BeWELL Program Launched to Change Lifetime Habits
Carrie Taylor grew up in a house where both parents worked and dinners were often spent in front of the TV. She admits as an adult, she brought that bad habit into her own family's life and sometimes meals spent together are more for a special occasion than an everyday occurrence.
Taylor is hoping to break that bad habit and get some new habits she’ll keep for a lifetime as part of a new “BeWELL (Women Enjoying Living and Learning) Be Healthy, Be Happy” program she learned about at an Women’s Heart Fair in Monmouth, one of many efforts across the OSF HealthCare Ministry to mark Heart Health Month.
The “Be Well” program will be a year-long effort to improve community health in Monmouth and the surrounding area and includes a partnership between OSF HealthCare Holy Family Medical Center and the YMCA of Warren County.
YMCA Associate Executive Director Candy Conard says the two organizations have similar missions and values and by working together it extends opportunities for residents to learn, grow and thrive.
“So many people are coming into our building uninformed and I think with the partnership it’s going to give us two different areas in the community to tell people how to become healthy and we’re going to show them how to be healthy together!”
OSF HealthCare Holy Family Medical Center Diabetes Education Coordinator Tina Canada told would-be participants that enrollment is only $15 a month and it gives non-YMCA members access to the YM facilities three days a week and for an additional cost, babysitting is available.
Canada said there will be rolling enrollment throughout the year and participants will meet for 45 minutes every Thursday from 5:30-6:15 p.m.
“This is not just something you are doing for a time. It’s learning a new lifestyle so that you can make healthy food choices and that you have the tools and knowledge to know what are good fats and what are good carbs,” Canada explained during a break-out session to introduce the program at Saturday’s Women’s Heart Fair.
“Research reveals lifestyle behaviors are a major factor in at least 80 percent of chronic disease,” Holy Family Medical Center President Patty Luker said in a release announcing the initiative. An important component of BeWELL is using diabetes prevention curriculum from the Centers for Disease Control that has proven outcomes.
YMCA Fitness Coordinator Staci Bass says exercise will focus on functional fitness to help people move better and do the things they need and want to do. It will include stretching, balance, light weights, cardio, plus relaxation techniques and ways to improve a spiritual connection. She adds, it is designed to build confidence.
“I tell ‘em, ‘you made it yesterday not able to do but one crunch or one flight of stairs but maybe in two weeks, can do two to four flights of stairs’ so they stick with me and they see it and that gets them motivated. That gives them the confidence to keep moving.”
Confidence and making community connections are the biggest goals for Carrie Taylor. She and her husband moved to Monmouth with their college-age daughter a year ago, just before Christmas and she is looking to make new friends, in addition to the ones she’s met while working as a teacher’s aide.
“It’s not just you come and you exercise but you’re talking about nutrition, you’re talking about being more physical, making better choices and I really like the group idea behind it, tying it with connecting with others.” Her daughter is living at home but in college so Taylor hopes to convince her to enroll and it can be something they do together.
Taylor wants her daughter to learn better approaches now to carry those into the rest of her life. For herself, she also wants to stop the unconscious eating in front of the tv or snacking rather than eating a balanced meal.
“I would like to lose 10 pounds. I wouldn’t mind losing more but I want to set mini goals that I can achieve and go from there, she explained when asked why she’s enrolling in “Be Well.” She added, “It would be great if I could bring some friends along with me. I have some friends at the school who want to be healthier and this would be a great opportunity.”
OSF HealthCare is developing partnerships across its Ministry to expand opportunities that will improve the overall health of residents in the communities it serves.
The first “BeWELL” class will be February 21 at the Warren County YMCA.
To learn more about the program, contact OSF Holy Family Diabetes Education Coordinator Tina Canada or call (309) 734-1424.
To register for Be WELL | Live Healthy. Live Happy visit the Warren County YMCA at 700 W. Harlem Avenue, Monmouth or call (309) 734-3183.