Making a Healthy Change – Team Member Spotlight

Many of us struggle with it every day. For some, it becomes an obsession. For others, it becomes a chore. Staying fit and healthy, though, is important to our overall wellbeing. It’s also important to us at Blakeford.

As part of our WellLife at Blakeford program, we encourage not only are residents but also our team to develop healthy habits. From a business standpoint, it makes sense to promote a healthy work environment. Healthy team members equal increased productivity and engagement. More importantly, though, the benefits for the individual can be life-changing.

One of our team members is experiencing these benefits. In November 2013, our Director of Sales & Marketing Sarah Bishop decided to participate in the “Maintain, Don’t Gain” competition just in time for the holiday season. “I lost a modest amount of weight and my energy level improved, but I knew I could feel so much better,” Sarah says.

With the encouragement and help of Wellness Coordinator Samantha Ruppelt, Sarah became focused on developing a healthy lifestyle with clear goals.

Samantha recalls, “With the ‘Maintain, Don’t Gain’ program, we were able to get her initial measurements and weight. From there she took advantage of the free consults and exercise prescriptions. I was able to come up with a routine that fit into her schedule.”

Sarah quickly discovered that changing habits isn’t an easy task. “The first few weeks were really hard, but once it became part of my life instead of an exercise program, I miss it if I ever skip a day,” Sarah states. “Samantha did an incredible job of customizing a program that would be very beneficial, but she also personalized it because of my knee issues. The program she wrote for me pushes me, but it also protects all my limitations.”

As with any fitness program, healthy eating is vital. Sarah says, “I am a chocoholic and love to eat! Samantha worked with me by challenging me to do a food log. I logged everything I put in my mouth. She reviewed it with me to show me how to change my eating habits without being on a ‘diet’ while still being able to enjoy food. This made a HUGE difference in the way I approach food. This has made me so much more aware of what not only what I am eating, but how much.”

During Sarah’s journey to healthier living, she and Samantha email each other every six weeks for measurements and evaluate her workout routine.

“My journey,” states Sarah, “became not just about losing weight. It became my mission to continue to improve my energy and stamina, along with rebuilding my muscle tone which I had lost. When I changed my focus, I began to see a change in these areas. Those changes keep me motivated to continue this journey. The weight began to drop as well which was a wonderful added bonus!”

Her results: 26 pounds…GONE. 5.35 inches from her waist…MISSING.

Untitled-1For many, beginning a fitness program can be overwhelming. Samantha offers straightforward advice:

  1. Set realistic goals. Sure it’d be nice to workout every day, but is that realistic?
  2. Grab a buddy to workout with you, or tell someone about what you’re doing. It provides a way to hold you accountable which fuels motivation.
  3. Most importantly, ask yourself why you want to start in the first place. Getting to the root of your goals and understanding why you want to achieve them can be the biggest motivator of all.

What is Sarah most proud of? “Being able to drop almost 4 sizes,” she says with a big smile. “When I began this journey, I had escalated to almost a size 12 and now a size 8 is almost too big! More importantly, I feel a thousand times better. My energy has skyrocketed and my stress levels have dropped dramatically. Samantha was right….exercise definitely causes ‘happy’ endorphins!”

And one last bit of hard-earned wisdom from Sarah… “Anyone can make a lifestyle change to be healthy if the desire is truly there, no matter what your age is. Determine before you start this journey that you are NOT going to give up. When it gets hard, just keep pushing and refuse to stop.”

You can learn more healthy tips from Samantha by watching our “Samantha Says” series on Blakeford’s YouTube channel.