Choosing Life Changes and Wellness Over Full-Blown Diabetes

One employee shares her journey about taking charge of her health with the help of IU13 wellness initiatives.

I heard the words, “Your numbers indicate full-blown diabetes.”  And that’s how my appointment started, with my doctor and wellness coaches right by my side. This is when I realized that my lifestyle had to change, but working full-time, dealing with family, and handling a complicated medical history made my journey difficult.  How could I make the necessary changes? Fortunately, with the help of the IU13 Wellness program, it was manageable. And taking the step to ask for help has changed my life. Here’s my story:


Since this initial appointment, Lisa Troy has taken full advantage of the Wellness Program at IU13, utilizing many aspects to aid in a complete lifestyle change.

Well-Being CompassHer motivation started out suddenly, having her A1C levels checked to reveal numbers that indicated “full-blown diabetes.” On top of a complicated medical history, Lisa knew that now was her time to change, and this moment was pivotal in making or breaking her health.  And so she visited Kathrin, the wellness coach at the QuadMed Health & Wellness Center, to help take that first step. She worked with On-Target Health, utilizing the BodPod, where both her good fats (or lean fats) and bad fats were measured, along with her metabolism, to help determine her recommended caloric intake.

During these meetings Lisa was influenced to make goals that were obtainable. She was asked prompts such as, “Where do you see yourself in the next month?” and “What are you struggling with?” The staff would encourage specific suggestions, while continuing to promote and circulate ideas through social media. This personal approach to wellness provided Lisa with a positive place for growth. She says the goal is to “create healthy habits, not restrictions… it’s not a diet – it’s a lifestyle change.”

Lisa found that the hands-on experience she received at On-Target Health was what helped maintain her motivation and moved her forward in the process. The team would bring various healthier food options to try and show her how these new habits could be easy to implement. Lisa learned more about portion control, about empty calories, and that a little treat now and then was okay.

In addition to working with the QuadMed wellness coach and the On-Target Health team, Lisa is a part of the IU13 Wellness Committee, which holds routine contests such as Walktober, where contestants are encouraged in their wellness journey with prizes and goals throughout the month. Lisa found that IU13 is committed to promoting wellness and making the environment a healthier place to be.

Throughout her journey, Lisa has had her fair share of challenges. Her own history of health complications posed a problem in figuring out ways to eat that would not negatively impact her well-being. Along with this, there was the daily task of avoiding temptation, whether that be cookies in the cafeteria or the draw to choose fast snacks full of empty calories. Lisa found that meal-prep worked well for her, having healthy snacks on hand such as fruit or nuts that would help to take the edge off of cravings.

While her journey was not without struggle, the benefits of being involved in the Wellness Program greatly outweighed the hurdles. Lisa found that the support she received through the program was what allowed her to continue on, during both good and bad days. Lisa also discovered that grace was the great redeemer. The patience that the wellness coaches extended never made her feel as if she had failed, as they remained positive, uplifting, and encouraging through it all. In addition, Lisa deeply appreciated how the coaches truly listened to her varied and changing needs.

As Lisa speaks with those wishing to begin their own wellness journey, she points out that they must be willing to change and to put in the work that is required. She emphasizes that there are always healthy alternatives, and that experimenting with food -- such as cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, and zucchini tots -- can be fun.

Now Lisa has more energy, feeling the renewal that such a lifestyle change brings. She enjoys favorite activities like shopping for clothes, along with shopping for groceries. She has found the strength in encouragement by leaning on those who can provide just this. She has seen that implementing change does not have to be suppressing or restrictive, but rather can pose a “fun challenge” in finding new ways to choose healthier options. Likewise, change does not come in setting lofty goals, but in being faithful in the small things. Thanks to the Wellness Program and Lisa’s commitment, she has a new way of looking at herself, not with self-loathing or shame, but with empowerment and strength.

Lisa Troy is Program Assistant for IU13 Occupational and Physical Therapists and Adaptive Physical Education. She hopes that by sharing her journey that she’ll motivate others to the necessary steps for good health.

For more information, please contact IU13 Human Resources Services.