INDIANAPOLIS — The trip to Turks and Caicos was planned as a treat to herself. It was supposed to be a quick getaway in early October of 2019. Instead, Sharvonne Williams collapsed the day before she was set to fly home, and she didn't return to Indianapolis until Halloween.
She said it came on suddenly, and her fall was so hard, she broke her ankle as she hit the floor. Williams said she couldn't move her left side or speak. At first, doctors thought she had a heart attack. But eventually, Williams was diagnosed with a transient ischemic attack, or TIA. It's where blood flow to the brain is temporarily disrupted. Fortunately, her "mini-stroke" symptoms disappeared, but Williams said it sounded the alarm that she needed to change.
"I'm like, 'OK, I don't need this to happen more than once. I need to make sure…that I'm taking care of myself better,'" Williams said.
Once her ankle healed, Williams started working out. She got a discounted YMCA membership through work and became an expert in finding free public workouts at the park near her house.
During the pandemic, she transitioned to BeachBody virtual workouts at her home in her Warren Township. The program offered menu ideas and portion-controlled containers to help her measure how much she ate.
In two years, she's dropped 60 pounds.
"I didn't realize that I got to that point, you know until you see pictures. You took that picture like 'why do I look like that?'" Williams said.
Her pictures soon became a source of pride. She started posting her workouts and progress on social media. She became a fitness coach encouraging followers that a Best You means controlling your mindset.
"I stopped trying to like weigh myself every time. Because it makes me feel anxious. For me, it's how I feel in my clothes," Williams said.
Williams, 31, recently got a tattoo on her right forearm to remind her of a daily focus.
"It says, 'Fight for You.' And I got this because I feel like I fight for my life...every single day," Williams said.
Part of her routine is taking five daily medications to control her blood pressure and hopefully prevent another stroke. It's a reminder to do her part and hopefully inspire others that they can get healthier too.
"I need to go based on like how I feel. And I know when I put good things into my body, I feel good. And when I put crap in my body, I do not feel good. It's not a perfect journey. It takes practice. And sometimes you fall, and then you just need to have that motivation to get back up again," Williams said. "I am passionate about this, and it's unfortunate that these events had to happen... for the light bulb to click. But I'm grateful for it."
Williams posts daily about her workouts and her diet. She loves to encourage others to find 30 minutes a day — even if it's in three separate 10-minute intervals to move toward a better you. She recently started advocating for women to get heart-healthy as part of the American Heart Association Real People, Real Change program. You can follow Williams on Facebook and Instagram.