You Say Goodbye…I say Hello

31 05 2013
Jesse Michel

Jesse Michel

Greetings PEIA Weight Management Participants!

As of May 31, 2013, I will no longer be a Health Behavior Coach for the PEIA Weight Management Program.  Change is inevitable, and the time has come for me to move on to the next chapter in my life. With that in mind, I’d like to provide some insights, best practices, and thoughts based on my experiences over the past two years.

Let me start by emphasizing that it has been an absolute pleasure to work with you all over the past couple years, and I will look back on my time in the program with fond memories. From my personal clients, to the participants who read this blog, to my co-workers, I’m honored to have had the chance to work with you and share in your journey to better health.  I have probably learned more from you than you learned from me and will be able to think back on this experience as one that was both personally and professionally challenging and rewarding.  Each story, struggle, and triumph you experienced is a part of your story, and I hope you can look back on them all with a deeper perspective and appreciation for how far you’ve come and are excited about what the future holds.

Many of the participants I worked with far exceeded their expectations and health goals; on the flip side, some struggled to find their recipe for success. Through my time as an HBC, I have noticed some fairly consistent patterns of behavior that separate the successful from unsuccessful participants, and want to share my thoughts on how to make the most out of your time with in the program. Listed below are some of the health behaviors and habits that make up a successful experience in the WMP. You may not be able to incorporate all of them at once, but keep in mind that it’s more important to “change a little, a lot” than “change a lot, a little”.

Get Active

Strength training/exercise at least 3 times a week and incorporate a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity (e.g., walking, using the stairs, etc.) into your daily life.

Commit to a Lifestyle of Health

Accept that this is not a black and white process. You will lose and gain weight for the rest of your life. Appreciate the opportunity to learn from the various WMP providers and think about how you will continue to make changes to your health behaviors even when you “graduate” from the program.  This is not a diet, this is a lifestyle.

Calories in vs. Calories Out

Have your go to snacks, but pre-size them to avoid careless eating.  Calories can pile up quickly, and we often over-estimate the number of calories we burn during a workout and under-estimate the number of calories we consume. Limiting your snacking and “mindless eating” will pay off in the long run.

Get Social

Social support is an absolute must! Find a friend, co-worker, or family member that genuinely cares about your success in this program. Work out with that person and show them how committed you are to improving your health. Ask them to hold you accountable throughout the process, challenge you to do better, and be there to celebrate your successes.

Fuel Your Body Right

Exercise can improve your health profile, but weight loss is very difficult without making consistent nutrition and dietary changes.  Remember that the food you eat is literally the “fuel” for your body. Just like your car runs most efficiently on gasoline, we run most efficiently on a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy/complex carbs, and minimum sweets and processed foods. Would you ever fuel your Chevy with orange juice or ketchup? Of course not! So why would you fuel your body with unhealthy food?

Keep a Journal

Food Journaling is the #1 strategy to consistently eating healthy. If you find yourself struggling to eat healthy, try food journaling for 2-3 days. It’s amazing how powerful a little awareness can be!

Perfection is a Myth

No one is perfect, not even you! Give yourself a break if you miss a day at the gym or have a cheat meal or two. This is a fluid process and life can certainly get in the way of being healthy 24 hours a day.

Reflection is a  Must

Take some time each week to reflect on some of the changes you’ve made as a result of being in the program. Think about how the changes you made have impacted your friends and family, co-workers, or other WMP Participants. We’re all in this together, so be proud that you’ve committed yourself to a healthy lifestyle!

Remember your  “Why”

Remember who you’re doing this for and why you’re doing it. The providers are there to help you reach your goals, but we can’t do it for you. This is HARD; if it was easy, every man, woman, and child in the United States would be perfectly healthy.

Have Fun!

The path to better health is not easy and a lifelong journey.  Appreciate the people you meet, workout partners you motivate, obstacles you overcome, and behaviors to change to make your experience a positive one. You’re more likely to remember the relationships you made than the cheat meals you ate!

Thanks again for allowing me to share in your journey and best of luck in the future!

Jesse Michel

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