the offices and service rooms. Now that its up and running smoothly, she is able to relax some. She says, “I am starting to have time to make exercise a higher priority again.”
One thing that Micayla feels is important is taking care of yourself. “I know for me, at this time in my life, it is a bit unrealistic to spend hours exercising seven days a week,” Micayla continues, “But get in cardio anywhere and anytime you can. Park farther away from your destination and take the stairs instead of the elevator.” She even suggests simply adding a workout DVD to your daily routine. A favorite of hers is by personal trainer and celebrity Jillian Michaels from the television show The Biggest Loser called, 30 Day Shred. Micayla says, “It really does make a difference when you make activity a part of your daily life.”
For Micayla, she has met her weight goals and has established new ones. She has seen the impact her healthier and active lifestyle has made on her daughter. “Avery likes to run and ride bikes. She calls it working out.” She is now the example she strived to be for her daughter. “We often take bike rides together. My husband, Andy, and I love to do outdoor activities with Avery.” She wants to continue to be healthy and an example to others.
Her passion is still strong for health and wellness. “I want to see the MedSpa at Hendrick grow even more. Each day I am inspired by my bosses, staff, clients, friends, and my family. They inspire me to improve and see things in different ways.” She says her experience as a social worker relates well to her life in her job and every situation she is placed in because social work is about everything working together efficiently and effectively.
In her current position she talks about goals with clients each day. What they want to treat, what the MedSpa offers, and then she works with her clients to setup a plan that together, they can achieve the perfect result. She really desires to help each person to become in her words, “The best person of their self, both inside and out.”