Welcome back to our “Healthy Habit Heroes” blog series, where we share members’ stories, in their own words, about their experiences with Yes Health.
Want to join the “Triple H Club?” Reach out to your coach in our app or send an email to: email@example.com.
An alarm went off for Eric, 44 and father of five, last Halloween when he got the results back from his routine physical. His blood sugar was high and so was his cholesterol. He knew he needed to shed a few extra pounds, but he wasn’t expecting a prediabetes diagnosis. Read on to learn how he turned things around — all with a few healthy lifestyle changes and some good old-fashioned accountability from the Yes Health coaches.
When my doctor told me she had a moral obligation to put me on medication, I asked for three months to see if I could lower my blood sugar and cholesterol levels with diet and exercise. She agreed, with the caveat that if my test results didn’t improve she’d start me on meds.
My insurance wouldn’t pay for a dietician, but I learned that it would cover a year’s subscription to Yes Health to help me address my prediabetes. I’d used other apps in the past—calorie counters and the like—but never stuck with them. (They’re not very engaging.) So my expectations were low. But I also I knew I didn’t want a weekly in-person meeting—it wouldn’t work with my busy schedule. So, Yes Health it was.
I didn’t know my interactions would be so personal — the coaches really make all the difference. Within 48 hours of my first meal log, I learned this was a very different kind of app for three reasons: 1. Just logging in made me aware of my own habits. 2. I was able to immediately act on the coach tips in my meal log dialogues. (In the beginning, I was often surprised when a meal I thought was healthy came back “yellow.”) 3. Checking in with another person made me more accountable.
The first change I made was in my portion sizes. I started eating less and adding more veggies and protein. I always considered fruit a healthy snack and salads to be a good dinner choice. Then a coach pointed out that protein balances out sugar and keeps me feeling fuller longer. I also used to rely on low-calorie soups as an easy lunch or dinner until the coaches made me aware that they also are high in sodium. Now I pay closer attention to nutrition labels and discovered some soup brands that are much better for me.
Praise and accountability go a long way. I teach behavioral economics and it’s pretty much everything I tell my students. Since November, I’ve flown more than 60,000 miles for work and spend a lot of time sitting in airports and on planes. When I packed nuts for a recent trip and got positive feedback from the coaches for planning ahead, a seed was planted. Packing healthy snacks is now the rule for me when I travel.
I was pretty good about sticking to my diet for the first two weeks of the Yes Health program and was already seeing some positive changes. My jeans felt looser. My face looked thinner. Then my family came to town and we decided to go to P.F. Chang’s as a group. I took a look at the menu ahead of time and immediately saw that I was in trouble, so I reached out to Coach Eden for help.
We went through the menu together and she created an entire “family dinner game plan” that included drinking two glasses of water before the meal and having soup as a starter. She picked out two entrees that I could choose from as long as I boxed half. It worked perfectly! I even had healthy leftovers for the next day. I got to go out and enjoy being with my family and feel satisfied without destroying my diet and undoing the progress I’d made. And I got my “green” that night too. At that point the hook was in. I was caught.
I’ve also upped my exercise and spend less time sitting. Unless the weather is horrible, I schedule walking meetings with my grad students to discuss their projects. I practice taekwondo and am testing for my black belt in October. I also set a goal to run a marathon in either June or October. I’m not the type to brag about my 8-mile run on social media to all my high school friends, so it’s satisfying to tell the coaches about my goals and have them support me.
I just finished the 16-week core program and moved to the maintenance phase. (Accountability is still so important to me.) I’ve already lost 25 pounds! My test results also tell me that Yes Health is working: between October 28, 2016 and February 17, 2017, my average glucose dropped from 117 to 103. I’m now considered in the “normal range.” And my A1c went from 5.7 to 5.2. My cholesterol is 208 (from 264) and my triglycerides dropped from 181 to 99. No meds for me, and the trajectory looks great for a healthy future.