Several momentous things have changed for me health-wise since I started working at Stanford School of Medicine over six years ago. In 2006, I weighed 275 lbs. I had been overweight all of my life and was just diagnosed as pre-diabetic. That year I had weight-loss surgery. Within six months, I dropped 120 lbs. Then, in January of 2010, after 20 years of a pack-a-day habit, I quit smoking.
I'm not a cheerleader by any means, but the bottom line for me is that the Stanford BeWell programs support the lifestyle I want to live. Stanford has put all the building blocks in front of me, and I have chosen to work with them because I want to feel good about myself. Yes, the overall longevity of my life/health aspect is important, but it's almost a side note to that fact that these things can and do make me happy in my life.
I’ve taken advantage of several of the BeWell resources to support these changes and would directly attribute my success in keeping my weight off and my status as a non-smoker to many of the programs offered. Even before my weight-loss surgery, I had started on my wellness endeavors and attempted several different HIP classes — some successful, others not so much. I also initiated/supported a Wellness on Wheels class to bring Yoga to staff at Lane Medical Library/School of Medicine for several semesters.
But after a “forced” fitness assessment, to get a Berry, it really came together for me. My advisor, Wendy Fortino, said I needed to get my heart rate going. In other words, to get off my exercise plateau, keep my weight off and move forward fitness-wise, I was going to have to do more than just walking. After being 275 lbs. for so long, I have the knees of an 80 year-old woman (or so my orthopedic surgeon told me), so running was out of the question, but Wendy was clear: I needed to “step it up” and push myself to a new level of fitness. She suggested Spinning or Indoor Cycling. I had my serious doubts I could do such classes — let alone survive 45 minutes of having my thighs slapping the bottom of my belly as I pumped the pedals, but I’ve really become a believer ever since. Now I’m two years into spinning and every single time I finish a class I feel successful, which is the key component to keeping me on track and trying new things:
- Strength training classes have completely changed the way my body looks and feels.
- Joining a gym at home leaves me no excuses regarding exercise on the weekends, after work if I miss during lunch, or during the breaks.
- See’s candy helped me quit smoking, and the workouts helped me through eating all that candy!
- Utilizing a Heart Rate Monitor gives me immediate feedback on how many calories I’m burning and how hard (or not) I’m working out. This is a huge motivator for me.
I love that the place I work encourages this behavior. My supervisors at Stanford allow me to take the extra time I need for a noon class four days a week. Along the way, my BeWell counselor’s encouraging calls and ideas helped me get through the rough patches and my indoor cycling instructor Karin Hayes has been an incredible source of accountability and encouragement. The annual assessments are a great check point for me — and the extra dough in my pocket doesn’t hurt either!
Thanks, BeWell. I may have been able to do it without you, but your programs make it that much easier for me to feel good about myself!
Administrative Assistant, Lane Medical Library
Stanford School of Medicine
UPDATE: Tracy completed her first duathlon in 2012 (1 mile run, 15 mile bike and 3 mile run) and is training for a century (100 mile bike) in 2013.