Make a Healthy Choice Today!

Success Story

Beating Down the Pounds!

This is a story about the health journey our State of Idaho employees in Lewiston are taking. Since January 25, 2016, this group of 12 employees (9 women and 3 men) has lost a total of 134.2 pounds. They are participating in the Public Health Idaho North Central District’s Diabetes Prevention Program …. and they are burning rubber! I interviewed six participants and want to share their thoughts with you. Maybe their journey will inspire you – I know it did me!

Question: What motivated you to take the class?

  •  I gained 20 pounds since I started working for the State. My previous job was not as sedentary.  In addition, the women in my family struggle with obesity and diabetes.
  • I have had gestational diabetes twice and I haven’t been feeling “great” lately. By the time I was on Week 5 of this program I realized that feeling great really comes with what you are eating and fueling your body with.
  • I enrolled to become more educated regarding diabetes and becoming healthier.
  • I wanted to lose weight before summer and improve my physical stamina for outdoor activities.
  • I wanted to gain knowledge about Diabetes. I wanted to learn how to make health choices and to choose wisely for a lifetime. I am really motivated by my six co-workers who decided to make this a personal challenge! We all put $20 in a pot and the one who loses the largest percentage of weight by the end of July, wins the pot. Now that's a big motivator!
  • I have had several relatives who are diabetic and my sister was recently been diagnosed so I enrolled to show support for her and to learn more about the disease itself.

Question: What is the biggest change you noticed in the first several weeks?

  • My body reacts badly to carbohydrates. I am not able to lose weight even while hitting the target fat and calorie numbers if I consume too many unhealthy carbs. That's an important change for me.
  • I feel SO much better each day. Each day I am stepping on the scale because I am excited to see the results. It a GREAT feeling.
  • I started putting myself first - event at work, I take breaks and go walking with others in the office. The time away from my desk gives me stamina to make it through the day. I am less stressed and less tired, and I have way more energy than I ever had!
  • I have become more aware of what I am eating and the value of those foods. My clothes already fit better and I sleep sounder at night.
  • I have no cravings for sugar or carbs. A small taste of something will suffice. I also make time for daily activity or exercise, even if it is just using my stairs!
  • Counting fat grams! I have been attending Weight Watchers meetings since September so have been using a Weight Watchers App to track my food. Now I am tracking food doubly.

Question: What tools are you using to stay motivated?

  • The mirror. My co-worker group, and the daily weigh-in.
  • I use MyFitnessPal (free app) to track my meals and snacks and keep notes and progress. I also bought a FitBit because I wanted to know ALL the time what my steps were; now all the data is at my fingertips.
  • I have posted pictures on my fridge of when I was healthier. I’ve set a reward for myself when I reach certain milestones.
  • My motivators are attending class with weekly weigh-ins, tracking fat grams, daily walks with co-workers, friendly competition with my co-workers at work.
  • My peers are my motivation. Watching co-workers make healthy choices makes it easier for me to do the same, like getting up from the computer to take a walk. The weekly classes are a motivator, the food logs we turn in, and the goal review. Writing everything down makes me more accountable!  
  • I stay motivated by the camaraderie of the members in the class. My section of the office is all participating in the program – six of us - so we are cheering each other on. And, if you have an off day, they are right there encouraging you to get back on the program.

Question: What are your biggest challenges at this point?

  • Remembering to keep up on my food journal. I just signed up for MyFitnessPal on my phone and it seems to be easier.
  • Staying under the fat goal (grams) has been the hardest this first few weeks, realizing foods that “seem” ideal for your diet or don’t seem like you are indulging that actually are WAY higher in fat and are not the best options were eye opening. This has been by far my most eye opening education when it comes to living better and working to be healthier.
  • In the last two weeks I have found it has been much easier to stay within the fat grams and seeing the results really encourages me to make healthier choices every day.
  • My biggest challenge is staying on track when the other individual in my household eats terrible and has lots of junk available.
  • Learning a new lifestyle around fat gram intake and daily exercise.
  • Staying under my daily amount of fat grams. We are currently watching fat intake. Depending on our current weight, we are allowed a daily allotment. Another challenge for me is exercise. The sad thing is I really do have the time for it, but I just find myself doing other things instead. The feeling of accomplishment when I do get a nice workout in is fantastic.
  • Adding exercise to my day is a challenge. It seems that there is never enough time. However, exercise is such an important thing for combating diabetes that I need to find a way to squeeze it in. When my sister began her exercise program, her daily sugar numbers dropped by half after 3 weeks.

Question: What is your hope - our goal?

  • I want to get down to a healthy weight, be in better physical condition, and establish lifelong habits to help me remain there.
  • My goal is to lose 35% of my weight; I have already lost 7% in 5 weeks! Throughout this year, with this program, I would like to make a substantial lifestyle change so that I feel great. I want my children to work at keeping up with ME!
  • I would ultimately like to drop 40 lbs., feel better and get off of some of my medication.
  • Lose enough weight so my BMI doesn’t indicate I am overweight and I can go biking/hiking with adult children.
  • My hope is to continue with the healthy eating choices I have been making, and have them become a lifelong change. I also need to step up my exercise plan. When I joined this class I had to ponder if I really wanted to do it because it was a year-long commitment. I decided that I could commit to it because it was for me. It was for my health, it was for my wellbeing. And hopefully it will result in me living a long healthy life, free of diabetes.
  • My goal is to be healthier and more fit. I want to make the things I am learning about health and exercise a stepping stone to aging well. I would like to be much healthier at 62 than I am this year at 61.

Submitted by,

Wendy Ringling, Region 2, Health and Welfare
Laura Schumaker, Region 2, Health and Welfare
Jennifer Funk, Region 2, Health and Welfare
Mary Kay Johnston, Region 2, Health and Welfare
Traci Rugg, Region 2, Health and Welfare
Margo McCroskey, Region 2, Health and Welfare

Are you a State of Idaho Employee, Retiree, or spouse with a Success Story to share? Email Health Matters.

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