Employee Uses Health Assessment to Shed 50 Pounds

The following article was written and produced by Kaiser Permanente’s Live Well, Be Well Program.

With the assessment’s resources behind her, Roseville’s Gayle Miller gets fit, looks great—and inspires others.

They say a picture speaks a thousand words. For Gayle Lynn Miller, that picture was a snapshot of her taken at a friend’s 60th birthday party—and it said, “Something needs to change.”

Miller, a pathology clerk at KP’s Roseville Medical Center, had spent the better part of 2010 in casts after fracturing one leg and then the other. The injuries offered her little opportunity for exercise, and before she knew it, the pounds had crept on.

“I looked at the photo of myself from the party and thought, ‘Oh, my goodness, I need to do something,’” Miller said. “I didn’t like what I saw.”

Miller also didn’t like how she was feeling. Blood tests from a routine check-up indicated that her sugars and cholesterol were at pre-diabetic levels, and she found herself often breathless and needing to stop several times on the walk to her car.

“I don’t smoke or drink so it was a real sign that something was wrong,” she said.

As an SEIU-UHW shop steward, Miller knew that the total health assessment was a valuable offering from Live Well Be Well, the region’s program providing more than 250 services aimed at promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of employees and physicians. She also knew that taking the online assessment of one’s overall health was a Performance Sharing Program (PSP) goal for the region.

She was also eager for some help.

So Miller took the total health assessment, and it confirmed what she already suspected—her weight gain had become a health issue.

But it also gave her the tools to address it: She credits the assessment with changing her life.

“If I hadn’t taken it, I’m sure I would have just continued getting bigger,” she said.

The assessment not only gave her a picture of her current health, but it has also consistently connected her to resources to improve it, including counseling and Healthy Living classes and podcasts. As a result, Miller has shed more than 50 pounds and dropped four clothing sizes since March 1. Even better, she brought her cholesterol and blood sugars down to normal levels.

Miller’s dramatic weight loss inspired others in her department.

“I noticed that Gayle had lost so much weight,” said cytotechnologist Amalia Villafan. “I asked, ‘What are you doing? You look great.’”

The answer was walking an hour every day and changing her diet, which previously included lots of sweets and carbohydrates. Villafan began walking with Miller, and eventually a dozen co-workers joined them, starting an informal walking club. The group walks the perimeter of the Roseville campus during breaks and lunch.

“It’s amazing,” Villafan said. “It really does work. Just walking this little bit I’ve lost 10 pounds this year.”

Miller likes to say that the benefits of the total health assessment go beyond the potential compensation it offers as a PSP goal in Northern California. It paid off by helping her become healthier and happier. And the proof is in the photos of her today.

“When Kaiser gives out T-shirts and they ask, ‘What size?’ what a great feeling it is to be in a single digit.”

Take Your Personal Wellness Assessment Today!

WellPATH is partnering with Pinnacle Training Systems to provide WellPATH-eligible individuals with personalized health and wellness profiles – and it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. Learn more about the Know Your Numbers campaign and complete a Personal Wellness Assessment (PWA) to get a snapshot of your current health and wellness.

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