Determination is key for making major lifestyle changes. Letty Ramirez, a Caldwell County employee, decided she was ready to break the cycle of bad habits and she's seeing big results. Ramirez is an insulin-dependent Type 2 diabetic.
"In 2019, I finally had enough, I joined my local gym, and completely changed my eating habits," Ramirez said. "No, I didn't get on a 'diet' or deprive myself of anything, I simply set limits and goals."
Ramirez' work is paying off because she's received positive news at each doctor’s visit.
"In January 2021, I was at 8.4 A1C and between January 2021 and March 2021 I worked even harder, eating exceptionally well, clean eating, 75% veggies, and working out four to six days a week," she continues. "At the end of March, I returned to see my endocrinologist and sure enough my A1C had dropped two points down to 6.4."
Ramirez says she’s going to continue to work until she no longer needs insulin. She is also happy to make the changes for her family.
"I didn't want to continue the bad diet and exercise habits handed down to me from my family to my children. I wanted to stop the cycle," she said. "I have two children who also eat as healthy as I do and exercise."
In addition to working out and moving as much as possible, Ramirez maintains healthy eating habits. She meal preps on Sundays, stays away from processed foods, she eats four to six small meals a day and her diet includes lots of vegetables. She also pays it forward by sharing her story with others.
"I am 50 years old and stronger now than I have ever been and feel fantastic!"
If you are ready to get started on your journey to wellness, there are a number of programs available to help you through your TAC Health and Employee Benefits Pool (TAC HEBP) coverage.
"Healthy County offers you the programs and resources to support you as you are making a lifestyle changes," said TAC Wellness Consultant Ashley Cureton. "But at the end of the day, as Letty experienced, you have to be ready to make those changes."
Below are just some of the resources available to you. There are more programs and information at www.county.org/Health-Benefits/Healthy-County-Program.
- Livongo is a new approach to diabetes management that combines advanced technology with coaching to give you the support you need.
- WW (Weight Watchers Reimagined) helps you lose weight and gain healthy habits with an easy to use app that includes food and activity tracking.
- 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.
- TAC Wellness Consultants provide custom employee wellness solutions and ongoing support.
No matter where you are in your wellness journey both Ramirez and Cureton said it's important to start small.
"I'm a big believer in baby steps because you can celebrate the small changes you make as you get to your large goal," Cureton said. "One decision at a time, one step at a time."