February 10, 2017

Adventures In Wellness – Change is Good

In this recurring blog series, Karen allows us to follow along on her journey toward better health. She has set her mind to losing weight and getting fit, and to help her reach those goals, she is tapping into a number of resources Mission Health has to offer. 


By Karen Vernon

“You never change,” my physician exclaimed as she breezed into the exam room for my annual physical a few weeks ago. “Seriously, you always look the same.”

shutterstock-exercise-yoga-matShe meant it as a compliment, noting the several years of history we’ve covered in the time I’ve been seeing her. But I heard it a little differently this time.

“Well,” I said, “that’s too bad, considering I lost 10 pounds after I saw you last year, and apparently have now put a lot of that back on.”

Nearing the end of my self-declared Year of Wellness, I would have hoped for some more obvious evidence of positive change, especially from this health provider who sees me once or twice a year. Heck, I’d even settle for the not-so-obvious!

There are some things of which I’m very proud. Chief among them is that I’ve sustained my gym workouts since the start of this journey, even if some weeks I only make it there once or twice. I reminded my doctor that it was her questioning and encouragement last year that prompted me to add toning and strengthening to my previous cardio workouts on the elliptical. I can tell a difference in how I look and feel, and still marvel at the muscles I occasionally catch a glimpse of during my trips to the gym.

Also near the top of my list of accomplishments: I’ve made some real steps in a healthy direction with my eating. Thanks to the Healthy Weight program, I’ve stuck pretty faithfully to the “half a plate of vegetables” guideline with every meal – so much so that it causes me real angst when I find myself dining somewhere that doesn’t offer good options for this.

But since I promised to keep this real, it’s confession time. I haven’t kept all my promises to myself or hit all my targets. My name is Karen and I am addicted to sweets. Seriously. I knew I had a snacking problem, and the early days of Healthy Weight raised my awareness and helped me build some new habits. But life crowds in, and I get sloppy.

It’s become apparent that sweets are my downfall. I’ve gotten back into the bad habit of snacking in the evening after dinner, and sweets are what I turn to, almost every time. I’m trying to get back on track and re-embrace those healthier habits, and I’ve learned that removing the temptation entirely is the only surefire approach, though sometimes I’ve even been known to get in my car to answer the call of Dunkin’ Donuts five miles away (apparently it carries further than you’d think!).

Karen Vernon HeadshotI’m still struggling with my weight. It’s slightly lower than when I started the program early this year, but has crept back up more than I’d like. As the Healthy Weight folks emphasize, I know it’s less about the number on the scale and more about overall health, but still, I’m worried. The holidays focus so much on food. I wish I felt more confident in my ability to resist temptation, but I also know that indulging (a little) in the foods of the holiday season is part of what brings me joy.

Again, I come back to balance – a time and a portion for everything. And as my doctor was quick to point out, having lost and regained that 10 pounds multiple times in my adult life, we know I can do it again. I’m holding that thought as I try to navigate the season.


Click here for previous entries in the Adventures in Wellness blog series.

To learn more about the Healthy Weight Program, visit Mission-Health.org, or call (828) 213-4740. For information on the CarePartners/Mission Fitness Center, contact Valerie Moore at valerie.moore@msj.org or (828) 213-0861. For questions about personal training services, contact Mikey Landreth at (478) 550-2424 or Michael.Landreth@msj.org.

Karen Vernon is a Senior Communication Consultant for Mission Health, and has enjoyed a three-decade career in not-for-profit governance and leadership, human resources and communications. Away from work, she dreams of writing a wildly successful novel and embarking on a world tour (with entourage). Meanwhile, she’s the ringmaster for a three-ring circus that includes two teenage daughters and a twenty-something son, two dogs, two cats, and a somewhat younger and much more fit husband, who, really, she is just trying to keep up with.

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