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New wellness duo plus Kristy off and rolling into February

By David Freeze

For the Salisbury Post

While we waited on an “administrator to be named later” from Novant Health, Michelle Patterson got off to a good start with our “2016 Wellness Journey.” Michelle was waiting for her fitness partner while the top brass at Novant Health Rowan Medical Center took a little time to make the right choice.

What we wanted to do was match up someone with Michelle who would have similar goals. Novant Health has been an active partner in the 2015 Wellness Journey of Brent Parks and Norma Honeycutt, plus helping with Kristy Bell, who is on a slightly different path. Corporate and community wellness nurse Val Velte suggested including an administrator from Novant for 2016. That designated person is Jennifer Payne, nurse manager. Her list of titles is about as long as Michelle’s community committee list. Both Michelle and Jennifer come from active backgrounds and are ready to make regular exercise a staple in their lives.

Jennifer brings an interesting background to our mix. She was a high school softball and volleyball player and has a degree in exercise and sport science. Jennifer originally planned to be a physical therapist or a sports trainer. Her husband was a college football player, and they have two children, ages 5 and 8.  Jennifer has been a Novant employee for 11 years and currently is nurse manager for labor and delivery, nursery and surgical in obstetrics. Jennifer loves helping out in delivery herself when baby volume increases. The Paynes live in Churchland.

To recap briefly about Michelle, she is very active in the community including chairing various committees such as marketing for the United Way and the rebranding effort for Rowan County. She and her husband are part of the Patterson Farm family, where her principal responsibilities include scheduling tours and managing a couple of farm markets. Michelle’s title at Patterson Farms is director of fun. She has three teenage daughters and helps coach the West Rowan High School swim team.

Jennifer and Michelle both have plenty of stress in their lives and blood pressure issues. The 2016 wellness journey for both of them will focus on managing stress and improving overall health. Jennifer entered the program with a secondary goal of losing about 50 pounds, and Michelle wants to drop 20.

Michelle has spent the month exercising at the Hurley Y, on her home treadmill, and recently on the streets of Salisbury. Jennifer joined us midway through the month and has caught up quickly. Both ladies have had their total inches and body fat measured by Tammy Swicegood at the Hurley Y. Michelle has had her risk assessment done with Velte at Novant, and Jennifer will get hers done this week. This assessment includes weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, BMI and risk factors.

Kristy Bell needs to ramp up her activity level, most of it at the South Rowan YMCA. Kristy, originally 555 pounds, had not walked unsupported for two years prior to September 2015. Once on our program, she lost 45 pounds from mid-September through the end of November 2015. Kristy then lost focus and has actually lost ground since that time. I continue to encourage Kristy to become more active and make walking a part of her day, replacing long periods of sitting which have contributed to her significant health issues. Kristy has currently been taking Silver Sneakers aerobics and various pool aerobics classes. She attended a seminar with a registered dietician.

Now for the results that Jennifer, Michelle and Kristy achieved in January. Kristy was able to lose 10.5 pounds of the 15 she gained in December. Her progress is not on pace with what we expected year to date. Kristy’s goals for February include walking more, improving her diet by reducing processed foods and sodium and adding fruit. A major goal is to reduce her long list of medications. Kristy needs to make every day count, especially with the lost time during December.

Michelle is a swimmer by choice and becoming a runner by necessity. She once took my beginning runners class and has had some individual coaching over the years. On our runs during January, Michelle did very well and surprised herself by being able to run 3.1 miles without stopping. Michelle’s goal for February is simply to lose another three pounds, the same as she did in January. That will help with her yearly goals of destressing, getting in better shape, leaving the blood pressure medicine behind and making time for herself. Michelle said, “After I work out, I feel like I have accomplished something. The workouts aren’t easy, but they are rewarding.”

Jennifer got off to a quick start. From our first weigh-in till the end of the month, she lost 10 pounds. Her goals for February include continuing to build endurance, making exercise a habit and to lose more weight. Jennifer said, “I really feel good, and this is just the accountability that I need to get started on a fitter life. I truly enjoy the workouts!”

Both ladies enjoyed their first 5K run together. Michelle said, “We both agreed we would have stopped early in the run and started walking if we had not been together.” I thought that we might be walking after a mile. They both dug deep and got it done. It was fun to hear them talk as we ran.

A brief update on Brent includes completing a major skiing trip successfully and another 5K run. Norma reports that she is still after it and had another small weight loss in January.

Now that you know Michelle and Jennifer and are updated on Kristy, I hope you will follow them on their 2016 journey. See you at the end of February!

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