There is a terrific resource, right here in our community, that is terribly underutilized. I am referring to the Enlighten program, based at the EMH Center for Health and Fitness. As a nurse and employee at EMH, I knew about this program for a while. I had seen people achieve great things in the program, yet I resisted joining. Its not as though I don't understand the benefits of a healthy lifestyle; after all, I advocate for a healthy lifestyle for my patients every day. Its definitely a lot easier to educate others than it is to take that same advice.
With 2012 approaching, I decided to go speak with the Enlighten coordinator and see if there was any way that I could fit the program into my already crazy, overscheduled life. With a full time job and four kids, how was I going to do this? I had tried different programs and failed before. Still, I went to the meeting and was very excited to hear about all that Enlighten has to offer. I signed up on the spot and dived right in.
When I joined the Enlighten program, I met with a variety of clinicians who support our journey. They included a nurse practitioner, mental health expert, dietician, and personal trainer. I was given a very easy meal plan to follow, and started with that immediately. My first week, I had a TON of questions, as you can imagine. I contacted the dietician who responded immediately with answers, suggestions, and support. It was helpful to have "real time" answers to my questions. This was a huge bonus; something I was missing in other programs.
I also began the suggested workout plan, which is to exercise a minimum of 4 days a week. A benefit of this program is full access to the EMH Center for Health and Fitness, which offers so many options in terms of finding activities that I would enjoy participating in. There are two exercise classes dedicated to Enlighten participants only, and they provide a very rigorous workout. I always feel like a accomplished a great deal whenever I leave one of those workouts! As a person who never really worked out, I was completely surprised by how much I look forward to trying new and different things at the fitness center. I didn't expect that.
The Enlighten program takes place over the course of a year, and there are milestones that you need to achieve along the way. These milestones are set up when you begin the program. I have just finished week 8, and I am happy to report that I have lost 28.5 lbs, which has surpassed my 6 month goal! I thinks the Enlighten instructors are as thrilled for me as I am! The program staff have all been friendly and supportive, and there is a real camraderie between the Enlighten participants as well.
Joining Enlighten is turning out to be one of the best decisions I have made lately. I look forward each week to see what progress I have made, and to learn new ways to improve my health and wellness. I'll be checking in once a week to let you all know how it is going, both the ups AND the downs. I can honestly say that I feel I am making changes to truly better my life, and that they will stick this time due to the nature and duration of this program. 2012 is off to a good start!