Healthy Horizons

Success Stories

­­­Lindsaybirt -HH-insideLindsey Birt

Lindsey Birt, Health and Safety Specialist for the Butler University Police Department, wanted a "jumpstart" on healthier living. But she was busy as a wife, mother of two small children, full-time Butler employee, and part-time EMT. Healthy Horizons helped her discover options that worked for her and her family.

This is Lindsey's story, in her own words.

How has Healthy Horizons’ weight management program helped you? ~ Show response

Being healthier is part of my job. I'm an EMT [part time, with Putnam County Operation Life] and the CPR instructor for the University Police. Members of the Police Department are like my family. I try to take care of them, talk with them about being heart healthy.

The department decided to hold a weight loss challenge in January 2013. I thought I might as well give it a try. I don't have anything to lose but maybe a few pounds. My husband [Daniel Birt] is an officer with BUPD. We signed up together.

Healthy Horizons coordinated the challenge, working confidentially with all the participants. I went to Healthy Horizons every week and met with the pharmacists. They would take my weight and my measurements, and follow up from the previous week. They'd ask, "How did it go? What did you do exercise-wise? Any downfalls? Anything new?"

I probably emailed Kelly Daneri [Healthy Horizons Academic Program Coordinator] twice a week with questions. The people in Healthy Horizons were always welcoming, easy to talk to. They are great to work with right here on campus. It's so convenient.

They still email and check in with me every other month to make sure everything's going well, or see if I need any help.

I lost almost 23 pounds and have been able to it keep off. More importantly for me is how I feel, how my clothes fit. I've lost inches from my waist, and gone down a couple sizes in pants. For me, that's more important than the number on a scale. It's very encouraging.

By following Healthy Horizon's advice to eat more fruits and vegetables, drink more water, and exercise on a regular basis, I find I sleep a lot better. I get up earlier than I used to. I have more energy.

It took Healthy Horizons to give me a jumpstart. It's been a very good thing for me.

How do you and your family stay healthy? ~ Show response

Daniel has been on weight loss journey for probably two and a half years, and he's lost about 120 pounds. He was at a plateau [in weight loss]. Joining Healthy Horizons gave him that extra boost to get going again. He won our weight loss challenge. He beat me by 0.2 pounds. A little competition there.

We have two children, ages 6 and 3, and we got them involved. It helped us as a family to change our lifestyle. When my husband and I work out at the gym, our kids can go, too, and get to do fun things. We try to stay active.

I'm an avid runner, and this year, I'm running some 5Ks with my son. He's in kindergarten and he's picking up on healthy habits. When we eat something, he'll say, "Is this healthy?" Or, he'll say, "I need some water. I need to be healthy."

All four of us went all winter without colds or being sick.

What are some obstacles you have faced? ~ Show response

I wasn't a healthy eater. I've always struggled eating vegetables and fruits. So, Healthy Horizons gave me some different choices that I could do to incorporate those vegetables and fruits. Very slowly but surely, I incorporated their advice to try things like celery and kale.

It's been over a year and, now, I'm actually getting more servings of fruits and vegetables than the recommended daily servings. For example, last night I had two apples, blueberries, strawberries, and celery.

Water intake was a huge struggle for me. I still have the notes from Healthy Horizons about my weekly goal to drink more water. I've kept those notes as a good reminder.

What did you do to overcome those obstacles? ~ Show response

I like to bake a lot. I had to cut down on that. I also incorporate healthier choices in what I bake. Instead of baking with oil, I might try applesauce or Greek yogurt.

I use the MyFitnessPal app to track calories and make sure I was getting enough protein and carbohydrates.

When I was on the challenge, I had an app called MyWater. Every time I drank water, I would log in the ounces. I had it set up to remind me, if I hadn't logged anything in in two hours, it would say, "You're getting thirsty. Drink water." It would ding on my phone until I logged something in.

One of my co-workers struggles with drinking more water, so when we see each other, we say, "Have you had your water today?"

What keeps you motivated? ~ Show response

My husband is a good example. I always think of him losing 120 pounds. If he can do it, I can do it.

As an EMT, I see a lot of patients who've been sick for a long time. They have diabetes or heart problems. And I always think, if they had done what I'm doing right now-trying to be my best-would they be in this position?

I like spinning; it's fun and builds muscles. I'm an avid runner. My son and I are doing some 5Ks. This year, I'll do a half-marathon, and I'm going to run the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon which will travel through campus!

My hopes are that my children understand the importance of eating healthy and working out. I don't deprive them of their candy and treats, but they've learned moderation. Any time I put on my tennis shoes, my daughter asks, "Are you going to the gym? Are you going running?" And she's only 3. She picks up on that I'm going to do something. They love going to the gym, being outdoors. They're learning the importance of getting out and moving.

What staying healthy tips for do you have for others? ~ Show response

Drink more water. Healthy Horizons told me you should drink half your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 200 pounds, you should drink 100 ounces daily. That's an easy reminder, a good way to figure it out.

Have treats in moderation. Healthy Horizons also said don't completely eliminate sweets or your favorite thing because that's when it will drive you crazy, and then you'll give up. Our family likes to have a little bowl of ice cream every night, but instead of having two scoops, I have one scoop, and I don't have it every night. If cookies are your weakness, just have one, instead of the whole box. It just takes practice.

Weight loss takes time. You don't put the weight on overnight, so you can't expect it to come off overnight. That was hard for me to grasp at first because I just wanted it to happen right away. I was eating healthy and exercising, I thought, so why am I not losing weight? It does take time.

Keep going. Everybody has a bad day; you eat bad. It's fine. Just wake up the next day and start over.