Category: Employee Health

Ema and Steve made it to the finish line!

Ema

Steve

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

“I’ve learned to eat smaller portions and still feel satisfied. I can now run more than three miles at a time.” “I can plank for two minutes!”

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

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“One of the biggest changes has been becoming more aware of portion control. I’ve also found that the more I work out, the healthier I eat because the unhealthy options don’t appeal to me in the same way anymore.” “Portion control is absolutely the biggest change in my eating habits. Combining smaller and healthier portions with eating slower has made a big difference.”

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

“The groups, coaching sessions, and training have kept me accountable and motivated.” “The coaching has been the biggest benefit for me, both the individual and group instruction. I was already working out regularly, but having a trainer to help me with weight training was a positive experience.”

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

“Don’t put off doing something positive for yourself. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes. But once you start, you will notice how much better you feel.” “You need to be mentally prepared for a change in habits to be successful. The commitment — fueled by motivation — is essential. Without those two ingredients, there can’t be meaningful change.”
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“On the first day to de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me …"

By Beth Leermakers
Wellness Coach
Methodist Health System

Not feeling so jolly this holiday season? Has a good dose of ice and cold given you cabin fever? Do you have visions of palm trees and white sandy beaches dancing in your head? There’s a lot to stress us out this time of year. Battling the weather, pressures of shopping, and balancing a hectic personal life with your professional life as a caregiver can be overwhelming.

This is also the season of excess — too many obligations and too many expectations. There’s no need to stress over excess if you remember that sometimes less is more.

What’s more, let go of stress related to things that are out of your control. After all, you can’t do much about the weather, loss of electricity, or relatives you have little in common with and rarely see. Instead seek out quiet time to relax and reflect on the bounty of good things in your life. Here are some tips to reduce stress this time of year:

  • Take charge and set limits so you can devote your time and energy to the things that matter most to you
  • Slow down and do the things that help you enjoy the season
  • Appreciate the blessings in your life such as the employees who worked throughout the night to clear roads and restore power for thousands of individuals throughout North Texas.

It’s no secret that stress can harm your health. Research shows that heart-related deaths increase by 5 percent during the holiday season. According to a study published in Circulation from the American Heart Association, fatal heart attacks peak on Christmas day, the day after Christmas, and New Year’s day. Increased stress levels can result in heightened muscle tension, headaches, upset stomachs, impaired sleep, and increased eating and alcohol consumption.

My gift to you this season is “The 12 Days of Holiday De-stress.” Please sing or hum to the tune of “The 12 Days of Christmas” as you read the lyrics below!

“On the first day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
A quiet time by the fireplace.

On the second day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
Two joyful songs, and a quiet time by the fireplace.

On the third day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
Three brisk walks in the park, two joyful songs, and a quiet time by the fireplace.

On the fourth day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
Four relaxing neck rubs, three brisk walks in the park, two joyful songs, and a quiet time by the fireplace.

On the fifth day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
Gleeful online shopping, four relaxing neck rubs, three brisk walks in the park, two joyful songs, and a quiet time by the fireplace.

On the sixth day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
Six holiday movies, gleeful online shopping, four relaxing neck rubs, three brisk walks in the park, two joyful songs, and a quiet time by the fireplace.

On the seventh day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
Seven bubble baths, six holiday movies, gleeful online shopping, four relaxing neck rubs, three brisk walks in the park, two joyful songs, and a quiet time by the fireplace.

On the eighth day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
Eight hours of sleep, seven bubble baths, six holiday movies, gleeful online shopping, four relaxing neck rubs, three brisk walks in the park, two joyful songs, and a quiet time by the fireplace.

On the ninth day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
Quality time with nine friends, eight hours of sleep, seven bubble baths, six holiday movies, gleeful online shopping, four relaxing neck rubs, three brisk walks in the park, two joyful songs, and a quiet time by the fireplace.

On the tenth day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
Ten juicy oranges, quality time with nine friends, eight hours of sleep, seven bubble baths, six holiday movies, gleeful online shopping, four relaxing neck rubs, three brisk walks in the park, two joyful songs, and a quiet time by the fireplace.

On the eleventh day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
Eleven dogs a’fetching, 10 juicy oranges, quality time with nine friends, eight hours of sleep, seven bubble baths, six holiday movies, gleeful online shopping, four relaxing neck rubs, three brisk walks in the park, two joyful songs, and a quiet time by the fireplace.

On the twelfth day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
Twelve rounds of laughing, 11 dogs a’fetching, 10 juicy oranges, quality time with nine friends, eight hours of sleep, seven bubble baths, six holiday movies, gleeful online shopping, four relaxing neck rubs, three brisk walks in the park, two joyful songs, and a quiet time by the fireplace.”

If you’re ready to hum along with an organization that helps you balance your personal and professional lives, then it’s time to consider Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

EOE/MF/D/V

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Ready for Fall Baking? Here’s how to Bake it Healthier!

By Carrie Camin
Assistant Vice President, Wellness
Methodist Health System

There’s nothing like the first cold snap — which for Dallas means our temperatures drop below 90 degrees — that sends many people to the kitchen for fall baking. After all, Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Celebrating the fall harvest means richer flavors, but it doesn’t have to mean that these delectable treats are packed with calories. Here are some tips and substitutions for healthier baking this season.

Substitutions: Use ingredients that are natural like agave nectar, honey, or applesauce instead of refined sugar or chemicals.

  • Try using half the amount of butter called for in the recipe.
  • Use mashed bananas to hold your ingredients together rather than eggs and oil.
  • Substitute applesauce for sugar.
  • Instead of coating a pan with oil, use nonstick cooking sprays.

Did you know?

  • If the recipe calls for three eggs, use only one yolk and the egg whites of the other two eggs.
  • Most recipes still taste great if you simply cut salt in half.
  • Nuts are good for us, but they also add a lot of calories. In the spicy pumpkin bread recipe below, 1/3 cup of black walnuts is 255 calories — so use nuts wisely.

To get your holiday baking off on a healthy note, here’s a recipe for spicy pumpkin bread. Enjoy!

Spicy Pumpkin Bread
This particular pumpkin bread gets its kick from a blend of allspice, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Top with a sprinkling of chopped walnuts for a salty crunch that pairs perfectly with the sweet, moist bread.

One serving of this dish is about 1 slice.

 

Ingredients
3 1/2 cups All-purpose white flour, enriched
2/3 tablespoon Baking powder
1 teaspoon Allspice, ground
1 teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
1 teaspoon Nutmeg, ground
1 teaspoon Salt, table
1 teaspoon Baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Cloves, ground
1 1/3 cups Brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup Nonfat milk, calcium fortified (fat-free or skim)
2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
2 Eggs with yolks or 1 egg and 2 egg whites
1 cup Pumpkin, canned without salt
Cooking spray, 1 squirt
1/3 cup Black walnuts, chopped
198 calories; 34 grams carbs; 6 grams fat; 4 grams protein
Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 7 ingredients (flour through cloves) in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of mixture.
3. Combine brown sugar and the next 5 ingredients (brown sugar through pumpkin) in a bowl. Stir well with a whisk until smooth. Add to the flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
4. Spoon batter into 2 loaf pans (8 x 4–inch) coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
6. Cool loaves in pans for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pans, then cool loaves completely. Cut each loaf into 12 slices.

Servings: 20
Note: This recipe is public and was created by a dietitian.

Methodist Health System supports our employees’ efforts to make healthy food choices. We include healthy recipes on the wellness page of our employee intranet site, and we just opened cooking light cooking stations in the cafeterias at Methodist Dallas and Methodist Richardson Medical Centers.

If you’re looking for a career you can truly be thankful for, then it’s time to choose Methodist. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org. Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

© Methodist Health System

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Have a Happy, Healthy Halloween

By Carrie Camin
Assistant Vice President, Wellness
Methodist Health System

I know I’m running the risk of being perceived as the witch who wrecked Halloween or the apparition that applied logic to ghoulish fun, but I have a theory. I believe you can celebrate Halloween and fall festivals without consuming a year’s worth of sugar and calories in one night. Having a happy, healthy Halloween is possible, and it doesn’t take a magic potion.

For many, Halloween is the kickoff to a sugary, fat-laden, calorie-crammed holiday season. After all, this is the heyday for the retail season, and delectable temptations are everywhere. The reality is there are ways you and your family can enjoy the seasonal fun while making healthy food choices. Here are a few hints.

Limit your intake. Decide ahead of time what your daily (or weekly) treats will be and how many you’ll have. Decide how much works for you and put the treats in a small ziplock bag so you can control your portions.

Don’t munch mindlessly. Keep Halloween candy out of sight. Keep it in the refrigerator or a hard-to-reach cabinet so you’ll be fully aware of what you’re doing when you grab a couple of pieces.

Stock up on healthy snacks and sugarless gum. Keep sugarless gum and healthy snacks like baby carrots, grapes, apple slices, or popcorn on hand for when you feel like having a snack.

Don’t skip your exercise or outdoor time. Stay active and get a daily dose of sunlight to help keep your mind and body balanced as the days grow shorter.

Avoid the candy creep that occurs around Halloween. If you’re going to give out candy to the trick-or-treaters at your door, buy it on October 31st. Choose candy you don’t like or goodies that are lower in calories and fat. Better candy choices include:

  • Tootsie Pops (60 calories each)
  • Lollipops (50 calories each)
  • Life Savers (10 calories per candy)
  • York Peppermint Pattie Miniatures (50 calories per piece)
  • Nestlé Crunch bars (60 calories for fun size bar)
  • Quaker Chewy Mini Granola Bar (60 calories)
  • Nabisco Teddy Grahams (60 calories for fun size pack)

Better yet, cruise past the candy aisle and buy pencils, stickers, gum, and other nonfood items to distribute. Get rid of any leftovers immediately. Crunching on Halloween candy through Christmas isn’t a pretty picture for you or your well-being.

Methodist Health System supports our employees’ efforts to make healthy food choices. We include healthy recipes on the wellness page of our employee intranet site, and we just opened cooking light cooking stations in the cafeterias at Methodist Dallas and Methodist Richardson Medical Centers.

If you’re looking to nourish your career in a healthy environment, then it’s time to choose Methodist. And have a happy, healthy Halloween! Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

EOE/MF/D/V

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I am Methodist Health: The Results are In! 12 week program January 8 – March 29

By Carrie Camin, Assistant Vice President, Wellness

The I am Methodist Health Live Well, Shine Bright wellness program is a 12-week program that ran from January 8 through March 29, 2013. It included 10 employees who were selected from 75 applicants to

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be health ambassadors and complete the three-month healthy makeover program.

Goal:
The goal of the I am Methodist Health program is to build awareness of Methodist’s existing employee wellness offerings and programs through the journeys and successes of the health ambassadors. Employees shared their experiences via weekly blogs, a video, before and after posters, as well as through interaction with colleagues at company-sponsored events.

Program:
Methodist offered employees the opportunity to participate in a free, 12-week healthy makeover, valued at $3,000, if selected based on an application. The resources provided to the participants are currently available to all employees and spouses or domestic partners enrolled in the Methodist health plan. The program included personal training sessions, confidential onsite health coaching, weekly weight management group meetings, diabetes management, tobacco cessation support, and

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a gym membership.

We are excited to share the health improvements achieved by our ambassadors, who together with us all embody Methodist Health. Weekly weigh-ins were conducted by the Wellness team as well as pre- and post-biometric measures (BMI, cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, triglycerides) to track improvements.

Results:
Total pounds lost = 141.6
Average percent of body weight lost = 5.9%
Total inches lost = 25
Average improvement in cholesterol = 17.77%
Average improvement in Triglycerides (blood fat) = 35.45%
Average improvement in blood pressure = 19%

Health screenings, weight management, personal coaching, tobacco cessation, nutrition and fitness resources are available to all Methodist employees and their spouses/domestic partners. What’s more, these resources are free with exception of gym memberships and personal training, which are offered at a discount.

Join us. You can be Methodist Healthy too. Live well. Shine bright.
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© Methodist Health System

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The Survey Says: Stress Is a Big Concern for Clinicians

By Beth Leermakers
Employee Health Coach
Methodist Mansfield Medical Center and Methodist Charlton Medical Center

Want to shed some pounds? Ready to start an exercise program? These are great intentions, but what I’ve discovered is that when employees initially come to me to discuss weight loss or exercise, within five minutes the conversation invariably turns to stress. That’s why we decided to survey the clinical staff at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center about stress and the impact it is having on their lives and their jobs.

The 10-question survey asked the clinical staff to rate their responses on a scale of one (low) to 10 (high). The questions included topics such as what caused their stress, what kinds of stress were they experiencing, and what could we do to help them manage their stress. We distributed the survey in January, then compiled the results and produced a report. Respondents rated work, home, and financial as the top-three stressors in their lives. We have used the results and feedback from the survey to develop an overall stress management program to better meet their needs.

We weren’t surprised by the results. A large percentage of respondents said that their stress level was fairly high. The real value of the survey came from some of the insightful suggestions the clinicians made about how we could better support them in managing their stress. As a result, the responses helped us develop the components for a new stress management program.

We recently launched a new wellness site where employees can access stress management tools whenever and from wherever they need them. In addition, here are the survey’s top three suggestions:

  • 31.4 percent suggested creating a quiet place to relax during the day. As a result, we are working to establish individual or small group quiet time areas in the break rooms.
  • 19 percent suggested having more humor and laughter in staff meetings as appropriate. As a result, we are working with leaders on ways to make their meetings more fun.
  • 23.8 percent suggested improving the work-life balance. As a result, we are creating a series of stress management classes that I have begun to teach. The class topics focus on self-care, work-life balance, and changing the thoughts that contribute to stress.

The self-care class emphasizes the importance of clinicians’ well-being — giving themselves permission to take care of themselves so they can care for others.  This is especially important for women who are often hardwired and socialized to care for their spouse and children before they care for themselves. That means identifying what they need to focus on and then setting boundaries.

The work-life balance class encourages participants to make time to recharge.

We are programmed to respond to urgent needs. What’s more, some things take on the sense of urgency when they are not really urgent. The reality is we end up using what little time is left over for the activities that we really enjoy. Don’t we deserve to spend our high-energy time on things we enjoy? We teach participants to start out small, carving out 15 to 20 minutes a day, then gradually working to increase the amount of time they devote to themselves.

The changing-thoughts class examines how situations do not cause stress. Instead, it’s how we respond to the situation that causes stress. What if you took a short break from the work or task that is causing you stress? The work will still be there, but you’ll be in a better place mentally to handle the situation.

I’m looking forward to implementing the stress management program we’ve created at Methodist Mansfield, and more important, reducing the stress day to day.

If you’re ready to tackle your stress head on with an organization that cares about your well-being, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Visit Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

EOE/MF/D/V

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Joslyn Pribble is Methodist Health: Key Learnings

By Joslyn Pribble

Joslyn is a manager in Pathology at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

 1.   What’s the most important takeaway you’ve learned in this program that you’ll use to stay on track for the rest of your life?

The most important thing I learned is that I CAN DO this. Any doubts I had about my abilities have been erased as I realize that I am stronger than I ever realized. As long as I maintain that awareness, I will continue to be successful.

 2.   Out with the old. In with the new. Give me three new healthy habits you’ve incorporated into your life.

No more brown sugar cinnamon Pop-Tarts for breakfast. Instead, my body needs real, healthy fuel to get the day started. I track every calorie I eat so that I can manage my intake. All of the unhealthy snacks are gone in our house and have been replaced with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

 3.   Tell us at least three improvements you have accomplished in this program.

I have lost 5½ inches from my waistline. I have dropped 37 pounds and five dress sizes since January. My cholesterol, body mass index, and blood pressure have also come down. Overall, my health has improved significantly from where I started!
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 4.   What are the advantages of having the support of a health coach and trainer? Why?

Knowing that you are not in this program alone is very reassuring. It is amazing how hard people can be on themselves and how beneficial it is to have a health coach and trainer to put things in perspective. If I ever feel a bit off track, I just pick up the phone and Karen or Ginnie is there to help me. Their care and concern are so genuine. I cannot help but push myself harder after working with either of these two! Having someone to openly and honestly talk to without being judged was so refreshing. It really helped my self-esteem. Everyone needs someone to be there for their personal healthy lifestyle changes. I can think of no one better than our wonderful wellness team here at Methodist Health System!

 5.   Hats off to you. Congratulations. Way to go! Now that you’ve completed this program, what’s your next goal to continue to improve your health?

I still have another 20 to 25 pounds to lose. I am working with my primary care physician to bring my cholesterol down to normal. I already weigh less than I did on my wedding day nearly 15 years ago, but I plan on looking better than I did in high school. I will continue my exercise routine. Plus, eating healthy is such a habit now that I cannot imagine going back to my old ways. I truly hope that I can help others — my friends, family, and co-workers — on their personal wellness journey.

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Angela Wrighten is Methodist Health: Key Learnings

By Angela Wrighten, RN

Angela is a staff nurse in Outpatient Chemotherapy at Methodist Richardson Medical Center. Over the last few years, Angela wasn’t the healthy person she used to be. She’s on the right path now. She has changed her eating and exercise habits and is enjoying her favorite activities again.

1. What’s the most important takeaway you’ve learned in this program that you’ll use to stay on track for the rest of your life?

The most important takeaways that I learned from this program are to set realistic goals for myself, work hard at achieving those goals, be patient, and never give up.

2.   Out with the old and in with the new. Give me three new healthy habits you’ve incorporated into your life.

Since the start of the program, I have made exercise part of my daily routine, I make healthier food choices, and I've reduced the stress in my life.

3.   Tell us at least three improvements you have accomplished in this program.

I have lost weight, toned muscles, and gained a healthy attitude.

4.   What are the advantages of having the support of a health coach and trainer? Why?

The most important advantage of having a health coach and trainer is accountability and encouragement. With Karen and Ginnie, I had my very own cheer team. I met with them weekly and received information on diet and exercise as well as encouragement to keep me on track.

5.   Hats off to you. Congratulations. Way to go! Now that you’ve completed this program, what’s your next goal to continue to improve your health?

I want to really focus on making better food choices, specifically types of foods and portions. I have joined an exercise program that keeps me motivated, and I am running again. My short-term goal is to complete a 5K within the next few weeks. My long-term goal is to maintain the healthy habits I have developed through the I Am Methodist Health program for the rest of my life.

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Sharina Arceneaux is Methodist Health: Key Learnings.

By Sharina Arceneaux Sharina is an education specialist in Nursing Administration at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. Because Sharina has a family history of heart disease, she’s met the challenge to live a heart-healthy lifestyle. 1. What’s the most important takeaway you’ve learned in this program that you’ll use to stay on track the rest of your life? This program has definitely taught me that maintaining a healthier lifestyle is really SIMPLE. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure it out. Everyone asks me what did I do to lose the weight, and I always respond, “I eat right and work out. That’s it!” Although the program is over, I continue to exercise as much as possible and still weigh myself weekly. In fact, I look forward to getting on the scale every Tuesday morning. I’m maintaining my weight loss and I am so excited. 2. Out with the old. In with the new. Give me three new healthy habits you’ve incorporated into your life. I continue to stay active, eat healthy, and count my calories. All are easy things that make a huge difference. 3. Tell us at least three improvements you have accomplished in this program. My total cholesterol decreased from 248 to 151, which is the main reason I needed this program. I cannot explain how this is such a relief. When the doctor prescribed cholesterol medicine for me at the age of 28, I knew something had to change. I’ve also lost a total of 15 pounds and 4 inches from my waist. Woo-hoo! 4. What are the advantages of having the support of a health coach and trainer? Why? A health coach and trainer are knowledgeable in the areas of nutrition and exercise. They were able to explain things to me from a real world point of view. I truly appreciate everything they have done. It is important to know they can’t do the work for you. They can only provide you with the tools you need. The rest is up to you. 5. Hats off to you. Congratulations. Way to go! Now that you’ve completed this program, what’s your next goal to continue to improve your health?

Thanks so much! I am going to continue my new habits so that I can maintain my healthy lifestyle. I’m also preparing to participate in a 5K mud run in September, which will be so much FUN!

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Erik Leopard is Methodist Health: Key Learnings

By Erik Leopard
HR Business Partner, Methodist Dallas Medical Center

1.

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What’s the most important takeaway you’ve learned in this program that you’ll use to stay on track for the rest of your life?

  • Calorie counting
  • Reading food labels

2. Out with the old and in with the new. Give me two new healthy habits you’ve incorporated into your life.

  • Calorie counting
  • Portion control

3. Tell us at least three improvements you have accomplished in this program.

4. What are the advantages of having the support of a health coach and trainer? Why?

  • Accountability
  • Education
  • New ideas and strategies

5. Hats off to you. Congratulations. Way to go! Now that you’ve completed this program, what’s your next goal to continue to improve your health?

  • Maintain healthy habits
  • Continue to lower my BMI and weight and reduce my waist size
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