Kathleen’s Story

Kathleen’s Story

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In April of 2022, I went to see my Primary Care Physician (PCP) because I was experiencing sleep issues. I recall that I was sleeping restlessly during the night and would wake up feeling like I hadn’t slept. When that tiredness continued into my workday, I knew it was time to investigate this matter further. My PCP wanted me to get a sleep study, and the thought of having to wear a mask over my face at night to combat sleep apnea terrified me! My PCP then told me if I would lose 20 pounds by my next visit, he felt my sleep would improve, and he wouldn’t insist that I get a CPAP machine.

It was obvious to me that my laziness with nutrition had contributed to my sleep apnea. I also had hypertension, high cholesterol levels, and was overweight. It was then when I recalled having an employer-sponsored benefit at work through ConnectCare3, a nurse navigation/patient advocacy service, and one of their offerings is a Chronic Disease Management program. It is geared toward individuals with prediabetes/diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, or a strong family history of these chronic conditions. I called and requested to join.

I was assigned to a Certified Health Coach named Suzy Hodge, and she spent over an hour on the telephone with me during our first session. Suzy explained that weight loss is a lifetime endeavor, and her goal is to help me implement changes related to diet and exercise that I can sustain for life. We talked about my childhood, my beloved parents who are deceased, and my propensity to eat in response to negative emotions. I was impressed how she expressed such a sincere interest in getting to know me as we covered a plethora of topics.

During one of our first telephonic health-coaching sessions, I started going through my cupboards while I was talking to Suzy.  We discussed healthy sources of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.  We also discussed what I typically eat and my eating schedule to develop a plan that would work for me.  Suzy also sent me a list of healthy options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and snack options to satisfy my hunger in-between meals.

Suzy and I agreed that I would aim for 1,600 calories per day, strive for moderation and portion control, and practice mindful eating techniques. She taught me how to read food labels and how to become mindful of what I’m putting in my mouth. Suzy sent me informative articles on how to build a winning mindset and introduced me to the hunger scale. This scale was developed to help individuals avoid getting uncomfortably hungry or uncomfortably full. Using the intuitive eating hunger scale is an effective tool to appropriately fuel your body since our energy needs differ from day to day.

Suzy reminded me about the importance of drinking water. I keep a 25-oz. container on my desk at work and try to drink one gallon of water every day. I have found that putting ice into my glass makes me drink more water as it is so refreshing. Drinking water with lemon ice cubes and cucumber is also fun!

In an effort to increase my consistency with exercise, I joined a 5,000 steps/day challenge at work. I’m self-monitoring my steps using a watch and set a timer reminding me to get up from my desk every 45 minutes at work. I always walk during my breaks at work and try to schedule walks when I’m not working. I’m currently averaging 6,000-7,000 steps per day and was really excited to see I walked 10,000 steps one day. Working in the yard has also provided valuable physical activity for me.

I am happy to report that I have lost 19 pounds to date, well on my way to my 20-pound weight loss goal. I am sleeping much better now and don’t believe a sleep study will be necessary. Once I reach the 20-pound mark, I hope to continue my efforts and lose another 30 pounds. When you see results, it’s motivating to stay on course. Not only am I losing weight, I smile when I think of the positive effects my weight loss must be having on my blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Suzy has been my light at the end of the tunnel that keeps reminding me that my journey to better health might be bumpy and full of potholes at times, but I will reach my goal. She has helped me develop lifestyle changes that are healthy and sustainable. If you are eligible for ConnectCare3’s Chronic Disease Management program, I highly encourage you to include them on your wellness journey.

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ConnectCare3 is a confidential benefit for those covered under their employer’s health insurance plan. If you have questions or would like to enroll in one of ConnectCare3’s services, contact us today.