Damali Lambert Shares How Being a Student Health Leader Helped Her Lose 50 Pounds
In 2016, former Binghamton University student Damali Lambert filled out an application to become a health leader at her school. Fast-forward to a few weeks later, and accepting the position on her campus proved to be one of the most transformative experiences in Lambert’s college career. While serving as an event coordinator for her campus’ chapter, her involvement in the health leadership program ignited an intense passion for healthy living that has stuck with her even after graduating college in 2017. So much so that the now 22-year-old has continued to be involved and recently took on the role of Washington, D.C. City Captain in 2018, leading workouts for women in the D.C. area.
We had the chance to catch up with Lambert to discuss the impact fitness has had on her life, her post-graduate teaching career, and her workout routine. Keep reading to get to know this powerhouse Sweat Sister — including why she's forever a member of our squad!
1. Why did you want to become a health leader?
It was never about the losing weight, I always found myself to be beautiful. It was about the way it made me feel. Being an ambassador for a healthier lifestyle made me eat right, held me accountable for treating my body right with the right nutrients. I wanted to help other women have a space they felt comfortable discussing their health in and provide programs to help them feel like their best selves.
2. How was leading our health leadership program helpful to you personally? Did you develop healthier habits, lose weight, change your mindset, etc.? How did it help your peers on campus?
It held me to feel more responsible for myself and pushed me to eat healthier more, especially since it gave me a role where that was expected of me. It allowed me to explore more eating and cooking options and this is when I began losing weight. I started substituting out more fatty/unhealthy meals and becoming gym partners with those that needed more motivation. These two things combined is how I lost 50 pounds. Eating healthy went from being a chore to being a lifestyle. When it came to my peers, my change in lifestyle and body image motivated them to try new things and new workouts.
3. Can you describe your favorite moment/event?
My favorite event would have to be "Survival of the Prettiest!" This event is now an annual activity for the Binghamton University’s Chapter! I first created this activity in 2016 when I was the event coordinator. We worked with the men’s basketball team [on campus] and so many campus organizations and fraternities joined in! It was a relay of different fitness and fun activities!
4. What is your current profession and can you detail your job responsibilities? How has being involved with the program helped you grow and successfully navigate other opportunities?
I’m currently a kindergarten teacher! I ensure classroom safety and policies are enforced. I create individualized lesson plans for students. I foster a warm and engaging work environment for young children between the ages of five through six. I enforce a curriculum to teach children to read and write. I monitor student interactions and nurture cooperation. I guide students in building their social, emotional, physical, cognitive and language and literacy skills. Being a part of the health leadership program has helped me to handle more at once for sure! It’s given me more energy and organization to work through long days and look for the best in everyone. It’s given me a more positive attitude.
5. What’s been your biggest career highlight to date?
My biggest career highlight would have to be [mentoring] one of my students. At the beginning of the school year, she was unfocused, uninterested and refused to follow teachers’ directions. I started a case study on the student and worked with her family on behavior and academic improvement plans. A month into working individually with the student and building our relationship she interacted more, felt more comfortable in the school, grew academically and was excited to come to school every day.
6. When balancing a busy schedule, it's important to prioritize your health. After graduating from the program, did you continue to work out and eat healthily?
Of course! It has been harder since I have way fewer accountability partners and less time. However, I continue to work out at least four times a week! Even if I can’t make it to the gym I have a gym mat and do ab workouts for 30 minutes. Since college, I’ve eaten predominately vegan dishes.
7. Mind sharing some of your favorite workouts and go-to healthy meals?
Workouts: INSANITY is to live for! Another favorite, Soca Zumba; I love sweating to some good Caribbean music!
Healthy Meals: Vegan Cauliflower Mac & Cheese! Vegan Cauliflower Pizza!
8. Are you still involved with the foundation? If so, how do you plan to help us continue to make fitness fun and decrease childhood obesity rates in America?
Yes, I am! I am currently the D.C. City Captain for PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT! I plan on continuing doing weekly workouts in D.C.! I lead a lot of soca infused workouts. As a teacher, I plan on using that to educate parents and work with school leaders to make sure we’re giving parents the right information on the importance of decreasing childhood obesity. I want to plan events to enforce healthier living from an earlier age.
9. Why do you continue to be involved? Why should other young women become involved?
I continue to be involved because I love this organization! Before I joined the program, I was physically and mentally lazy and drained. This program gave me an opportunity to take better care of myself and love and appreciate myself. It also gave me sisters that I have for a lifetime and support me as I grow in whatever I plan to do. Along with how much impact I’m able to have on the women in my community. Other young women should become involved because, for one, it looks great on your resume! On a more serious note, PGS is a great way to interact with women much like yourself, a great environment to grow in and a safe space for emotional support whether it’s providing or receiving.
10. What’s next for you? What are your goals for the future?
Next? Hopefully, law school part-time as I continue to teach. I’d love to open up an exoneration clinic sometime in the future and have a big brother big sister mentorship program in at-risk communities.
11. If you could offer one piece of advice to young women, what would it be?
If I could offer any advice to young women, it’s that a healthier lifestyle is not about appearance, it’s about how you make yourself feel on the inside. Don’t rush the process, take your time and you’ll get to where you want to be just like I did!
Want to join the health leadership program? Applications open annually on March 1st and close on June 1st. Click here for more details.