The Canyon Ranch Institute Life Enhancement Program (CRI LEP) saved my life.
The first few months of 2014 were my darkest days. I was recently divorced and learning how to be a part-time father. Then my mom, who I could always talk with about life’s ups and downs, was diagnosed with dementia. I felt so alone, and so I turned to food to ease my emotional pain. When I saw that overeating wasn’t helping me at all, I tried to eat healthy and lose weight. I didn’t see results I wanted, so I felt like a further failure and turned to food all over again. Worst of all, I thought about suicide nearly every day. I told myself to think of how my death would affect my two beautiful kids. Those thoughts kept me alive.
Thankfully, I was serving on the board of directors of Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Care when our health center started offering the CRI Life Enhancement Program, thanks to Charles H. and Rosalie Morris. I wanted to experience the CRI LEP myself to learn how it works and how best to spread the word about it. I also hoped it could help me turn around my own life.
Let me tell you, it was a wake-up call right from the start. The results from my CRI LEP baseline evaluation were a shock. My risks for heart attack, stroke, and type 2 diabetes were dangerously high. I sat in my car after getting my results from a CRI LEP Core Team member and thought, “I’m a dead man walking. I could be gone like that.” Ten minutes later, I’d made up my mind to live. I knew I had to take full advantage of everything the CRI LEP offered.
The CRI LEP is health literacy in action. I learned how all parts of my life – food, exercise, my mental and spiritual well-being – affect all the other parts. I learned healthy new habits that will sustain me for the rest of my life. I learned how to share my life’s challenges and successes with others. I made new friends and started to draw on old friends for social support. I found a glimmer of hope and followed it.
By the end of the CRI LEP, my blood results were really good, and I was on a path to a happier and healthier life. I lost 20 pounds during the program, but I’ve lost more than 50 pounds since then. When you’re blessed with an experience like this, you want to share it with others. That’s why the latest step in my journey has been to become a part of the Savannah CRI LEP Core Team. I’m here to show others what is possible and help us all move forward toward better health. My motto today is “No U-Turns” – for myself and every other participant in the CRI LEP.
Program Participant and Core Team Member
CRI Life Enhancement Program at Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Care Inc. with Charles H. & Rosalie Morris