One thing I’m very proud of at Natural Healthcare Center is that we don’t just tell people what to do. We inspire people to make real behavioral changes and embrace a wellness lifestyle.
I bring this philosophy and approach to my role as health educator for the city of Long Branch’s CityWell program, a free educational and clinical resource created to help city employees and their families lead healthier lives. The program goes far beyond your typical wellness program that, frankly, tends to be more about hype than substance.
I provide health education seminars with the goal of educating and motivating people to make healthier choices and identifying what a real wellness lifestyle is. As a result, many employees have made permanent changes and reversed chronic illnesses such as pre-diabetes, type II diabetes, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Others have been able to better control a chronic illness.
By treating chronic illness with a real plan, we become healthier and save money.
One person who embodies the wellness lifestyle is Heather Valdes, a police officer for the City of Long Branch. Heather realized her health and fitness levels weren’t where she’d like them to be, and she was afraid this could affect her job performance and overall well-being.
Heather took that first step that so many people refuse to take. She recognized that behavioral change was necessary and committed to changing her lifestyle.
She had a complete physical exam, and had her body composition measured and blood tested. Based on these tests, as well as Heather’s age, lifestyle and most importantly, her personal goals, a number of changes were implemented..
Today, Heather’s blood is not only normal, but optimally normal. Her body fat, muscle mass and water ratios are all within the criteria for an athlete. She not only goes to the gym, but she’s teaching exercise classes and training for a marathon.
Mayor Adam Schneider of Long Branch even presented Heather with the Mayor’s Award to recognize the changes she has made in her own health, and her efforts to improve the health of others. This is what true wellness and CityWell are all about. Wellness isn’t a once-in-a-while thing. It’s every day of our lives. Changes that are real, measurable and permanent.
That’s why I get so angry when I hear insurance carriers talk about how much money they’re saving a group they represent when all they’re doing is reducing what they pay to doctors. By not paying doctors, you’re not improving the lives of the people you’re supposed to be insuring. Saving money by reducing coverage is not a wellness plan!
Wellness shouldn’t be controlled by big business and lawyers, and it shouldn’t be all talk and hype.
Wellness is someone like Heather. Do you know how she contributes to the lower cost of healthcare? She’s no longer a chronic illness statistic. Chronic illness accounts for more than 75 percent of our nation’s costs. Reduce chronic illness and you reduce healthcare costs. It’s basic math.
Instead of waiting for a crisis, Heather took it upon herself to make behavioral changes that dramatically reduce the chance of a crisis occurring. I salute Heather, a proud wife, mother of two and police officer, and everyone like Heather, for embracing a wellness lifestyle. Heather is a shining example of what can happen when a single individual commits to real, long-lasting behavioral changes.
Heather changed her life. Are you ready to do the same?