McLeod employee from Darlington, Iesha Petty, receives American Heart Association Lifestyle Change Award
When Iesha Petty began her weight loss journey she weighed 314 pounds. She described herself at the time as a “tired wife who was not exercising at all.” She felt sad and looked that way to others.
“I saw a picture of myself that my husband had taken on my birthday,” said Iesha. “It made me cry. I knew I could do better, and that I needed to make changes for my children’s lives and for my own.”
And Iesha did. That day, she made a personal decision and commitment to choose to eat better and to exercise. She started by walking daily during breaks at work. She and her family also tried any physical activity they could think of just to get out of the house and to stay active. They played dodge ball in the neighbor’s yard, baseball in the field across the street or basketball. No yard was off limits to Iesha’s exercise goal.
In addition, Iesha started looking at meals and what her family was eating. “Initially, I began serving portion controlled carbohydrates,” said Iesha. “I also involved my family in the planning of healthier snacks. We changed our unhealthy way of thinking and instead chose fun, healthy positive meals.”
The weight loss began. At first, Iesha could feel the difference, in that she had more energy and was smiling more often, but she wasn’t seeing the results she wanted on the scale. But, she kept moving, dancing. and seeing life differently and the pounds began to drop off.
“One day, my four-year-old daughter came to me, gave me a kiss, looked at me and said ‘Mommy you got small.’ I began to cry with tears of joy,” said Iesha. “She gave me the push I needed to continue.”
One hundred pounds into her weight loss journey, Iesha felt like she needed another helping hand. When she received her invitational letter for the McLeod Healthier You program Iesha was ready to sign on.
McLeod Healthier You is a population healthcare management program, for McLeod Health employees, designed to give participants guidance in managing their chronic disease and navigating the healthcare system through the use of McLeod RN Care Managers.
Care Managers meet regularly with participants to educate them on chronic disease management, setting goals, and reinforcing care plans established by primary care and/or specialists. Care Managers also serve to ease transitions if participants require higher levels of care such as emergency or inpatient admission.
Melissa Page, RN is Iesha’s Care Manager. “Melissa was proud of what I had already been able to accomplish, but she wanted me to do more,” said Iesha. “She was able to make adjustments to some of the initiatives I already had in place. By working together I was able to lose another 30 pounds. My cholesterol numbers, which were good, got even better.”
Recently, Iesha was a recipient of the American Heart Association’s Lifestyle Change Award for 2015. The Lifestyle Change Award recognizes individuals annually who have made significant and positive change to improve their quality of life and overall health.
She was nominated by co-worker, Joe Page, who is very proud of her accomplishments and hard work. “He told me that he thought I was an obvious choice for the award,” said Iesha. “It felt good that someone took the time to see my efforts and recognize me for them.
“I know that there is many people out there just like me. They are looking for solutions, a ray of light, or a little motivation. If I can be that for someone else, then I have been successful. Sometimes, all you need to know is that it is possible to do it, and make the decision to live differently.
“My advice to anyone who wants to lose weight is to do it for the right reasons. Do it so that you can be around for your loved ones. Do it so that you will have fewer sick days and a healthier body. Today, I am happier and healthier than ever,” added Iesha.”
Iesha is an IT Business Operations Analyst. She has been with McLeod Health since 2012. Learn more about American Heart Association at: www.heart.org