At age 66, Tom Shaffer had always considered himself to be fairly healthy. Over the years, it became normal for him to put on a few extra pounds during the winter months, then loose some or all of that weight during the summer. But at a routine physical exam with his doctor in June, 2013, Tom learned the status of his good health may soon be in jeopardy.
“Tom’s weight had increased to the highest it had ever been,” said Dr. Joseph McGargill, family practice physician at Mercy East Family Practice. “He had high blood pressure and was pre-diabetic, which are both risk factors for more serious health complications.”
Dr. McGargill didn’t waste any time finding Tom the resources he needed to help him improve his health. Within just a few days, Tom met with Mercy Health Coach, Andrea Carter, to set goals and create a plan for living a healthier lifestyle.
“As a health coach, it’s my job to work with patients to create customized health care improvement plans and to provide ongoing education and support to patients as they make changes to improve their health,” said Carter. “When I first met Tom, he was very motivated to learn how he could make changes in his daily routine that would have long-term health benefits.”
After just a few coaching sessions, Tom was already beginning to see improvement.
“I now have a better understanding of how to nourish my body with healthy foods so I feel full and satisfied,” said Tom. “My health coach educated me about the effects different foods can have on my body and gave me the resources I needed to make healthy decisions when it came to specific foods and portion sizes.”
In five months, Tom lost just over 40 pounds and has significantly reduced his risk for developing chronic health conditions. He credits tracking the food he eats every day as one of the most valuable tools that has helped him along in his journey to good health. He’s also gained self-discipline when it comes to going walking for exercise, something he tries to do as often as possible. Most importantly, Tom has gained a new friend.
“I really enjoy the visits with my health coach and I look forward to learning something new during each visit. Andrea provides the positive encouragement I need to stay on track,” said Tom.