For seven years, I was a teacher at Milan Elementary School, and then I became the librarian for pre-K through 12. At a staff meeting, we heard about the Canyon Ranch Institute Life Enhancement Program. I liked what I heard and that the program was evaluated so there was data to back up what was being taught. Plus, I had a lot of pain in my neck from arthritis, and I knew I wasn’t as healthy as I wanted to be to keep up with my job and my teenage daughter.
I signed up for the program and before long, my life began to change.
I’ve lost 25 pounds, so it’s pretty easy for people to notice I’ve changed since I finished the program. People who know me well can tell that I’m happier, too. For one thing, I’m not in as much pain from the arthritis. And I’ve been reminded how important it is to stay in balance – something I was very aware of when I was younger, but lost along the way. I know I have to take care of myself by eating the right foods, getting enough sleep, and walking or doing yoga. Some days it’s hard to get everything right, but the more I do, the more I know it’s well worth it!
I learned how to read food labels and about portion control. Now, I measure out portions of fruits or snacks and put them in plastic sandwich bags to take to school. That way, it is easier for me to only eat what I should rather than if I had the entire package with me. I also changed my meals. With a teacher’s schedule, meals weren’t always predictable, and often by the end of a long workday, I would be starving when I got home, so I would go for snacks and food that was fast and easy. Those days are gone. Now I eat small meals several times a day and that evens out my energy level and has eliminated my battle with hunger.
Our school principal knew that I attended the CRI Life Enhancement Program with several co-workers. At the beginning of the school year, he asked us what drinks and snacks he could get for the break room to help us keep our new healthy habits. It’s good to know that the idea of paying more attention to healthy food choices is catching on in our town.
My daughter teases me by asking where I put the “unhealthy” snacks. She knows I’m going to tell her “not in this house.” And then she’ll go for the carrots or healthy crackers and cheese. I realize it’s hard for kids to stay away from the salty, sweet treats they seem to crave, but I think all of us – parents, teachers, everyone – have to help them understand why some foods are better choices than others – and to make the healthy choice.
CRI Life Enhancement Program in Sullivan County, MO