How One Woman Restored Her Health, Literally.
This story originally appeared in the Cincinnati Health & Life Winter 2016 Issue
All she wanted was to fit comfortably in an airplane seat. Since joining the TriHealth Fitness & Health Pavilion’s HealthOne program in May, Lisa Marshall, of Mason, has reached that goal—and so many others. She has lost 58 pounds. She has cut daytime insulin use by two-thirds and her nighttime dose by more than half. Long-standing joint and muscle pain are gone. Marshall says even her vision has improved: “I was showing signs of glaucoma. Last month, my doctor saw major improvements in my eye health.”
Teresa Butt, of Cincinnati, has enjoyed the Pavilion’s swimming and exercise facilities for 20 years. Along the way, she found that age changes the body in many ways. She, too, decided to try the HealthOne program in May, and has since met her short-term goal of losing 31 pounds. In addition, she has experienced relief from the pain of osteoarthritis, and improvements in cholesterol and blood pressure. Butt loves the support network the program provides, and being able to work with a nutritionist. “I thought I was eating healthy,” she says, “but I didn’t look at things like salad dressing, with so many calories.”
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According to Kristen DeAngelis, R.D.N., several Pavilion programs focus on weight loss, but there are also programs offered for cancer wellness, musculoskeletal pain, joint pain and inflammation, and balance. The goals are about improving overall health, reducing risk factors for chronic preventable disease, and giving members the quality of life they deserve. DeAngelis explains: “That’s why we offer holistic, integrated services that include fitness and nutrition classes, athletic and personal training, cooking demonstrations, acupuncture and spa services.”
Plus, says DeAngelis, the more often patients experience community involvement and receive encouragement from Pavilion staff and fellow members, the easier it will be to make the changes to everyday behaviors that are essential for long-term weight loss. “The mission throughout TriHealth—and our culture—is to help the members in the community to live healthier lives,” she says. “Everyone on the staff is very involved and genuinely cares about our clients and their success.”
DeAngelis sees her role as dietitian, health coach and counselor, working hard to empower each individual through the health programs offered as well as individual nutrition consults. “When I meet a new patient,” she says, “I listen. What is his or her goal? What have they tried? What worked and what didn’t? I stress the importance of individualizing plans based on the participant’s lifestyle, and that we’ll work together to discover the best path for them.”
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Each week, participants leave with short-term goals and a strategic plan that both feed into their larger goal of improved health outcomes. A short-term goal might be a dietary strategy like eating breakfast daily or drinking 1 cup of water before having coffee, or it could relate to physical activity or stress reduction. DeAngelis helps each individual decide when, where and how they will effectively and realistically be able to achieve their weekly goals. Paying attention to these important details helps people incorporate new food regimens and activities into their daily routine.
“This program has a personal touch,” says Butt. “You become part of a community. Our group uses a Facebook page to encourage each other. It’s not just about weight loss, it’s about getting healthy and feeling good about ourselves.”
Marshall agrees: “This is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. Everyone on the staff helps keep me motivated. I love the social network and the chance to meet people. Someone in the program or on staff will say, ‘You’re looking good,’ and I just want to work harder.”
Butt has made big changes in how she eats. “I take 15 to 20 seconds to think about the food I’m going to eat. Is it really good for me? At restaurants, I ask questions about sauces and calories.”
Butt and Marshall both were nervous about what would happen when their HealthOne program ended. But they feel confident in the everyday life changes they’ve made—and know that they can continue working at the Pavilion and enjoying their path to better health.