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Healthy Horizons

Success Stories

Emily O'Neal

Emily O'Neal, a Program Assistant in Internship and Career Services and a 2013 Butler graduate, began running competitively in December 2014. She completed her first Indianapolis Mini-Marathon in May 2015 and will prepare for the 2016 Mini with support from Healthy Horizons and weekly training sessions at Hinkle Fieldhouse, led by Indy Runners.

Indy Runners is offering up to 50 free memberships for Butler employees to participate in the January through May Mini-Marathon training. Contact Healthy Horizons for more information.

Here is Emily's story, in her own words.

How did you start competitive running? What keeps you going?

After graduating, I felt there was more for me to accomplish. I was looking for some fulfillment and ways to be healthier. I ran a 5K in December 2014. I had just passed my GMAT to get into the Butler MBA program. I felt really empowered and thought, "I'm going to run a marathon."

In 2015, I completed the Mini-Marathon, a sprint triathlon—that's a 500-meter swim, 10 miles on a bike, and 3 miles running - and the Indianapolis Monumental Half-Marathon.

I'm still slow, but I'm out there running. It's a great stress-reliever. While running, I don't think about what's going on with work and school. And, it's a nice perk being out there burning calories, so I don't feel as guilty when I indulge in desserts.

The running community is fantastic. Running has created many conversations for me with other people.

How do Indy Runners’ training sessions at Butler help you meet your running and wellness goals?

Indy Runners meet at Hinkle Fieldhouse every Tuesday from January through May at 6:00 PM. Depending on weather, there can be over 200 people there. We line up in the hallways and then run in groups on the Broad Ripple Canal towpath. We run 3-to-11 miles, usually with 10 people going at the same pace as you.

At the end, they have snacks and occasional presentations by doctors or running specialists, talking about shoes, nutrition, and other help.

I love the training structure. Indy Runners gives us a pamphlet outlining every day from January to race day, to encourage you to schedule your training runs. They understand that you're not going to run every day, and that you shouldn't.

Healthy Horizons Pharmacist Isabel Hagedorn is part of Indy Runners, and we'll be in the same pace group in 2016. So, the person who helps me set my health goals in Healthy Horizons is also helping me attain my running goals. We live in the same neighborhood and rode bikes to work once a week last summer and fall.

How does Healthy Horizons support your running and wellness goals?

I went to my first Healthy Horizons health consult in November 2013. I had just graduated and wanted to make the best of entering into the real world. I heard from co-workers what a great program Healthy Horizons is.

I started with monthly appointments; now I visit every other week. Isabel and I talk about two or three health and fitness goals I'll aim for in the next week. It keeps me accountable - I know my goals, and they know my goals.

Healthy Horizons helps me set realistic goals for my physical workouts and food. Isabel will get out the calculator, and we use all the numbers to see what would be a realistic goal for me to achieve—how many runs per week I want to get in to train for an upcoming race, and how many miles for each run. I add my exercise into my weekly goals. 

I started running at around 12 to 12-and-a-half minutes per mile. My overall pace for the 2015 Mini was 12 minutes. I set a goal to go down to 11-and-a-half for the Monumental Marathon. I didn't meet that goal, but I set a personal record and shaved 3 minutes off my overall time.

Do you participate in other Healthy Horizons programs?

I've attended twice-a-week Lunchtime Yoga since last spring, as an alternative way of exercise and building muscle that balances with running. I like that the yoga is for faculty and staff only. It's neat to meet other people on campus who I wouldn't encounter normally. 

In January 2015, I attended a financial planning session with Pete the Planner (a.k.a. Peter Dunn) offered by Healthy Horizons. Pete helped me to come up with a plan to pay off my student loans by the following summer. With the loans paid off, I was able to move from my hometown of Martinsville to Indianapolis, where I have more life options. I don't have that extra burden to worry about it.

What obstacles to maintaining good health habits do you face? How does Healthy Horizons help you overcome obstacles?

I'm busy working full time and attending grad school part time. It's sometimes difficult to get in my runs or to cook at home. Eating out is more convenient, and it's how I hang out with friends.

In Healthy Horizons, we set goals for how many times a week I will eat out. They also gave me their cookbook, with quick, easy-to-make meals that are healthy.

I have a big sweet tooth and love desserts, but moderation is key. In a recent appointment, I decided to limit my desserts. Isabel asked, "How many do you want to limit it to? What's going to be realistic for you?" My limit went from two desserts per week to three.

What tips can you offer Butler employees interested in running?

  • Try running. You may like it.When I started with Healthy Horizons, I thought running was dull, that people who run "are crazy." It's unbelievable the transition I've made. I never would have thought of myself as a competitive runner. My grandfather now calls me "the athlete of the family."
  • I learned that running is fun. You feel so accomplished. When you're getting suited up for a run, you know that at the end of it, you'll feel really good.
  • Don't go it alone.  Indy Runners, which includes a number of Butler people, are a strong community. You're all in training to do the same thing. Some people may be slower; some may be faster, more trained, or less trained. They're from all walks of life. But everyone is excited about accomplishing the same thing. Everyone cares for each other; they motivate and cheer for each other as they cross the finish line.
  • Choose exercise as a lifestyle.  I don't want to be the person who caught the fad of running for just one race and then doesn't keep going. You have to make the choice to go out and run. I'm trying to live up to what I've accomplished.
  • Work with a structured plan. If you have a goal, and pair it with a structured plan and the support and guidance of Healthy Horizons, anything is possible. They're always there to check up on your progress, to motivate you. A plan lets you know what you're working toward. And being able to cross off goals is a fantastic feeling.

Uriah Eddingfield

Lieutenant Uriah Eddingfield has been a firefighter with the Noblesville (Indiana) Fire Department for 12 years. He is married to Carrie Maffeo, Director of the Health Education Center at the Butler's College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. As the spouse of a University employee enrolled in Butler's group health plan, Uriah has been able to take advantage of Healthy Horizons services. Supported by Healthy Horizons, he changed his eating habits, improved his overall health, and lost more than 40 pounds.

How have Healthy Horizons’ nutrition consult and weight management services helped you meet your health goals?

Since I met my wife six year ago, I had been stopping at Healthy Horizons for occasional health services.

I finally got serious about it in late 2013. We (Uriah and Carrie) did the Ironman race in Louisville, but I didn't get to finish. I'd had a bad year with a lot of injuries. I was overweight for what I was trying to do.

I came in to see Carrie, and we did my metabolic testing (part of the nutrition consult).

Healthy Horizons built a calorie and workout spreadsheet for me that I have on my laptop. I keep a food log, writing down what I eat and drink, and the calories for each meal.

I exercise most days of week-a lot of biking, swimming, and lifting weights. The spreadsheet automatically calculates my net calories for a day. Once we figured out how many calories I needed in a day, I was able to "dial in" my nutrition and eat the right amount of the right kinds of foods at the right time.

For meal planning, the spreadsheet lists foods I eat the most, with calories per ounce for a specific serving size. Healthy Horizons provided those numbers and taught me how to measure servings. That's probably had the biggest impact on my diet-learning healthy serving sizes and how much to eat.

Every week, I weigh in at Healthy Horizons. Every four weeks, I get my waist measured. I went from 219.8 pounds in March to 178.6 pounds in early December. I've definitely increased my health. I could always carry guys up flights of stairs, but now it's so much easier to do.

What are some obstacles you have faced in maintaining good health and healthy habits?

The cravings are bad sometimes. Somebody at the station might be eating a chili cheese dog, and I'll think, "I'd really like that right now." When that happens, I get healthy snacks that I've learned about from Healthy Horizons, like apples and peanut butter. 

I wish I had [Healthy Horizons' guidance] when I started at the fire department. Back then, if I had a big workout, I thought I could eat what I wanted. When I was in my early 20s, all my cholesterol levels were through the roof.

Firemen get yearly physicals, blood work done, stress test, EKGs-all the stuff it takes to keep us healthy. But, the doctors administering those test had no advice for me on lowering my cholesterol. They said I had to work out more, when I was already working out like crazy. Or, they'd tell me, "Eat better." But, what does that mean? Eat less?

What did you do to overcome those obstacles?

Healthy Horizons made eating healthier very clear and easy. The struggles have been minimal because they're so good about giving options upon options. It's not work, not a diet; it's a seamless, easy lifestyle change. Now, at 36 years old, I've flipped my old cholesterol numbers.

I like the diet Healthy Horizons helped me develop. I look forward to all my meals now. Even on days when I work out for several hours and follow the meal plan, I'm not hungry.

Healthy Horizons showed me healthier food options, like homemade pizza and soups. If I want a big cheeseburger, I can still have it, but I get an 80-calorie bun instead of having a 140-calorie bun, or a better grade of meat with less fat. Instead of regular French fries, I can make baked sweet potato (fries), which I think taste better than regular French fries.

I wasn't a cook when this first started. Healthy Horizon gave me a meal plan and a pile of healthy recipes to try. I found the ones I like the most, and now they're in my head. For dinner, I can make chicken breast, steamed vegetables, and rice in 15 minutes.

Who and what keep you motivated?

I want to set a healthy example for my son, Andrew, and be there for him and Carrie. We go hiking in the woods and camping. That's fun; I want to be able to do that.

The guys I work with motivate me. As firemen, we rely on each other. If I'm unhealthy and incapable in a bad situation, then they've got to help me. Then, we're all in a worse scenario than where we started.

As a fireman, I go into people's houses constantly. I see people who are unhealthy and the struggle they've gotten into from not taking care of themselves. I think, if I change what I do now, I can avoid that situation later.

Also, I'm a pretty competitive person. I have an uncle who runs races and marathons, and I always want to beat him. The lighter I've gotten, the faster I've gotten, so it's easier to keep ahead of him.

What health tips do you have for others at Butler?

  • Exercise. Take the time to get up and walk. It's time you should try to cut out of your day because it's important.
  • Quit drinking soda. Uriah drinks water with most meals.
  • Keep trying. Sometimes, you don't lose the weight like you expect to, or you gain for the week. Healthy Horizons is very encouraging-they understand and help you get through it. Improving your health isn't a sprint; it's a marathon. There will be ups and downs. As long as you're doing the healthier things, you're winning.
  • Take advantage of Butler employee spouse benefits. Being able to use Healthy Horizons services since I'm married to a Butler employee is a terrific benefit to our family. Everyone on the Healthy Horizons staff is very knowledgeable, and very nice. They want to help. You don't have unanswered questions when you leave.

(Domestic partners of employees and children of employees are also eligible for certain health services.)

Jeanne VanTyle

The anticoagulant medication warfarin (also called Coumadin) prevents the formation of blood clots; clots can cause strokes, pulmonary emboli, and other life-threatening conditions. Healthy Horizons offers free INR (International Normalized Ratio) monitoring to Butler personnel taking warfarin to test the ongoing effectiveness of their dosages. For the past four years, Professor of Pharmacy Practice Jeanne VanTyle has gone to Healthy Horizons for regular INR monitoring.

Here is Jeanne's story, in her own words.

How has Healthy Horizons’ INR monitoring program helped you meet your health goals?

In November 2010, I had a large [blood] clot in one of the major veins at the top of the leg. It ended up throwing clots into my lungs. When that happened, I was told I would be on warfarin for life. Monitoring my INR through Healthy Horizons is part of how I manage my disease state.

The INR is the blood test used to measure how effectively your blood is anticoagulated. There are dangers if you are under-anticoagulated or over-anticoagulated.

If you are on an anticoagulant, you want your [INR] level to be between 2 and 3. It's nice to know that I'm in range-I was 2.3 yesterday-and that I'm not likely to throw clots, or, if I am, that they'll be more easily treated. It is also good to know that I am not at risk for a hemorrhage [bleed], either.

When you're on warfarin, you probably need to get your INR tested every two weeks, or at least once a month. If things are not stable, I can get INR monitoring done even once a week through Healthy Horizons. I run down to their office, they stick my finger, and they do the test. I have my results immediately. Then, Healthy Horizons fax the result to my physician.

When I was on warfarin more than 10 years ago and wanted to get an INR test, I had to leave work, drive to St. Vincent's Hospital, park, go in, register at the lab, get my blood work done, and wait for them to be sure it was fine so they didn't have to redo it. I would have been gone from work maybe four hours-away from my students, away from my desk-and I would have to hunt to find a parking spot upon my return!

From my standpoint, it's 15 minutes to go to Healthy Horizons, not four hours. And that's a huge advantage. I can stay on campus and not be gone from my office and students.

When I have my test done at Healthy Horizons, sometimes it's one of the residents who've been certified to do the anticoagulation monitoring; sometimes it's one of the faculty pharmacists.

They will go through a standardized set of questions, starting with, "Have there been any changes?"

Then, it's more specific. For example, "Have you had an increase or decrease in alcohol intake?" I don't drink much alcohol, but maybe we'll go to a restaurant, and I'll have a margarita. And that can make INR results go a little higher.

They'll ask if there have been any changes in my other medicines or diet. Sometimes, I forget that I'd had a cold, so I took a couple more days of antihistamines and, potentially, that could affect the INR results.

Warfarin is a drug really affected by your diet. Sometimes, I have dipped [my INR] down to 1.7 because I had too many green vegetables-guacamole, arugula, that sort of thing. Sometimes, it can go up for other reasons.

Even though I am a pharmacist, they ask me the same questions, and I'm treated like a normal patient. It helps me recall what's happened the last two weeks. Sometimes, they get me to think about things that I would not have mentioned.

The pharmacists in Healthy Horizons interact with my doctor's office. They fax the results to the doctor, and say, "This is what the INR is, and we suggest these changes," or "We suggest reducing the dose by this amount." Healthy Horizons checks with my doctor's office to make sure that they've received and read the fax. I feel comfortable with them managing it for me.

I go to see my doctor about every four months, three times a year. And, when I go for a visit, my doctor and I can review the Healthy Horizons INR results plotted on a graph. My doctor has said, "They're doing such a great job. It's such a service to me."

My doctor doesn't really manage my warfarin anymore. She said she's never suggested a change that Healthy Horizons hadn't already made to me.

Medical practices have gotten so busy; it's hard to stay on top of situations with an individual patient. It's nice to know I have one-on-one attention here. My doctor knows there's another set of eyes overlooking my plan of treatment.

I teach pharmacokinetics, which is drug dosing. It's very common now for a doctor to say to a pharmacist, "Pharmacy to dose [this medication]." Most doctors are entirely comfortable with pharmacists making dosing decisions.

Have you benefitted from other Healthy Horizons programs?

When I started with warfarin monitoring, Healthy Horizons suggested doing a full health assessment-baseline blood work, and metabolic profile, liver and kidney function.

During the health assessment, they asked, "How do you manage your medications?" I said, "What do you mean?"

Healthy Horizons gave me a Pocket Medication Card on which you can write down your medications, how much you're taking, and what it's used for. It lists your allergies, and who your doctors are.

It's very useful. There have been a couple times I've had to go to the emergency room or see a new practitioner and I was able to give them this card rather than recalling all that information.

Once a year, I have a Manage My Medications check-up through Healthy Horizons. There are some medicines that react with warfarin. Healthy Horizons has helped me plan ahead of time for a drug interaction that was going to occur, so I could space out when I take both medicines and do so safely.

As a pharmacist, I think I do pretty well managing over-the-counter drugs, but it always helps to have another set of eyes and ears, talking to me and asking questions so I can think things through.

Sometimes the pharmacists can look at your medications and say, "This one's available generically, and you might be able to make a significant savings there." Or, "This medication is very similar in action to that one. Maybe you don't need both of those."

They can [with your permission] directly contact your doctor and indicate what they saw in reviewing medicines.

Before I started Manage My Medications, I didn't know how much money to put in my flexible spending [healthcare] account. I made an Excel with all my medicines at their suggestion. Here are my medicines; here are my co-pays. Multiply each of those times 12 months, and that's how much money you're spending out-of-pocket annually on medicines. You add in your doctor's visit on top of that, and this is how much money you're going to be spending and need to put in your flex account. I hadn't done that until I started the program. It opened my eyes to where some of the money in our budget was going.

Carrie Maffeo [Healthy Horizons Director] has shared some relaxation/stress-reduction techniques and wonderful YouTube links with our department. I still use those.

What are some obstacles you have faced in maintaining good health and healthy habits?

My obstacles are my age and other conditions. In the class I teach on drugs and the elderly, I used to quote Josh Billings, "In youth we run into difficulties. In old age, difficulties run into us."

I have several chronic disease states. One is Crohn's disease. With Crohn's, there's a higher incidence of clotting issues.

What did you do to overcome those obstacles?

With age, things happen, and you have to kind of roll with it. It's nice that there's an advocacy group on campus in Healthy Horizons that can help me stay on an even keel. I've gotten some good suggestions on healthful eating.

Healthy Horizons' Points program rewards things like taking multivitamins daily or trying to get seven hours of sleep a night. That's a nice list of things I need to do for myself before I can take care of my husband or my kids. We all have to be our first priority. Their programs help remind you of that.

Healthy Horizons can be helpful in balancing complex medical histories.

My mother died when I was 22 and a student here at Butler. She had her first heart attack at age 51 and died at age 57 after having had five heart attacks. So, at age 22, I went on the American Heart Association diet.

In my husband's family and my own, the tradition is to cook with lots of gravies and butter. I had to learn to cook a different way-baking rather than frying everything. At first, it tasted differently than I thought things should. By now, I've adjusted.

This year, I was going to have a colonoscopy. If they have to do a polyp removal in a colonoscopy, people taking warfarin could bleed more than normal. You have to "bridge off" warfarin before the colonoscopy and "bridge on" to Lovenox or heparin [other anticoagulants] by injection prior to the procedure. Then, after the procedure, you start back on the warfarin along with heparin or Lovenox until you get [your INR] back into therapeutic range.

You need INR tests done before the colonoscopy to get the INR down to 1, and then, afterward, you have to get yourself back up to 2 to 3. So that requires closer monitoring. That's an example of when I needed Healthy Horizons' services to get a colonoscopy done safely.

Who and what keep you motivated?

I want to avoid a stroke or heart attack at all costs. I prize my brain highly. I'm willing to make whatever adjustments I need to make to avoid those major problems.

Interacting with pharmacists of Healthy Horizons motivates me.

As a pharmacist, I deal with patients who are not quite ready to make healthy lifestyle changes. We talk about willingness to change. I think that part of my life is tuned up. Healthy Horizons can be very motivating.

Also, I am on the Butler Health Commission, and know that many employees don't understand that we are self-insured. Laboratory tests are a source of serious mark-up in health care. When I have my INR monitoring done here, Butler's paying just the costs for the test.  If I have it done in an outside lab, Butler reimburses the lab charge, which includes their mark-up. So, it's more cost effective for Butler when I have monitoring done on campus. It helps keep everybody's cost down.

Through Healthy Horizons, I have safer therapy; I have more effective therapy so I don't throw blood clots to my lungs again; and it's less costly for all of us at Butler in our healthcare premiums.

What health tips do you have for others at Butler?

Look for food alternatives. I love a spinach salad. Spinach is very high in vitamin K, which antagonizes warfarin, making it less effective. Jockamo's Pizza has a wonderful spinach salad. They'll make it for me on romaine lettuce, so I can have the toppings of a spinach salad on romaine. For me, that's a healthy alternative.

Save money. Save your parking space. If you leave campus and come back at 3:00 and try to find a parking spot-good luck! The advantage in having medical testing done through Healthy Horizons is not losing productivity. In this day and age, not having to leave your parking spot to go somewhere else for testing would be your incentive to contact Healthy Horizons for health screenings and tests.

Healthy Horizons will protect your privacy. I've heard from some employees that they're not sure they want to see someone on campus about health issues because they don't want people on campus knowing their business.

Pharmacists are sworn to uphold the same HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) confidentiality laws as other healthcare professionals. My experience is that services at Healthy Horizons are kept highly confidential. They would never discuss [my health] other than in the privacy of my office or their office. I'm a colleague outside the Healthy Horizons office suite; I'm their patient inside.

Because the Healthy Horizons pharmacists are health professionals, they can have the ear of my doctor a little easier than I do as a patient. If they call to my doctor's office, they are treated as professionals. They're able to make it by the office front staff.

Charles Williams

Charles Williams was an engineer for Indiana Bell/Ameritech for 25 years, then led a couple of non-profit organizations before joining Butler's College of Business in 1995 as an Executive in Residence. Williams, who has been diagnosed with diabetes goes to Healthy Horizons every couple of months for a general wellness screening, including monitoring of his A1C level. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) describes the A1C test as a picture of a person's average blood glucose (blood sugar) control for the previous two-to-three months. A1C results indicate how well an individual's diabetes treatment plan is working. The ADA recommends that people with diabetes have their A1C levels measured at least twice a year.

Here is Charles' story, in his own words.

How has Healthy Horizons helped you meet your health goals?

I've been using Healthy Horizons for the past seven or eight years. From them, I learned the usefulness of the A1C, how valuable a tool that is to control diabetes.

I visit my doctor once every six or seven months. I go to Healthy Horizons about every other month. In the process of measuring my weight and blood pressure, they'll monitor my A1C.

Optimally, I'd like for my A1C count to be lower than 7. It's good if I can get it lower than 8.

About a year and a half ago, it was, at its highest—13. I was between medications because this med wasn't working, and that med wasn't working. Healthy Horizons sent the A1C results directly to my doctor. Finally, we got a good medication and a good dosage.

The last time I looked, my A1C was around 7.5 or 7.4.

Healthy Horizons has helped me learn the place of monitoring, food, exercise, medication-how that all comes together to make sure that I have a relatively good control over my diabetes.

Healthy Horizons is right next door [in the Pharmacy and Health Sciences Building, adjacent to Williams's office in the Holcomb Building]. It's handy and easy to get to. The people of Healthy Horizons have been very gracious and considerate with their time. There have been occasions when health questions have come up between appointments and I've asked if I could come over in the next week or so. They've said, "Let's make it in a day or two."

In addition to the A1C monitoring, they've had other programs that I've taken advantage of. They give me brochures and tips for my personal health and safety-that's appreciated.

Diabetics soon learn that their diabetes plays a role in almost everything in health. I've had open-heart surgery and other illnesses. With diabetes, if I were to have any significant cardiac issue, diabetes would add serious complications to it. Keeping a better handle on my diabetes keeps a better handle on my health in general.

I take medications for my heart, and the pharmacists at Healthy Horizons have talked with me and helped me keep all of my medications in balance. I didn't realize it but there are certain dosages and certain medications that it's better to take at night, and some are better during the day.

They've encouraged me to use the HRC (Butler Health and Recreation Complex) for exercise. I can see the positive results from exercising three or four times a week. Left to my own devices, I wouldn't do it.

With exercise, I have a much better body tone and improved personal self-view, self-I feel better about myself. I get a better night's sleep and awake refreshed. The HRC combined with Healthy Horizons has been able to do that for me.

What are some obstacles you have faced in maintaining good health and healthy habits?

Aging and the deterioration of energy levels. Certain things that happen can take a toll on your body. Earlier in life, I had a ruptured appendix and consequently had to have nine operations in two years to get it resolved. That still has some effect on me; I still feel discomfort from it. But, that's not a complaint. I'm still here to complain about it.

What did you do to overcome those obstacles?

Healthy Horizons and the HRC have helped me put some of those things in perspective and try lifestyle changes and exercise to get past obstacles. Encouragement is always important. You need a good nudge to do the right thing.

There's also the mental aspect of health challenges. Getting good solid information from Healthy Horizons about what I'm up against has been extremely helpful.

What keeps you motivated?

Being here with the Butler students has been a big motivation. I enjoy the students. They're young, vivacious, and active. They are certainly engaging.

I enjoy that, as an Executive in Residence, I'm required to read and study. I love to learn new things. Those are some of the things that keep me involved.

I'm married and have two adult children who are wonderful parents, and two terrific granddaughters, 16 and 10. I want to be a good role model for my children and grandchildren, to be a good steward of those things that were given to me.

My colleagues at Butler motivate me in a healthy manner. In addition to getting a lot of things done, we have a lot of fun and enjoyment with each other.

What health tips do you have for others at Butler?

Overeat the right things. Start with a good diet. I am a fundamental overeater, but I overeat the right things. I love salads and green vegetables. I could have a salad for breakfast. I don't have a lot of fats and sugars.

Exercise to your ability. If you can, get in some vigorous exercise three or four times a week.

Take care of yourself mentally and spiritually. I think it's helpful for one to be spiritually engaged and mentally challenged.

Lindsey Burt

­­­Lindsey Birt, Health and Safety Specialist for the Butler University Police Department, wanted a "jumpstart" on healthier living. But she was busy as a wife, mother of two small children, full-time Butler employee, and part-time EMT. Healthy Horizons helped her discover options that worked for her and her family.

This is Lindsey's story, in her own words.

How has Healthy Horizons’ weight management program helped you?

Being healthier is part of my job. I'm an EMT [part time, with Putnam County Operation Life] and the CPR instructor for the University Police. Members of the Police Department are like my family. I try to take care of them, talk with them about being heart healthy.

The department decided to hold a weight loss challenge in January 2013. I thought I might as well give it a try. I don't have anything to lose but maybe a few pounds. My husband [Daniel Birt] is an officer with BUPD. We signed up together.

Healthy Horizons coordinated the challenge, working confidentially with all the participants. I went to Healthy Horizons every week and met with the pharmacists. They would take my weight and my measurements, and follow up from the previous week. They'd ask, "How did it go? What did you do exercise-wise? Any downfalls? Anything new?"

I probably emailed Kelly Daneri [Healthy Horizons Academic Program Coordinator] twice a week with questions. The people in Healthy Horizons were always welcoming, easy to talk to. They are great to work with right here on campus. It's so convenient.

They still email and check in with me every other month to make sure everything's going well, or see if I need any help.

I lost almost 23 pounds and have been able to it keep off. More importantly for me is how I feel, how my clothes fit. I've lost inches from my waist, and gone down a couple sizes in pants. For me, that's more important than the number on a scale. It's very encouraging.

By following Healthy Horizon's advice to eat more fruits and vegetables, drink more water, and exercise on a regular basis, I find I sleep a lot better. I get up earlier than I used to. I have more energy.

It took Healthy Horizons to give me a jumpstart. It's been a very good thing for me.

How do you and your family stay healthy?

Daniel has been on weight loss journey for probably two and a half years, and he's lost about 120 pounds. He was at a plateau [in weight loss]. Joining Healthy Horizons gave him that extra boost to get going again. He won our weight loss challenge. He beat me by 0.2 pounds. A little competition there.

We have two children, ages 6 and 3, and we got them involved. It helped us as a family to change our lifestyle. When my husband and I work out at the gym, our kids can go, too, and get to do fun things. We try to stay active.

I'm an avid runner, and this year, I'm running some 5Ks with my son. He's in kindergarten and he's picking up on healthy habits. When we eat something, he'll say, "Is this healthy?" Or, he'll say, "I need some water. I need to be healthy."

All four of us went all winter without colds or being sick.

What are some obstacles you have faced?

I wasn't a healthy eater. I've always struggled eating vegetables and fruits. So, Healthy Horizons gave me some different choices that I could do to incorporate those vegetables and fruits. Very slowly but surely, I incorporated their advice to try things like celery and kale.

It's been over a year and, now, I'm actually getting more servings of fruits and vegetables than the recommended daily servings. For example, last night I had two apples, blueberries, strawberries, and celery.

Water intake was a huge struggle for me. I still have the notes from Healthy Horizons about my weekly goal to drink more water. I've kept those notes as a good reminder.

What did you do to overcome those obstacles?

I like to bake a lot. I had to cut down on that. I also incorporate healthier choices in what I bake. Instead of baking with oil, I might try applesauce or Greek yogurt.

I use the MyFitnessPal app to track calories and make sure I was getting enough protein and carbohydrates.

When I was on the challenge, I had an app called MyWater. Every time I drank water, I would log in the ounces. I had it set up to remind me, if I hadn't logged anything in in two hours, it would say, "You're getting thirsty. Drink water." It would ding on my phone until I logged something in.

One of my co-workers struggles with drinking more water, so when we see each other, we say, "Have you had your water today?"

What keeps you motivated?

My husband is a good example. I always think of him losing 120 pounds. If he can do it, I can do it.

As an EMT, I see a lot of patients who've been sick for a long time. They have diabetes or heart problems. And I always think, if they had done what I'm doing right now-trying to be my best-would they be in this position?

I like spinning; it's fun and builds muscles. I'm an avid runner. My son and I are doing some 5Ks. This year, I'll do a half-marathon, and I'm going to run the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon which will travel through campus!

My hopes are that my children understand the importance of eating healthy and working out. I don't deprive them of their candy and treats, but they've learned moderation. Any time I put on my tennis shoes, my daughter asks, "Are you going to the gym? Are you going running?" And she's only 3. She picks up on that I'm going to do something. They love going to the gym, being outdoors. They're learning the importance of getting out and moving.

What staying healthy tips for do you have for others?

Drink more water. Healthy Horizons told me you should drink half your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 200 pounds, you should drink 100 ounces daily. That's an easy reminder, a good way to figure it out.

Have treats in moderation. Healthy Horizons also said don't completely eliminate sweets or your favorite thing because that's when it will drive you crazy, and then you'll give up. Our family likes to have a little bowl of ice cream every night, but instead of having two scoops, I have one scoop, and I don't have it every night. If cookies are your weakness, just have one, instead of the whole box. It just takes practice.

Weight loss takes time. You don't put the weight on overnight, so you can't expect it to come off overnight. That was hard for me to grasp at first because I just wanted it to happen right away. I was eating healthy and exercising, I thought, so why am I not losing weight? It does take time.

Keep going. Everybody has a bad day; you eat bad. It's fine. Just wake up the next day and start over.

Virginia Rumph

Associate Professor and Serials Librarian Virginia Rumph has achieved and maintained a healthy blood pressure level for years, with help from Healthy Horizons' blood pressure management program. Regular on-campus monitoring of her blood pressure and sound medication advice from staff pharmacists makes Rumph feel more in control of her life and overall health.

Here is her story, in her own words.

How has the Healthy Horizons’ blood pressure management program helped you?

About the time that Healthy Horizons was created [in 2004], my blood pressure spiked. That got me in their door. I started with blood pressure weekly checks. It was perfect, right on campus. I didn't have to trek to a doctor's office.

Working with both Healthy Horizons and my doctor, I discovered that my elevated blood pressure was not a fluke. Over several months, we kept trying different things to bring it down - different diet, prescriptions - trying to get a regime I was comfortable with.

Healthy Horizons staff members were the ones who found the way to do it. When I wanted to change medications or dosages, it wasn't just my feeling that something wasn't right. I had a statement I could take to my doctor from the Healthy Horizons pharmacists of the monitoring they had been doing, and their recommendation to take a particular combination of meds and dosages.

They are my go-to people on medications. I ask their advice. They have never let me down.

I have several chronic conditions that I take medications for, and I wanted to manipulate my dosages, and minimize the number of prescriptions I was taking. The Healthy Horizons pharmacists are very up-to-date and knowledgeable about all my medications and how they needed to be balanced.

How do you stay healthy?

Through regular Healthy Horizons monitoring of my blood pressure, I knew I was on the right track. It helped me with my stress level, calmed me down. It was reassuring psychologically. Healthy Horizons was there for me every step of the way, looking after me. I didn't have to worry.

Healthy Horizons educated me about my condition. They helped me set goals for changing my diet and exercise habits. They encouraged me to start small, and not try to be Superwoman.

I began checking sodium levels on foods, especially processed ones. I look for lower sodium options, which are getting more available. I've found certain organic foods that have less sodium and taste pretty good; they aren't bland.

I had been exercising a fair amount already. I walk from home to work and for some errands. Through Healthy Horizons, I became more aware of the benefits of exercise and tried to up my levels of exercise.

What have been some obstacles you have faced?

Being aware of how certain situations can raise my blood pressure. For example:

  1. Stress - If something is bothering me, it will be reflected with a rise in my blood pressure reading.
  2. Pain - I have other health conditions that can cause me pain, which can raise blood pressure.
  3. Knowing you can't get away from sodium entirely in food. I have to make choices when I'm eating food that other people have chosen for campus events or business conferences. I have to minimize my portions of higher sodium foods, and eat more of lower sodium foods that are offered.

When I have to deal with one of these situations, I'm not as surprised or concerned as I would have been previously.

What did you do to overcome those obstacles?

Awareness is the first step. I found the people in Healthy Horizons so easy to talk to about any health concerns that come up. They will research the issue for me.

My colleagues in the Science Library are another Butler health resource. We have a fabulous medical library on this campus where you can do your own research on health issues or ask help from the librarians. And, it's free. I've asked the Science librarians to help me find information about potential surgeries and various medical concerns.

Healthy Horizons also provides the fasting cholesterol tests I get twice a year. The people in Healthy Horizons and the Science Library want to help you.

What keeps you motivated?

I am motivated by fear of the health consequences if I don't control my blood pressure. I don't want this to get out of hand.

I'm also motivated by the knowledge that I'm taking control of this part of my life with the help of Healthy Horizons.

People off campus with whom I've shared information on my health encourage me to keep at it.  They don't have the type of employee wellness service we have in Healthy Horizons. They're envious. Healthy Horizons is a treasure.

What staying healthy tips do you have for others?

  1. Reduce stress if you can. Healthy Horizons offers free programs that can help.
  2. Become aware and educated about your own health risk factors and find ways to avoid them, such as making changes in lifestyle, diet, or exercise. The Healthy Horizons' restaurant guide shows fat, sodium, sugar, and other levels for a lot of popular menu choices, even for some fast food restaurants.
  3. Try large and small changes to improve your situation. People think they have to change their lives radically. Healthy Horizons suggests that you start small in exercise or other lifestyle changes. Then as you get more confidence, you can make incremental increases in what you're doing. Take the stairs rather than an elevator. Walk the long way around sometimes. Take a break from work to walk around your building.
  4. Take advantage of Healthy Horizons programs. People might not use Healthy Horizons resources because they feel that their doctor is taking care of their health. Healthy Horizons can be an added benefit to what you're getting from your doctor.

Many people feel they are fairly healthy now and don't need help. But, it would be good for everybody-even those in good health - to educate themselves about their health risks. As you age, things happen. If you can be aware of potential changes, you can perhaps minimize how they affect your health.

David McCullough