In the throes of making New Year's resolutions, it is always inspiring to hear of others who have successfully gone where we hope to tread in the new year. The following are stories of the progress some Floridians made on their 2001 resolutions.
Brothers Frederick and Christopher Fey run HealthScreen America, a high-tech firm where medical tests identify potential health problems before they appear.
Last December, the Feys resolved to lose weight, saying they already talked the talk of good health and were ready to walk the walk.
Frederick Fey lost 11 pounds, dropping from 210 to 199. Christopher Fey is down from 206 to 193. Their resolutions for 2002 are to continue on the same downward spiral. (For once, that's a good thing.)
To boost his weight loss and cardiac fitness, Frederick Fey started a new routine a few weeks ago. He follows the "Body for Life" program and works out every morning at 5:30, except for Sunday.
Christopher Fey plans to buy a Stairmaster and free weights for his home, and he wants to log more miles and time on the stationary bike he already owns.
"It's not just about losing weight," Christopher Fey said. "It's about a healthy heart and living longer."
Writer, photographer and poet Ivy Bigbee vowed to clear out professional clutter in 2001.
In three months, she organized a study so packed with tools and by-products of her creative work that she could barely open the door. Bins, boxes and closets bulged with photo negatives, props, technical reference books, slides, camera gear, prints and office supplies.
After she finished the home office, she overhauled her entire life.
"There is no clutter anywhere in this house," Bigbee said. "It's all gone. I threw it away, gave it away or sold it. I'm putting down my pen and my camera. I've been there, done that, bought that T-shirt."
Bigbee said a diagnosis of breast cancer in February changed her goals. "My main focus now is going to be making pot roast and Sunday dinners for the family, and I want to be the magic in my grandchildren's lives."
Her clutter-free house is on the market, and as soon as it sells, she's moving. She eloped and re-married her former husband, John A. Bigbee, on Dec. 17, and she'll move to his home in Fairfax, Va., where she'll be near her two grown sons and three grandchildren.
"Everyone is so supportive and so happy we got back together," Ivy Bigbee said. "It's a modern miracle."
In the swim
Last year Queta Gavin wrote that she "was embarrassed to be a Floridian with no swimming ability." Gavin resolved to learn how, and her friend Lyn Deckman said she would teach her. Deckman, a computer consultant, taught swimming lessons for several summers when she was in high school and has a pool at her home.
Gavin received a bone marrow transplant April 4 to treat her leukemia, which came out of remission in September 2000.
Because of the transplant, her immune system is weak, and doctors advised her to stay out of pools, so she didn't learn to swim in 2001.
Her resolution stands for 2002, and Deckman is still eager to help.
"I'm feeling absolutely marvelous. I'm here and walking around, and by summer when the doctors give me the OK, I'm going to get in that pool," Gavin said.
Tammy Simon called it quits when she went to bed last New Year's Eve. After 15 years of smoking up to two packs of cigarettes a day (except for when she was pregnant with her two sons, Brandon, 10 and Corey, 9), she quit.
She hasn't smoked a cigarette since.
Simon, who is a wife, mother and student at Florida Community College at Jacksonville, used a combination of nicotine patches and Zyban, a prescription medication that is supposed to make stopping smoking easier. For the past six months, she's been off the patch and the medication. To combat her cravings, she eats candy.
"Right now, I probably have at least 45 pieces of candy in my purse -- Cream Life Savers and Life Savers suckers," she said. "People at school call me 'The Candy Lady.'"
Tammy Simon said besides the obvious benefits of breathing easier and having more energy, quitting smoking has made her life simpler in everyday ways. When she goes shopping at the mall, for instance, she doesn't have to park near an entrance so she can duck out for a nicotine fix.
Tammy Simon's husband, Eddie, also resolved to quit smoking in 2001, but he hasn't succeeded.
His 40th birthday was New Year's Day, and Tammy was hoping he'll resolve again to kick his pack-a-day habit.
"Smokers are always saying they are waiting for a big day to quit. It doesn't get much bigger than that," she said.
Brandy Hilboldt Allport is a staff writer for the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, Fla.
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