Amanda Davies made a decision to overcome obesity after tipping the scales at 270 pounds. Today she’s down 75 pounds and has energy like never before. She is sharing her story in the hope that she’ll inspire others. Davies has been relating her experiences through a series of blog posts this winter. In this third installment, she looks back on the 2015 screening that inspired her journey to better health.
There are many indicators of good health. How well we move. How vital we feel. How rarely we get sick. How happy we are. Other important measures of health are our numbers, such as blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides, weight, and resting heart rate.
These numbers are objective measurements of our health, and several of them are at the heart of St. Luke’s “Know Your Numbers” screenings. These screenings are provided every year for employees and their spouses who enroll in St. Luke’s “Healthy U” program. Those on the organization’s health insurance plans can lower their insurance premiums by achieving health targets for blood pressure, blood sugar, tobacco use, BMI (body mass index), and waist circumference.
“Although the screenings are voluntary, we’ve seen a 94 to 96 percent participation rate since the program’s inception,” said Terri Landa, wellness manager in St. Luke’s occupational health and well-being department.
It was because of her 2015 Know Your Numbers (KYN) screening that Amanda Davies took the first steps toward changing her entire lifestyle. At a weight of 270 pounds, Davies didn’t feel good physically or emotionally. She knew she needed to change. But it took her KYN screening to kick-start her transformation.
“The numbers are often a wake-up call,” Landa said. “A lightbulb comes on and people think, ‘I may not be around for my kids.’”
“My numbers placed me in the morbidly obese category last February,” Davies said. “I hated that. I decided I was going to fight with everything I have. It’s been hard, but it’s been very empowering.”
In less than nine months, her numbers changed dramatically:
She went from only being able to run one minute on the treadmill to logging 70 minutes every morning. And she started a motivational blog and Facebook page, “Fit and Fabulousness,” where she hopes to inspire others who are where she once was, sharing recipes, tips, stories, and encouragement.
“I have so much more energy to keep up with my kids, and I can be a better mom,” she said. “I feel so good. I feel I finally broke free.”
Every step people take toward improving their numbers has a positive effect on their health. It eases the burden on their heart, their joints, and their entire body—including their brain. It lowers their risk for heart attack, stroke, diabetes, dementia, cancer, and other serious diseases.
“St. Luke’s has used insurance premium reductions to engage employees and spouses around their health since 2011,” Landa said. “So far, we’ve seen a dramatic decrease in prediabetes and uncontrolled diabetes, and this past year we saw a statistically significant decrease in BMI.”
St. Luke’s Healthy U is a multi-year approach to health improvement that also offers health promotion classes, challenges, health coaching and support, and other services such as massage, a weight management program called “BEST U,” and a pregnancy program called “Healthy U and Baby Too!”
“It’s all about our mission of helping people improve their health,” Landa said. “We want people to live long, happy, independent lives. We try to live our mission by encouraging our employees to be leaders and role models in their well-being while helping others get healthy and stay healthy. And we’re now working with other employers to offer these same services in their workplace.”
Anna Fritz is a writer and editor with St. Luke’s Communications and Marketing.