Steps Toward a Better Lifestyle
The story of Heather Teshome

When Heather Teshome signed up for CHER’s 6 month managing your health class, she said “it was the right time for me.” After several years of feeling worse and worse she’d gotten a health issue under control but realized she needed to reclaim her overall health and well being.

“I was at my highest weight point and really angry with myself because I’d allowed myself to feel so awful and think it was acceptable,” Heather explained.

After attended several of CHER’s free classes in the community, Heather signed up for a six month class on managing your health and weight through the CHER Diabetes Education Center taught by registered dietitian Lisa Randall who is certified in adult weight management.

“I was impressed with Lisa’s attitude about eating and health in general and her approach to teaching and the amount of knowledge she had,” she said. “I knew that if I wanted to feel better I had to make sure I was working with a doctor and I needed to be serious about being healthy, understanding nutrition and how food affected my body and to make sure that what I was putting into my body made me feel better.”

The course started with each participant meeting individually with Lisa so the class would be tailored to their unique needs.

“It has been the best thing I’ve ever done for myself,” said Heather. “Lisa’s not teaching you how to diet. She’s teaching you how to change your life.”

Over the course of the class Heather lost 30 pounds, dropped two sizes and began to feel much better by applying what she learned. For example, she became very intentional about what and how much she ate, choosing foods she knew would give her sustained energy.

“I’m a lot more aware of what I put in my mouth and what my body does with it,” she said. “Lisa helped me be aware of why I eat what I eat.”

When her husband recently made breakfast pancakes, for example, Heather recognized his efforts as an act of love and ate them. But instead of slathering a stack with syrup she stopped at two and ate them with peanut butter and a glass of milk for protein, a choice that didn’t end in a mid-morning crash.

“Without the class I wouldn’t have known to make those choices,” she said.  “It’s an awareness, not a diet…It has been truly life-changing for me.”

Now, Heather says she has more energy for her busy life.  “My kids will tell you I’m more active. I’m happier with life. I’m more involved in everything that’s going on in my life,” she said.  “I know I’ll never go back to where I was. I’m worth too much to allow myself to do that and I understand what I’m doing to my body…In my opinion, Lisa saved my life.”

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