TAC HEBP member changes her life

120-pound weight loss accredited to Healthy County wellness programs

By Melissa Porch

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A TAC Health and Employee Benefits Pool (TAC HEBP) member is down more than 100 pounds with the help of two Healthy County wellness programs offered to members.

Crystal Gonzales, deputy county clerk in Haskell County, said she wanted to lead by example after she became wellness coordinator for Yoakum County, a position she previously held. She became even more serious about her health when she was diagnosed with high blood pressure.

She learned about the Omada and Livongo programs after attending the 2019 TAC HEBP Healthy County Boot Camp conference, and she applied for and was accepted into the programs.

Livongo provides a Bluetooth-enabled blood pressure monitor and Omada a wireless digital scale.

"It took me time to get used to weighing myself every morning because I was putting the work in and sometimes the scale wasn’t moving or going anywhere," she said. "Then, I changed my mindset and said today’s a new day and I'm going to do better."

Gonzales said Omada let her track her progress, educated her about how to make better food choices and provided one-on-one coaching assistance.

"The healthy habits I’ve created are a part of me now. My blood pressure has improved," she said. "When it comes to eating, I don’t restrict myself too much. I believe everything in moderation is better than cutting out altogether."

Gonzales said some of her other healthy habits include drinking water as much as possible, taking the stairs at the courthouse and making healthier choices at mealtime. She also makes sure to take a walk each day after work, which she started doing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I had already decided I wanted to take care of myself for my family," Gonzales said. "And in March when COVID hit, I realized my kids were home all day stuck inside the house. So, on March 18, I said, 'Let's go for a walk; you’ve been home all day.'"

First, the walks were just a couple of blocks, but the distance grew each day. Even after her children stopped joining her, Gonzales kept walking, setting a goal of 3 miles per day.

"Walking outdoors was outside of my comfort zone at first," she said, "but I grew to love it!"

Gonzales has lost 120 pounds since March 2020. Her advice for others wanting to make lifestyle changes is to start small and use the available TAC HEBP programs.

"It’s amazing. I feel good and I feel well. That, to me, is everything," she said. "I loved Omada and Livongo, but there’s so many programs available to us through our TAC HEBP benefits. You just have to take advantage of them."

Healthy County, which is part of TAC HEBP, offers numerous programs and resources for members looking to start their wellness journey. Learn more at www.county.org/Health-Benefits/Healthy-County-Program.

Omada is a digital lifestyle-change program that helps people at risk for Type 2 diabetes or heart disease lose weight and build sustainable habits that improve their health. 

Livongo is a new approach to diabetes and blood pressure management that combines advanced technology with coaching to give you the support you need.  

“Wellness programs help employees adopt behaviors that improve their health, creating a happier, healthier workplace culture where increased productivity, improved morale and stronger workplace loyalty prevail. Healthy County has the programs and resources necessary to assist members in achieving their healthier lifestyle goals.” 

            –  TAC Wellness Consultant 
                Stacey Bruington