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 » Gallery: Participants  |  Special Report

Woman endeavors to beat family odds

Kimberley Everett

By Lee Smith
CNN

Kimberley Everett
Kimberley Everett

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CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta checks the weekly progress of Kimberley, David, Kathryn, Pam and Michael in the 'New You Resolution.' (January 13)
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PRESCRIPTION FOR CHANGE
•Get on a routine eating schedule -- no more skipping meals.
•Fight family history with high fiber diet and calorie control
•Pack power lunches and choose fast food wisely
•Choose variety in workouts: combine circuit cardio, weight training and a stress-release class

(CNN) -- Not many 24-year-olds aspire to look like a woman in her 60s.

But Kimberley Everett, a young suburban Atlanta professional, says she wouldn't mind having a figure like a certain sexagenarian.

"I hope to look like Tina Turner with a great body when I am 60," Everett says. "... If I could look like Tina, that'd be awesome."

As one of five people taking part in CNN's eight-week New You Resolution program, Everett would like to kick-start a plan to transform her life in 2004, keeping an online journal about her experience for CNN.com.

"I do need to get healthy," she says. "This is a step in the right direction."

Everett admits she needs to shed about 15 pounds from her 5-foot, 138-pound frame, develop good eating habits and commit to a weekly exercise regime.

"I think this is the most I've ever weighed," she says, noting her problem has grown since she graduated from college in 2001.

But a family history of diabetes and heart disease is perhaps Everett's strongest motivation. Both of her parents are diabetics, increasing her chances of getting the disease. As an African-American, she also is more prone to the disorder, according to the American Diabetes Association. And her father, who turns 50 in January, suffered a heart attack in summer 2002.

"I just need to watch it," she says.

Genetics aside, Everett says she hopes to stave off her risk for diabetes and other health problems by controlling her weight through diet and exercise.

To get started, she had her first physical in six years in December, receiving a clean bill of health. Taking her doctor's advice to eat right and get fit, Everett aims to consult with a nutritionist and learn workout tips from a personal trainer. Joining a gym will be her next move, she says.

"There's an L.A. Fitness close to my home. My girlfriend said cute boys are there, so why not?" says Everett, readily admitting she's single.

With about a 55-hour workweek, however, her hectic schedule may pose a problem in changing her lifestyle.

In addition to a full-time job in public relations at the Art Institute of Atlanta, she puts in two nights a week and weekends in retail sales. She makes room for a social life, too, hanging out with girlfriends. (She says she drinks alcohol but doesn't smoke.)

She stays so busy that nutritious meals are few and far between sometimes.

"I eat out a lot 'cause I'm on the go a lot," says Everett, adding she rarely cooks because she doesn't have the time and "I don't really want to."

Fried foods are among her vices. She also says she skips breakfast in the mornings. "I was trying to cut back," she explains. "I was eating too much. I felt I was gaining weight."

Besides initiating a healthier diet, Everett says she's shooting for at least three sessions a week at the gym. "I'm scheduling time to work," she says. "I'll schedule time to work out."

She also will seek some reinforcement from her younger sister and roommate, Kemisha, 22, herself a busy college student. "I think she'll join in and get on track with me," the older sibling says.

Working out last year helped her to lose weight, Everett says, but she admits her schedule and laziness derailed her then.

"It's a new year," she says. "I know I'm getting older. I'm thinking about my life and future. You have to exercise."


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