Stacey Hylton of Hebrew Home at Riverdale

“I’m not as tired as I used to be, and I fit into clothes that I thought I’d never wear again. I also look forward to walking on my break time, because it helps lower my stress and energizes me.”

A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale for more than 13 years, Stacey Hylton said that for her, the Workplace Wellness Initiative at Hebrew Home came along at just the right time. Begun in 2012, the jointly administered Union-Management-Fund initiative spurred the creation of wellness programs and weight-loss and exercise competitions at a number of 1199SEIU institutions and facilities. Though Stacey often thought about joining one, by the summer of 2014, she was ready to jump in. “I haven’t had any health problems,” she said. “But I do have a family history of high blood pressure and have wanted to lose weight for quite a while.”

Like many of us, Stacey put on weight gradually largely the result of eating an unhealthy diet and not exercising, she said. Her doctor began to make note of it during her annual visits and would recommend a better diet and more activity. She eventually took her doctor’s advice and made some changes to her diet even before a six-week walking competition at Hebrew Home began in June 2014. “The first few weeks were really hard,” she said. “I didn’t know what to eat!”

With advice from her doctor and a friend as well as research on healthy eating from the “Protecting Our Health” and “Live Healthy” sections of our www.1199SEIUBenefits.org, Stacey decided ate meat and try a vegetarian diet for three She had no idea that a year later, she’d still be eating fish and other seafood only, as well as lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains or that she’d feel so good about it. “I’m not as tired as I used to be, and I fit into clothes that I thought I’d never wear again,” she said. “I also look forward to walking on my break time, because it helps lower my stress and energizes me.”

Stacey was among the winners of the walking competition last summer, which involved monitoring her steps with a pedometer and walking with co-workers during her lunch break. By the end of the six weeks, she’d lost almost 20 pounds and, perhaps more important, was hooked on a new lifestyle and the camaraderie of getting healthier as a group. In total, Stacey has lost 30 pounds and is dedicated to maintaining her good health. During last year’s seemingly endless winter, she and her fellow walkers would do laps inside the facility, she said, but she couldn’t wait to get back outside. “I used to be winded after walking a couple of blocks,” she said. “Now I can go for a jog!”

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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