Patricia Blount of Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital

With a family history of diabetes and high blood pressure, Patricia Blount made changes to her lifestyle and lost almost 30 pounds before she developed a more serious health condition.

As a Social Worker and certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital, Patricia Blount has dedicated her career to helping people get healthy before a chronic illness leads to serious—even life-threatening—consequences. But early last year, Patricia herself found that she was “at least” 20 pounds overweight. She also knew that her family history of high blood pressure and diabetes put her at an increased risk for health problems.

Fortunately, Merle Warren, her friend, co-worker and fellow 1199SEIU member, was beginning to make healthy changes in her own life and had begun walking in the area around the hospital where they both work. “I wasn’t having health problems yet, but my clothes didn’t fit right and I felt tired and uncomfortable almost all the time,” Patricia said.

“I started noticing Merle walking on her lunch break, and she would stop by my desk to talk about how it was making a difference.” (Merle was featured in our Fall 2014 edition of For Your Benefit.)

“I am so happy with the changes I’ve been able to make and, of course, with the results and the way I feel. Now, I just want to pass these healthy habits on to others!”

Patricia began walking on her lunch hour, often with Merle when their schedules would allow it, and said she started to notice a difference after only a few weeks. Encouraged by the good feeling that she couldn’t entirely explain and the support from her friends, she kept up her routine and also began to change her diet. She started to bring fresh fruit to work every day and replaced sugary beverages with water. For lunch these days, Patricia most often has a salad, and between meals—which was once her toughest time—she has given up sweets, substituting more nutritious options like almonds, carrot sticks, apples and oranges.

After losing 28 pounds and going from a size 14 to a size 10, Patricia said she wants to share her secrets. “I am so happy with the changes I’ve been able to make and, of course, with the results and the way I feel,” she said. “Now, I just want to pass these healthy habits on to others!” And that includes her three grandchildren. “I make sure they eat healthier than they used to,” she said. “We still have ice cream or a brownie now and then, but mostly we stick to yogurt and low-fat smoothies.”

What Do Your Benefits Mean to You?

You count on your health benefits to support you in your efforts to stay healthy, whether it’s by getting regular checkups, keeping a chronic condition under control or just improving your lifestyle in general. But has there ever been a time when your health coverage literally saved your life or the life of a loved one? If so, we’d like to hear from you. To share your story with your fellow members in an upcoming issue of For Your Benefit, please contact the Funds at [email protected].

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