Category: Employee Health

Step It Up in 2015!

By Carrie Camin
Assistant Vice President, Wellness
Methodist Health System

I think King Julien from the “Madagascar” movies has the right idea for a 2015 resolution — move it! Making the New Year an active one could well be one of the healthiest ways to pave the road ahead.

Research has shown the overwhelming positive effects of regular activity. It doesn’t have to be a marathon, though. A casual bike ride or a walk around the neighborhood with a friend can be as beneficial as more strenuous exercise that can lead to possible injuries later in life. Cardiovascular exercise keeps the old ticker in tune and is critical to improved overall well-being.

Another important component for a healthier 2015 is resistance training to build and maintain lean muscle mass. Not a member of a gym? That’s okay. You can easily set up resistance training routines around your home using stairs, light weights, or floor exercises such as straight leg raises and planks.

Regular activity has many positive benefits:

  • Promotes good cholesterol, which can help you avoid the costly effects of
    chronic illness
  • Boosts metabolism and increases circulation throughout your body
  • Enhances your mood so you feel better about yourself and your health
  • Improves your ability to be a better spouse, friend, or co-worker as your
    mood-elevating endorphins get a boost
  • Reduces stress
  • Improves your chances for an extended quality of life by helping you stay
    mobile, maintain your balance, and improve your flexibility to help you
    remain independent.

Did you know that regular activity has been correlated to extended life expectancy? According to research*, you’ll get an extra 1.8 years from 75 minutes of brisk walking
per week, 3.4 additional years from 150 to 299 minutes of brisk walking per week, an
extra 4.5 years from 450 minutes, as well as an eye-popping 7.2 years by maintaining a healthy weight.

But if activity is so beneficial and physicians routinely recommend it to their patients for weight loss and lower cholesterol, then why aren’t more people moving it? According to some experts, the obvious benefits of activity often take months to become apparent. This runs counter to our instant-gratification society that wants immediate payoff for hard work and exercise.

The rule of thumb to follow is at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. Ready to get moving? Here are some tips for getting active in 2015:

  • Start with walking and walk every day.
  • Have a dog? Walk your dog 15 minutes, twice a day.
  • Take the stairs rather than the elevator or escalator.
  • Participate in an exercise-related activity you enjoy such as dance, yoga, or sports.
  • Even gardening, cleaning house, and doing yard work count toward your activity!

To round out your resolutions for a healthier 2015, use the other building blocks:

  • Nutrition keeps your engine moving, so you have to supply it with the right kind of fuel. Keep it simple. Eat things that have fewer than four ingredients. Buy items on the perimeter of the grocery store such as fresh vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Most moderate exercise burns about 10 calories per minute, so if you walk for 30 minutes, you’ll only burn 300 calories. Remember that activity should not be viewed as license to increase your normal caloric intake.
  • Rest. Getting plenty of rest — seven to eight hours per night — to help you deal better with stressful situations and stay more mentally alert.
  • Hydration. Water is a major component of our bodies. Drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day keeps us in balance. Having a glass of water before eating also tames hunger.

Finally, give up the guilt. It’s the primary barrier that keeps us from reaching our well-being goals. Focus on what you do well and what you’ve achieved. Dwelling on an indulgence or skipped workout won’t help you achieve your goals. Put things in perspective and take every opportunity to celebrate.

If you’re ready to get moving and achieve your career goals, it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

EOE/MF/D/V

*Source: Research collaboration between the U.S.-based Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the National Cancer Institute quantified how much longer people can live depending on the levels of exercise they engage in.

Posted in Employee Health, Nurses | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Step It Up in 2015!

By Carrie Camin
Assistant Vice President, Wellness
Methodist Health System

I think King Julien from the “Madagascar” movies has the right idea for a 2015 resolution — move it! Making the New Year an active one could well be one of the healthiest ways to pave the road ahead.

Research has shown the overwhelming positive effects of regular activity. It doesn’t have to be a marathon, though. A casual bike ride or a walk around the neighborhood with a friend can be as beneficial as more strenuous exercise that can lead to possible injuries later in life. Cardiovascular exercise keeps the old ticker in tune and is critical to improved overall well-being.

Another important component for a healthier 2015 is resistance training to build and maintain lean muscle mass. Not a member of a gym? That’s okay. You can easily set up resistance training routines around your home using stairs, light weights, or floor exercises such as straight leg raises and planks.

Regular activity has many positive benefits:

  • Promotes good cholesterol, which can help you avoid the costly effects of
    chronic illness
  • Boosts metabolism and increases circulation throughout your body
  • Enhances your mood so you feel better about yourself and your health
  • Improves your ability to be a better spouse, friend, or co-worker as your
    mood-elevating endorphins get a boost
  • Reduces stress
  • Improves your chances for an extended quality of life by helping you stay
    mobile, maintain your balance, and improve your flexibility to help you
    remain independent.

Did you know that regular activity has been correlated to extended life expectancy? According to research*, you’ll get an extra 1.8 years from 75 minutes of brisk walking
per week, 3.4 additional years from 150 to 299 minutes of brisk walking per week, an
extra 4.5 years from 450 minutes, as well as an eye-popping 7.2 years by maintaining a healthy weight.

But if activity is so beneficial and physicians routinely recommend it to their patients for weight loss and lower cholesterol, then why aren’t more people moving it? According to some experts, the obvious benefits of activity often take months to become apparent. This runs counter to our instant-gratification society that wants immediate payoff for hard work and exercise.

The rule of thumb to follow is at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. Ready to get moving? Here are some tips for getting active in 2015:

  • Start with walking and walk every day.
  • Have a dog? Walk your dog 15 minutes, twice a day.
  • Take the stairs rather than the elevator or escalator.
  • Participate in an exercise-related activity you enjoy such as dance, yoga, or sports.
  • Even gardening, cleaning house, and doing yard work count toward your activity!

To round out your resolutions for a healthier 2015, use the other building blocks:

  • Nutrition keeps your engine moving, so you have to supply it with the right kind of fuel. Keep it simple. Eat things that have fewer than four ingredients. Buy items on the perimeter of the grocery store such as fresh vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Most moderate exercise burns about 10 calories per minute, so if you walk for 30 minutes, you’ll only burn 300 calories. Remember that activity should not be viewed as license to increase your normal caloric intake.
  • Rest. Getting plenty of rest — seven to eight hours per night — to help you deal better with stressful situations and stay more mentally alert.
  • Hydration. Water is a major component of our bodies. Drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day keeps us in balance. Having a glass of water before eating also tames hunger.

Finally, give up the guilt. It’s the primary barrier that keeps us from reaching our well-being goals. Focus on what you do well and what you’ve achieved. Dwelling on an indulgence or skipped workout won’t help you achieve your goals. Put things in perspective and take every opportunity to celebrate.

If you’re ready to get moving and achieve your career goals, it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

EOE/MF/D/V

*Source: Research collaboration between the U.S.-based Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the National Cancer Institute quantified how much longer people can live depending on the levels of exercise they engage in.

Posted in Employee Health, Nurses, Wellness | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Donating to the BEN Fund Could Be the Most Important Gift You Make in 2014

By Tim Klepper, Director of Compensation and Benefits
Methodist Health System

At Methodist Health System, we care. We care for our patients and their families. And we care for each other. In fact, many feel that our deep, unwavering compassion is one of the defining characteristics of our culture that sets us apart from other health care organizations. At the heart of this philosophy is the Basic Employee Needs (BEN) Fund.

Administered by Methodist’s human resources employee benefits team and coordinated by the Methodist Health System Foundation and a committee that comprises employees from all divisions throughout Methodist, the BEN Fund is an emergency lifeline for employees who are facing a financial hardship due to an unexpected crisis. What is a hardship? It is an unexpected large expense and/or loss of usual household income caused by an emergency or crisis. Grant requests from employees are considered only after all other resources — insurance, leave benefits, other forms of compensation, and personal savings — have been exhausted or are not available.

How important is the BEN Fund? Consider this: Since January 2013, the fund has received more than $226,000 in donations and has provided financial support to 92 grant recipients. Staff members who have worked for Methodist for at least six months and medical residents and graduate students on Methodist’s payroll are eligible to apply for a BEN Fund grant.

The 92 grant recipients have faced a variety of personal crises resulting in financial hardship. From uninsured loss of homes due to fire, flood, or tornados to expenses from extended illnesses that have drained the employees’ PTO and leave benefits to funeral expenses for an employee’s family member, BEN Fund grants have meant the difference between despair and hope. I’ve seen it first hand. Knowing that a fellow employee can benefit from the generosity of his or her co-workers is heartwarming and embodies the Methodist spirit.

Applying for a BEN Fund grant is easy. The application form is on the Methodist intranet site or can be obtained from human resources. After the employee has completed the grant application, human resources documents the request, submits it to the committee for review, receives the committee’s decision, and processes all approved grant funds. The committee can decide, based on the grant requestor’s personal circumstances, to award the maximum grant of $2,500 or any amount up to the maximum. The committee’s
decision is final.

Some of the most memorable grants have been to employees who have been on the brink of losing their homes due to eviction or foreclosure. The ability to help someone keep a roof over his or her head is priceless, and that’s why it’s so wonderful to see the BEN Fund grants in action.

How can you help assure that the BEN Fund will be around to help many more Methodist employees? The generosity of our employees is in the fabric of our culture. In fact, the fund depends on donations from individuals including employees, staff members, and friends of Methodist. All gifts are tax-deductible and any amount is welcome.

As we enter this season of giving, let us give thanks for the generous, caring colleagues we work with day in and day out. These are the individuals who sustain the BEN Fund and help it grow so it can meet the needs of others in the future.

If you’re ready to join an organization that cares for its employees as much as it cares for its patients and their families, then choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

EOE/MF/D/V

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Sherrie and Amanda made it to the finish line!

Sherrie

Amanda

What can you do now that you couldn’t do three months ago?

“I can complete a full strengthening workout class taught by Ginnie and walk up and down the stairs from the basement to the fourth floor and not feel like I’m going to die.”  “I am now able to run or workout and maintain my stamina without having to rest or even completely stop all together. Increased stamina and better sleep are two things that I’ve

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gained in the last three months.”

What is the most significant change that you have made
in your eating habits?

“I have added more fruits and vegetables. I eat fewer snacks, but when I do I make a conscious effort to eat something healthy and tasty. Portion size has really been a big change. Now I eat to satisfaction not to ‘stuffed.’” “Portioning out my food and incorporating more fresh vegetables and fruit has been a big change. Also learning there are no ‘bad foods’ and that it’s all in the portioning. Anything is okay in moderation.”

What part of the I Am Methodist Health program has
helped you the most?

“I believe that the group and the exercise sessions have helped a lot. However, I think my one-on-one sessions with my wellness coach have helped me most. Most sessions were about managing stress, setting boundaries, and making time to be good to myself.” “Definitely the coaching. Having one-on- one sessions with my coach has helped me to understand why I do, or don’t do, some things. Being able to go into a room where there is no judgment and feeling like I can talk, be open, and be real has immensely helped me in this program. Also my trainer, Ginnie, is always encouraging and never lets me give up, even when I beg her to.”

What advice do you give your co-workers to help them
make healthy lifestyle changes?

“Remember that you are as important as anyone else in your life and that you should treat yourself that way. You’re not alone. Decide what you want, believe that you can do it….then DO IT!” 

 

“Remember to portion control your food. There are no bad foods, just bad decisions. Stick with your meal and exercise routine no matter what and don’t let anyone — mentally, physically, or spiritually — keep you from your goals. You are worth it!”
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Lisa and Veronica made it to the finish line!

Lisa

 

Veronica 

What can you do now that you couldn’t do three months ago?

“Probably the biggest change I’ve noticed has been learning how to exercise and doing it consistently.” “I now have the energy to have a dance party with my 4- and 6-year-old nieces. Before I started working out regularly, I would get tired and have to take a break.”

What is the most significant change that you have made
in your eating habits?

“I’m now more aware of the amount of food on my plate and am eating smaller portions.” “I’ve stopped eating out as frequently. It can be difficult to make healthy choices at restaurants, so I’ve tried to limit it to once a week.”

What part of the I Am Methodist Health program
has helped you the most?

“Both the accountability and the education I’ve received have been equally beneficial. What I’ve learned about eating healthy will stay with me forever.” “I love the weekly meetings with my health coach. I’ve learned to eat every three hours to avoid becoming overly hungry. I’ve realized that if I let myself get to that point, it’s more difficult to make healthy choices. That’s why I always carry a granola bar in my purse for a quick snack.”

What advice do you give your co-workers to help them
make healthy lifestyle changes?

 

“Be patient and persistent. It takes time and dedication, but it’s worth it. Just keep trying even when you feel like giving up.” “Take it one meal at a time. If you eat an unhealthy breakfast, your day is not ruined. Just make better choices for lunch and dinner.”
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Glenda and Joei made it to the finish line!

Glenda

 

Joei 

What can you do now that you couldn’t do three months ago?

 “My clothes fit much better. I even had to buy smaller sizes. I can also work a whole shift without feeling dead tired.” “I have less back pain. I am able to run around with my child without back problems.”

What is the most significant change that you have made
in your eating habits?

“Really just being more aware of what I’m eating and tracking it through my fitness pal.” “Counting the calories has helped and I stopped eating fast food. Also, I’ve started cooking a lot more.”

What part of the I Am Methodist Health program
has helped you the most?

“The meetings and the one- on-one time with Michelle. Also, posting program pictures and having weekly weigh ins help keep me accountable.” “The meetings. I get inspiration and motivation by knowing that I’m not alone in facing challenges.”

What advice do you give your co-workers to help them
make healthy lifestyle changes?

“The work we do can be stressful and hectic. Don’t ‘stress eat!’ Prepare healthy snacks and meals and stay hydrated through a long shift.” “I work night shift and my co-workers are all watching what we eat, counting calories, and making sure we go to the gym. Building a support team around you is helpful.”

 

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Carol and Katie have made it to the finish line!

 

Carol

 

Katie 

What can you do now that you couldn’t do three months ago?

“I now slow down and look at my choices. Avoiding impulse decisions helps me make healthier selections. Even though it seems I’m always in a hurry, I’m better at choosing options that are quick, but healthy.” “I am more aware of my strengths and limitations. I have learned more about myself, my habits, and the lifestyle changes I need to make to be successful in my weight loss journey.”

What is the most significant change that you have made
in your eating habits?

“I think the most significant change is to slow down and eat less. Being more patient and watching my pace has been a big change for me.” “I guess the most significant change would be that I am learning how to be more aware of the choices I make. Whether it is to forego exercise and work something in later or decrease my calories throughout the day.”

What part of the I Am Methodist Health program
has helped you the most?

“The wellness coach has been terrific. She is supportive, inspirational and always available to us.” “Probably the honest, open discussions with other participants and the health coach. Sharing information about what works and what doesn’t work as well as our own struggles is inspiring.”

What advice do you give your co-workers to help them
make healthy lifestyle changes?

“My best advice is don’t eat on the run. Slow down, look at your choices, and practice portion control. Also, remember a little exercise goes a long way.” “The advice that I would give is be realistic. I went into the program thinking that I would see visible changes quickly and would not crave certain foods or have problems finding time for exercise. Realistically, the barriers were still there, I just needed to modify my schedule throughout the program to find what works for me and my family.”
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Rosharion and Vivian made it to the finish line!

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Rosharion

Vivian

What can you do now that you couldn’t do three months ago?

“I can exercise for an hour or longer without feeling exhausted. I can wear clothes from my closet that I have not worn in the last year. I can also wear clothes that are a size smaller.” “I went shopping for uniforms and I was able to buy a smaller size. It has been a while since I was able to look at a smaller size. I was very excited!”

What is the most significant change that you have made
in your eating habits?

“I eat healthier. I now focus on green, leafy vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins. I do NOT eat candy and chips everyday like I did before starting the program. Instead, I’ve learned to choose healthier snacks like light popcorn, fruits, yogurt, and protein bars.” “My eating habits have changed significantly. I no longer eat fast-food burgers and fries. I don’t eat any fried foods at all. I increased my fresh fruits and vegetables. I bake or grill my meat. I include all of the food groups each day. One food group can’t provide everything your body needs for good, healthy eating.”

What part of the I Am Methodist Health program
has helped you the most?

“Checking in with Michelle, my wellness coach, every week was very helpful. She always gave me positive advice. If I had a bad week, she helped me to figure out why. The weekly weigh in was also helpful and caused me to be more disciplined.” “I think the weekly meetings and the coaching from my health coach, Michelle, has helped me stay on track. Also, talking to others who are trying to do the same thing you are and seeing the different things they are doing to help them stay on track and be successful.”

What advice do you give your co-workers to help them make healthy lifestyle changes?

“Just get started! Make small changes to your diet and exercise and eventually you will make it a part of your daily routine.” “I would like to tell my co-workers and friends that making a healthy lifestyle change will make a better, healthier you. Healthy eating will improve your energy level and your mental and emotional health. It will also help you lose weight. Healthy eating is a complete lifestyle change. You are only given one body —why not take care of it?”


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Debra made it to the finish line!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debra

 

Angela* 

What can you do now that you couldn’t do three months ago?

 “I bought three pairs of jeans a year ago that were too tight to wear three months ago. Today, they fit perfectly.”  *Angela was unable to finish the program.

What is the most significant change that you have made
in your eating habits?
 

“I think the most significant change is to slow down when I eat. I found that it really does help me to eat less.”

What part of the I Am Methodist Health program
has helped you the most?

“All of the information I received at the meetings has helped me tremendously. I was able to incorporate most of it into my program and that’s a win-win for me!”

What advice do you give your co-workers to help them make healthy lifestyle changes?

“Strict rules and limits don’t work. It’s better to make slow and doable changes to your old habits. Also, you don’t need a gym membership to move your body.”

 

 

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John and Lisa made it to the finish line!

John

 

Lisa

What can you do now that you couldn’t do three months ago?

“I can say no to foods that I don’t need to eat. In addition to this achievement, I can eat less when I do decide to eat something.” “Because of the lifestyle changes that I have been able to make and incorporate into my life, such as eating breakfast on a more regular basis, I’ve noticed a difference in my energy level. I’m usually less productive when I don’t incorporate the skills I have learned through the program.” 

What is the most significant change that you have made
in your eating habits?

“I have incorporated a much better mixture of veggies and smaller portions of meat on my plate.” “The most significant change I have made to my eating habits is cutting back on the amount of snacking. Also, I’ve replaced unhealthy snacks with more nutritional snacks such as fruit and veggies.” 

What part of the I Am Methodist Health program
has helped you the most?

“The fact that my wife is part of the program is a big reason why I’m having so much success. She’s the one who applies the concepts that  are discussed in the group and individual meetings” “The part that helped me the most is having group meetings so that we could bounce ideas off of each other.”

What advice do you give your co-workers to help them make
healthy lifestyle changes?

“Just start somewhere and make little changes like eating smaller portions or changing from regular to diet soda even once a day. Little things turn into big things!” “Pennies make dollars so start with reading nutrition labels and making small swaps such as turkey instead of beef two days a week instead of four days a week.”
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