Gabs Amster grew up in a home where nutritious food and exercise were not part of daily life. By the time she was 15, she weighed 210 pounds, was bullied by her peers and struggled with self-confidence.
She knew she had to improve her physical and mental health and establish a new routine. She started eating clean foods and going to the gym, where she walked — and eventually ran — 5 miles three to five times a week. Inspired by her work, her family began incorporating healthier foods into their diets and started going with her to the gym.
“I want to share my story and be the inspiration for someone to find their confidence to accomplish a goal” -Gabs Amster
“My mental state improved drastically when I became healthier,” says Amster, who is from Charlotte. “I started loving who I was and became a new, confident person.”
At the University of South Carolina College of Nursing, Amster used her personal transformation journey to connect and empathize with many of her patients. She graduated Dec. 13 and is now a registered nurse at the Lake Norman Regional Medical Center in Charlotte on the critical care unit.
“I want to share my story and be the inspiration for someone to find their confidence to accomplish a goal,” she says. Amster remained steadfast in her commitment to those health goals in high school and into college. When the pandemic hit, new challenges arose — gyms closed, routines were disrupted — and then Amster contracted COVID-19.
“I remember being so out of breath and unable to even walk to my bathroom 6 feet away without feeling like I would pass out,” says Amster. After COVID, Amster found it challenging to find a new health routine. “It’s been hard with all of the outside obstacles, but I want to set a good example for my patients. So, I am yet again on a new journey. This time, less for weight loss, and more for healthy living.”
Amster has been open with patients about her health transformation, including during her junior year while working as an ultrasound tech.
“My patient came in with peripheral vascular disease and was over 300 pounds. As I was scanning, he noticed I was having challenges due to his weight, and he began to cry,” Amster says. “I showed him pictures of myself in high school and talked to him about my journey. I shared that he could make positive changes, too.”
Carolina Corner is a bimonthly column from the University of South Carolina. Learn about how the university impacts the Upstate with research projects, accomplishments of past and present students and faculty, events and more.