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| September 30, 2015
Becky and Quinn

On a brisk fall morning, Becky throws open the door of her Peculiar, Missouri, home and steps into the fresh air and sunshine. It’s time for her daily morning routine—a 45-minute walk up and down the street where her ten acres reside. As invigorating as the routine is and as much as she looks forward to it every day, it didn’t always come this easy.

Becky struggled with her weight—and therefore her energy level—all her life. Doctors told her for years that she needed to drop pounds, but diets never stuck. And working full time at a desk job made regular exercise difficult. Even with the awareness that her family had a history of strokes, Becky still lacked motivation to improve her health.

Until, that is, she found out she was going to be a grandma.

For Becky, nothing comes before family. Knowing her daughter would need help with the new baby, Becky finally realized it was time to get her act in gear.

“I have four kids who are almost all grown and between them and work, I got so busy with life that I ended up being the last person on the list,” admitted Becky. “My granddaughter was my ultimate motivation. I decided I needed to do something to change my life because I knew if I didn’t, I wasn’t going to be around to watch my grandkids grow up.”

Becky’s church—St. Sabina Parish—put a message in the bulletin one Sunday about a weight loss challenge at the new Healthe Communities wellness center right next door. Since she planned to lose weight anyway, Becky figured she might as well join the challenge. A monetary prize certainly wouldn’t hurt her motivation.

So Becky, her daughter (who had just given birth to Becky’s first grandchild), her son-in-law and two other parishioners formed a weight loss team. They started the competition by getting free wellness screenings at Healthe Communities. The results weren’t good.

In addition to being 90 pounds overweight, Becky’s cholesterol was high (putting her at risk for a cardiac event) and she was prediabetic. The good news? She had access to a dedicated staff at the wellness center that guided her toward better lifestyle choices. Together, they examined Becky’s sugar intake and overall food choices, then recommended healthier food substitutions. They also urged her to increase her physical activity in a way that worked for her lifestyle.

“When you go over to the Healthe Communities wellness center, they make you feel so welcome,” Becky attested. “They’re your little cheerleaders and are always very positive. They were so easy to work with.”

The wellness center staff helped Becky realize she didn’t have to run on a treadmill in order to exercise. All she had to do was step outside and start walking. So that is exactly what Becky did.

“I’ve been on diets all my life and that doesn’t work for me, so I focused on trying to change my lifestyle and make better choices,” she said. “Walking was a big part of that. Anybody can walk! Instead of going to a gym, I just walk out my door and take a little time for myself every morning.”

Throughout the weight loss challenge, Becky visited Healthe Communities regularly for weigh-ins, wellness coaching and encouragement. She found that her small lifestyle changes worked wonders. By the end of the challenge, Becky had lost 35 pounds and her team came in second place.

Now three years later, Becky has lost a total of 70 pounds. Not only has she significantly lowered her risk of heart disease, but she is no longer prediabetic. Though she hasn’t reached her final weight loss goal yet, she has definitely noticed a difference in her health.

“I weigh less than I did 20 years ago. I have more stamina, more energy. I can do more things that I probably couldn’t do before. I can keep up with a three-year-old—they can go forever!”

With her increased energy level, Becky is physically able to provide care for her granddaughter, Quinn—and enjoy it! In fact, the two have become inseparable.

“We take care of Quinn when her mom is at work, so Grandma and Grandpa’s house is like her second home. We spend a lot of time outside. I have flower gardens and vegetable gardens, and she likes to help with those. We go for walks together and play in the park. Her big thing lately has been catching butterflies so we run around the yard with butterfly nets.”

Part of that yard will soon be occupied with a new gift for Quinn. Becky plans to spend the winnings of her latest weight loss victory (she placed first in the individual category of this year’s competition) on a swing set or trampoline for her granddaughter. After all, she’s the reason behind Becky’s dramatic transformation.

“I feel better knowing that I’m going to be around to watch Quinn grow up.”

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