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How 6 Start TODAY members celebrated their 1-year walking streak

From tattoos to IRL meetups, Start TODAY members celebrated 365 days of walking with us!
Kristine Davis start today tattoo
Start TODAY member Kristine Davis celebrated her 365-day walking streak with a tattoo.Courtesy Kristine Davis

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Last June, Al Roker and TODAY fitness contributor Stephanie Mansour (and a group of Start TODAY members!) kicked off the new workout plan with a walk around the plaza live on air. The segment inspired thousands of people across the country to join the Start TODAY Facebook group and commit to walking with us.

This month, those members are celebrating their one year “walkiversary.” And they commemorated the occasion in creative and inspiring ways.

From tattoos, to before-and-after pictures, to meeting up with a fellow member — and new friend — for an in-person walk, here’s how some members celebrated committing to their health for 365 days straight.

Tammy Carter Skov and Kris Martin

Start TODAY members Kris Martin and Tammy Carter Skov walking
Start TODAY members Tammy Carter Skov and Kris Martin met up for a walk IRL.Kris Martin

Tammy Carter Skov and Kris Martin took their virtual friendship offline, meeting up in person for a walk to celebrate their one-year anniversary as Start TODAY members.

“Today I finally got to meet the AMAZING Tammy Carter Skov. It was the best evening ... walking, then having dinner. I feel so blessed that she made the effort to meet up and spend time together. It was the best way to end the month. Thank you Tammy,” wrote Martin. “Happy Anniversary to all who joined as I did last year! Welcome to all the new members, I hope you love this group as much as I do, such a blessing in my life. Thank you Stephanie Mansour and Al Roker for always making things better, giving of your time and supporting us all.”

“I’m glad that it all worked out that I could meet the fabulous Kris Martin for a walk and a bite to eat this evening. It was such a beautiful night and the company was great!" wrote Carter Skov. "One of today’s quotes says to stay close to people who feel like sunshine, and Kris certainly fits the bill.”

Deborah Canady

Start TODAY member Deborah Canady walking.
Start TODAY member Deborah Canady was nicknamed "smiley" by other members.Deborah Canady

Deborah Canady joined the group a year ago as a way to hold herself accountable and find her inner strength.

“I needed to know why I was always starting something but never finishing something. I needed to know why I was getting in my own way,” she wrote. “The only thing I knew was I love walking and it was the one thing that brought me peace, joy and my own free therapy sessions; I knew I could do this. For the first time in my life, the first thing I thought about every morning was what I had to do for the day’s challenge. Nothing stopped me, it didn’t matter if the weather was bad I couldn’t walk I rode my bike, if I was in pain (back or knees), I pushed through because it was something inside that wouldn’t let me quit.”

She also reflected on the support she found in the group. “I had no intentions of opening up to strangers. I just wanted to post and move on, but y’all got me. I started seeing and feeling like I was safe, it was ok to share, and although we aren’t on the same levels; we all are trying to get to the same place to be happy and healthy,” she wrote. “Since, I’ve been in this group I’ve un-retired, got back in the gym, gotten used to meal prepping (which I thought I couldn’t eat the same thing everyday), and on the way to getting off blood pressure medication.”

wallking coloring book calendar
Deborah Canady posted her fully colored calendar celebrating one year of walking daily.Deborah Canady

Canady’s post included a fully completed yearly calendar and a selfie of her signature smile, which has led other members to nickname her “smiley.” “It’s funny because I never really thought my smile was anything special. I just smile more because some people see my bald head and make assumptions like I’m going through cancer so I get the sad look a lot. I want them to see I’m smiling, I’m ok and if they ask I will tell them I have alopecia,” she wrote.

Kristine Davis

Start TODAY member Kristine Davis after picture
Start TODAY member Kristine Davis posted a photo in her workout attire.Kristine Davis

Kristine Davis downloaded the first walking challenge on June 1, 2022 — a year later she hasn’t missed one day, she wrote in a post along with photos of her striking a pose in her workout attire.

Start TODAY Kristine Davis got a tattoo that reads "I did it"
Start TODAY member Kristine Davis celebrated her one-year walkiversary with a tattoo that reads "I did it."Kristine Davis

“Today I celebrate my 1 year anniversary with the Today Walking Program. I am so happy to be a part of this walking family,” she wrote in a second post. “I promised myself if I made it through 1 year of the Start Today Walking Challenge that I would get a tattoo that said ‘I did it’... Well here it is,” she wrote.

Peggy Sturges Hanfelt

Peggy Sturges Hanfelt before and after picture
Start TODAY member Peggy Sturges Hanfelt lost 15 pounds and celebrated one year as a member with a before-and-after picture.Peggy Sturges Hanfelt

Peggy Sturges Hanfelt celebrated her one-year anniversary with a before-and-after picture of her progress.

“I walk 2 miles in the morning 5-6 days each week. I haven’t done the best at changing my eating habits but I will keep trying. I am down 15 pounds that have stayed off! I contribute that to moving consistently!” she wrote. “I have more I hope to lose but this is a good start for me. I never thought I would ever exercise like this! I love this community of positivity. Thank you and here’s to the next year with you all!”

Heather Harne

Start TODAY member Heather Harne
Start TODAY member Heather Harne has walked every single day in the past year.Heather Harne

Heather Harne joined the Start TODAY challenge on June 1, 2022 and has walked every day since. In addition to walking, she is also celebrating a “daily lifestyle rituals streak,” which has helped her lose 38 pounds while “gaining strength, confidence and balance.”

Her rituals include: “Short, guided meditation, stretching and yoga, walking and other forms of movement, strength training, adding more hydration, and finding the foods that work for me,” she wrote.

But more than anything, she is celebrating her ability to overcome setbacks and learning to give herself grace and compassion. “I have gone through a lot of obstacles and challenges. Cancer survivor, lost all of my vision five years ago so now I am totally blind, dizziness and balance issues, lower back surgery, chronic migraines…” she wrote.

Making it a year didn’t come without setbacks, Harne admits. She shared words of encouragement to others: “There are so many things in our lives that can try to get in the way, but we can find ways over, around and through the struggles while celebrating the victories. Every step counts and is important as you keep putting one foot in front of the other, and keep moving forward. I am so proud of everyone in this group and all of your accomplishments from one step to 10 steps, 100 steps, 1000 steps, 10,000 steps… You should be proud of yourself!”

There are so many things in our lives that can try to get in the way, but we can find ways over, around and through the struggles while celebrating the victories.

said Start TODAY member Heather Harne

Celebrating success and accepting setbacks

In true Start TODAY fashion, members were open about encountering setbacks over the past year and struggling with a lack of progress toward their goals.

Karen Deery Smith has missed less than 10 days of walking since last June, but is disappointed in her progress. “This morning is a difficult morning. I started this journey one year ago. I did not weigh myself the entire time. I know what weighing myself does to my mind. I dreaded stepping on the scale this morning and anticipated writing you all that I lost only 10 or 15 pounds this year but that for the next year I will focus more on healthy meal choices. I was crushed today because my weight remains the same as it did a year ago. Actually four pounds heavier,” she wrote.

But Deery Smith did recognize her non-scale victories: Making exercise a consistent habit in her routine, her clothes feeling looser, her face looking thinner and feeling great emotionally and proud of her dedication and determination.

And she is using her walkiversary as inspiration to stay committed to her health routine: “The bottom line is that while today I am crushed and I’m fighting back tears I know that I will rally and I know that I will continue this journey, I know that I need to do more in terms of intensity, pick up the pace, put down the fork and find a way to a scale victory too. I’ll Keep stepping, not stopping now!”

As one member points out, no journey comes without roadblocks and detours. Supportive members are quick to remind others that being in the group, making yourself a priority and moving daily is an accomplishment in itself — even if you haven’t hit the milestones you had hoped to.

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