Chrissy and I work together on the founding corporate board of Kituwah LLC, the business diversification company of the Eastern Band Cherokee. That’s been a great experience because I get a chance to visit the Cherokee homelands more often and it has blessed me new friends, especially Chrissy. I love her and I’m so inspired by all that she has (and will) accomplish. We are kindred spirits in that we share a history of workaholism. She and I and Candessa Tehee ᎢᏯ ᏗᎯ and Julie Reed have committed to doing the Cherokee Harvest Moon Half Marathon in Cherokee, NC in Fall 2021. Join us! The run/walk is 8 months away and if everyone will wear the darn mask and take the vaccine when it’s offered, we can all go back to traveling and being around each other.

Here she is, in her own words:

“I am Chrissy Arch, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee (EBCI), and have resided on the Qualla Boundary my whole life. I have been married for 36 years, have a daughter and three grandchildren.

I have a degree in Accounting from Western Carolina University (WCU), and have worked for almost 30 years for the EBCI in many capacities, from Accounting to Tourism/Economic Development to Health Care. I have served in such roles and the Accounting Manager for the Tribe, Chief Financial Officer for the Hospital, and when I left the hospital, I was the Chief Operations Officer. These are all high stress jobs, and as a workaholic, I worked long hours in each of these jobs.

About three years ago, the leadership team at the hospital was testing out a leadership development program in partnership with WCU. The last assignment of the class was to develop your 10 year plan. I was shocked to realize that in 10 years, I would be 65 years old!! I never completed that 10 year plan. I did get busy figuring out what the next 10 years of my life would look like.

When I retired, what would I do? My work was my passion and my past time, what would I do when I was no longer working. I actually googled hobbies to enjoy in retirement, because I had no clue. At this time, I had high blood pressure, took two different medications to treat it, and felt so bad I was sure I would soon be diabetic. I knew that in retirement, I wanted to be able to enjoy time spent with my grandkids and if I didn’t make changes soon, I would spend my retirement in doctor’s offices.

In October 2017, I made the commitment to my health journey. I had tried and failed so many times at losing weight, I decided I was not going to fail again. The Orbera Balloon was all the talk on the radio, during a work trip to Charlotte. I researched the procedure and decided if I could find an office that did the procedure, I would make the commitment and pay out of pocket for it since it was not covered by insurance.

From November 2017 to April 2018, I lost 55 pounds! I used the balloon as a tool, but put the work in on my fitness, nutrition, and mindset. I maintained most of my weight loss for 3 years by working out daily, adding in two 30 minute walks a day (for mental clarity), a portion controlled meal plan, and a super food shake that is loaded with nutrients. I continue to focus on learning more about nutrition, try to stay away from processed foods as much as possible, and cook our meals at home. My goal is to stay on track 80-90% of the time with nutrition, and have treats occasionally.

During 2020, I completed two 8 week workout programs, one 6 week program and a 30 Day Running program. I also completed my first 5K ever and can brag that I actually ran the whole time!!! On January 4th, I will begin a new 9 week workout program and commit to the nutrition program, in hopes of losing the weight I put on over the holidays. I have also committed to the Harvest 10K in September, so I will be dusting off my running shoes once again.

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