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January Jump-start Success Stories


Jazzercise, Fitbit, and MyFitnessPal

Cynthia Warner, Education Consultant at KET
My name is Cynthia Warner. I am 45 years old, 5’3” tall, and have lost 31.6 pounds since June 1, 2016.  Today is Jan. 5, 2017. I have always exercised. I grew up on a tobacco farm. I worked in those fields and in the garden my entire childhood. In middle school, I took up gymnastics and kept up with my fitness. I was also diagnosed with scoliosis, but was told it was just a mild S-curve and as long as I made it through to 21 without much change, I should be fine. So, I just maintained my fitness.

In my thirties, after having a child, I realized that I wasn’t in shape, anymore. My body and my mind weren’t as active and alert. My back started to hurt. In 2008, I joined Richmond’s Jazzercise and dutifully attended 4-5 times/week, when possible. My back started to hurt worse. I decided to see an orthopedic surgeon in 2010. My lower curve was 47 degrees and my upper curve was 53 degrees. My scoliosis had gotten much worse.

In Feb. 2013, I had major back surgery for my scoliosis. Twelve of my vertebrae are now fused, so I am limited in my movement. I have 40 titanium screws and multiple rods in my spine. I got 2” taller overnight! My surgeon, who is very good, very thorough, and very skilled, told me that I would never again be as fit as I was before my surgery. I tried to keep my core strong. I tried to limit my food intake. I tried to stay fit. It was very hard. I was afraid of hurting my spine.              

My mom bought me a Fitbit for my 2014 Christmas present, but I wasn’t very good at keeping fit without the support of my Jazzercise community, so I decided to go back to Jazzercise in Sept. 2015.              

Jazzercise is still where I go to renew my physical strength, my energy, my spirit, and my stamina. But at the end of May 2016, when I was still gaining weight, I decided that exercise alone wasn’t enough. So, on June 1, 2016, I decided to use an app that had long been on my iPhone, but had never been used: MyFitnessPal. I was 150 lbs. I worked really hard, counting calories and staying active. I turned that fat into muscle with Jazzercise and lost 31.6 pounds by mid-December. I have managed to keep that weight off and feel ready for anything.              

Also, a little incentive goes a long way. Through Humana Vitality (now Go365), I had $325 Amazon dollars to spend on Christmas gifts. It was a Win Win for me!             

Shooting for $400 next Christmas.             



Overcoming Self Defeat


Mary Fields, Emotional Behavior Teacher at Martin County Middle School
From a young child, I have always had low self-esteem. Having this emotional deficit​, I grew up always thinking negative, feeling ugly, and perceiving myself inferior to others in all things pertaining to looks and intelligence. Being void of my heavenly FATHER’S word, I resorted to unrealistic and unhealthy practices such as purging meals, withholding food, and taking laxatives.

I really thought I was doing what “felt” right to do for my body and peace of mind. Boy was I wrong! One bad habit led to another bad habit and so on. The result was I wound up in a very depressed state of being. It was only when I cried out to the FATHER and gave myself to HIS WORD that I found the right and healthy direction for my life. HE gave me peace of mind, direction, and focus that allowed me to search for replacement behaviors to overcome my emotional deficits. Instead of going for a run after eating anything, I began to search for ways to help my digestive system feel better. I changed my eating habits, started a structured healthy exercise program, and obtained my Group Fitness Instructor and Health Coach Certifications through American Council of Exercise. This year, I will be turning 50 and it is ironic to me how much GOD and my willingness to want to be healthy has had a profound effect in my life. In my latter years, I have truly obtained the keys to living a much more vibrant, happy, and healthy lifestyle. While although I still possess some negative emotions, I am equally driven to not let them control me. My future goal is to be a spiritual and a physical inspiration to my family especially my two twin grandchildren, Paige and Parker, who have yet to experience for themselves all the twists and turns life can throw at you when you are young and truly ignorant of the essential elements in life that lead one to be able to live a vibrant, happy, and healthy lifestyle.              




Samantha Pullen, Taxpayers Service Specialist II at the Department of Revenue
I am a grandmother of 6 awesome grandbabies. They range from 1 year to 4. In the past few years, I have packed on the pounds by not eating the best and no regular exercise.

This year I have dedicated myself to getting healthy and active for my grand babies. Believe me they keep me hopping. I want to be able to keep up with them and their activities. So, I have been eating healthy and walking every day. I have even added a little cardio exercise on my bike and from videos that I have found. I will keep on track this year and I will reach my goal. The Go365 program and my grandchildren will keep me going. I am already feeling better and have lost some pounds! Thanks so much~              



Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired!!

Kimberlee Whatley, Family Support Specialist II at DCBS
Let me begin by saying this is way outside of my comfort zone to shine the limelight on myself- I am very much a behind-the-scenes type of person, but since it was others’ stories that finally inspired me to start the program, I believe if my story helps even one person, then I’m willing to step out of my comfort zone to pay it forward!

I finally decided to start a program called LTL, or Live the Lifestyle. It helped me learn what foods my body needed and craved. I began my LTL journey on July 11. I had watched a friend from work lose a lot of weight on this program, and she and I had discussed it several times before I finally decided to take that first step. Every other time I had talked myself out of it, assuming it would be too hard or I wouldn’t have time for it. This time was different. I would be turning 34 in just a little over two weeks, and I was sick and tired of being sick and tired! I’ve never been a small person-even as a child, I was usually the chubbiest kid on the playground. However I was also always involved in sports or something that kept me active-basketball, softball, marching in the band, etc. I was still the chubby kid, but my weight never really got too out of control. As the years went on and I started high school and then college, I became more focused on my academics and less focused on the extracurricular things that kept me active. The weight started to pile on. Then I started my working career in an office, which meant even more sitting and less physical activity. Here came even more weight. In 2006 I had my first child, and I gained 40 lbs. that I never took off. “One day”, I told myself. Then in 2011, I had my second child, and gained another 40 lbs.             

Once again, I never took the weight off. “One day”, I said again. By this point in my life I was so busy with raising two kids and working a full-time office job that I convinced myself I had no time to work out or eat right. And so I continued on this path for several years, gradually getting bigger and bigger, and using a never-ending list of excuses why I was so overweight. I avoided many social situations because I was embarrassed and ashamed of myself. My oldest son started playing basketball in 2012, and I wanted to help him learn a few things. But I couldn’t. Every time we went outside to practice, I would get so winded and tired that I would have to sit down and rest after just a few minutes. It was depressing and humiliating for me to live this way, but I eventually came to a point where I accepted that this was just my life, and I would be fat forever. However this wasn’t really how I felt, this was just the excuse I made to try to justify my weight problem. I had lost myself somewhere along the way amongst all of my weight. This wasn’t the real me. Enough was finally enough, and “one day” was today!! The first week of LTL was rough-it was so different from my current lifestyle that I thought about quitting that week more than once! But every time I had those thoughts, I would ask God to give me strength to push on. Then week 2 came along and it was time to start exercising. The first time I went to the gym I was so embarrassed-I didn’t know how to use any of the equipment, and I was the biggest person there. Once again I had those thoughts of quitting, and once again I asked God to get me through it.              

I was also in daily contact with my coach, who encouraged me and pushed me along the way. She refused to let me quit, even though I told her several times I was going to. But she believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I am so glad I had and still have her support! After the first few weeks I was actually looking forward to exercising and trying new machines and weights that I would have been scared to death of before. The cravings were gone, too-junk food didn’t even look good to me anymore! I would be lying if I didn’t say that there have been several more times along this journey that I wanted to quit, or roadblocks in my way-I don’t have enough time to work out today, I don’t feel well, etc. Sometimes it was just simply that I didn’t want to! But each time I prayed to God to get me through it, and as always He never disappoints! My 12 week totals were 52lbs. and 18 inches! I am now 24 weeks in, and I have lost a total of 87 lbs. and 39.25 inches! On January 9, I hit a major milestone by losing 101 lbs. in only 6 months!! Helping both of my sons with basketball is no longer a problem-in fact, I can give them a run for their money! Outdoor and physical activities I once hated are now things I enjoy and can do with ease! I’ve finally found myself again! And now I can shop the bargain racks because they actually have my size!! My advice to anyone considering this program is-I’ve been right where you are. I’ve felt the shame and guilt and thought of a million reasons why “I just can’t do it!” Let me reassure you-you CAN do it! If I can do it, then YOU can do it! Tell those negative voices to get lost!! Instead of all the reasons why you can’t do it, why not think of all the reasons why you CAN and why YOU are worth it?!              






Overcoming Life’s Challenges

Tammy Collier, District Court Deputy Clerk
Going into 2017 I’m focused on my mental health as much as my physical health. The past year of 2016 was challenging with the passing of my significant other of 13+ years on July 2 and the passing of my father 2 months prior on May 2. My father’s passing was expected and I have been able to resolve issues of depression, however, I have been struggling the past few months with the depression over the unexpected loss of my boyfriend.

At one point a couple of months ago now, I thought I would have to seek professional help for grief, but determined not to go the route of medications I turned to my Humana Vitality coach and my faith in God. Through prayer and support from Monica, I have almost gotten to the place that I can talk about my boyfriend’s passing without much grief. I was experiencing the kind of grief that consumes you in your heart and soul. I am not totally complete with the grieving process, but a remarkable change has been made in my mental health through the support of Christ and Monica. Monica has been there for me through a lot of ups and down with my journey to better health, weight loss, and a healthier lifestyle. I salute the Humana Vitality Program for making it possible for us to have that needed connection. I never knew how valuable Monica really was to me until I suffered two losses of significant others back to back. Kudos to Monica and the Humana Vitality Program! Thank you!! Forever grateful.              




Before Humana Vitality……

Kim Hanson,  Administrative Secretary at Anderson Co. Board of Education
I was getting ready to turn 52 and realized that I had to be there for my grandchildren, I had to take care of myself. I had my gallbladder removed and had turned into a slug.  Sitting on the couch and doing nothing. I recently found out I was an asthmatic.  I didn’t have a clue!  The doctor said I had it for years!

So my new lease on life began. With my daughter’s assistance, I started to run. Whoa, where have I been? This is fun! My daughter was running the Iron Horse ½ Marathon. I ended up running as well. I hadn’t trained much so it was an eye opener. That was just the beginning. I can’t tell you how many races my husband and I (yes, I have recruited him too!) have participated in – at least 30. I have now begun strength training at the local gyms to try and increase my speed. I ran the Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon two years ago. I told my husband that my goal was to finish in an hour and a half. As I crossed the finish line, I began to cry – I had missed my mark by 4 minutes. Then my phone rang. It was my husband saying, “YOU DID IT!” I said, “No I didn’t. I missed it by 4 minutes.” He said that was start time not YOUR actual time! The tears began again - because I had met my goal!! I did the Ragnar Trail Run last year. I fell and broke my nose on the first leg. The EMS wanted to take me to the hospital but I was determined to finish the race. And finish I did - screaming the last quarter mile “Heck Ya!” and throwing my fist in the air! Not bad for a 54 year old!             

I have begun working on the eating aspects now. I do love my chocolate but I am much better about eating more greens and healthy snacks. I still have a long road to travel but I am enjoying every minute! Thank you Humana Vitality/Go 365 for helping me set my goals and crushing them! Without the incentives and the vitality lessons, I’m not so sure I’d still be at it!              







Motivation Over Mind

Theresa Ousley,  Bus Monitor at Floyd County Board of Education
My grandson asked for a Fitbit for Christmas… a kid asked for this, not a toy, for CHRISTMAS! That got me thinking about my lifestyle and choices that I make on a daily basis. I know that with my busy schedule, I make plenty of excuses as to why I can’t or wouldn’t do some things, BUT it wasn’t until my grandson asked for this that I really began to rethink my lifestyle choices.

When I went to the store to purchase this gift for him, I ended up walking out with two! I was so excited to get home and open this box as the label was bright and the colorful packaging promised me all these wonderful and enticing results. I proudly walked around with my new shiny toy on my arm and caught myself glancing at it throughout the day to see how I was fairing and if I had beaten yesterday’s result.
Then it hit me… this little watch could only do so much for me. It can only track what I tell it to track. If I sit on the couch and binge watch the Hallmark Movies, then it will tell me that later on that night. But, I could just ignore those numbers and promise to do better tomorrow… no one would know. I had to rethink this life changing watch that I had recently purchased. Then I realized, the watch isn’t anything more than data. I needed to change my way of thinking. I had to do the work, no matter how badly I wanted that little watch to make magic numbers appear!
So I had to rethink how I was going to work together with this watch and make the numbers go up. One idea, park farther away from the stores and walk… every step matters! Eating healthier choices… restaurants and stores now offer health and calorie benefits. Exercise was my worst enemy… now that I can track my calorie burns with my new watch, I have now made exercising a friend – bonus if my old clothes fit and come back in style (fingers crossed)! Grandchildren are wonderful….and active! Babysit more!
My mind tells me that I would much rather binge watch TV marathons in my down time, but this magical activity tracking watch and my grandson make my motivation scale tip in favor of living a much healthier lifestyle! I hope to live a long healthy lifestyle so I can travel, garden, play, and interact with life… not binge watch it from the couch!




New Year, New Me...

Linda Neal, Retired
As we start a new year, my husband and I have started a new regimen. He wanted to start the Whole 30 diet, so of course that means that I am eating essentially the same meals he is having. We are both retired so we are able to adhere to the specifications of the diet. We also purchased an Instant Pot and make sure we have healthy meats and vegetables on hand, which can be prepared in a fraction of the time it usually takes.

As we continue to grow older, we realize the importance of movement and exercise. I faithfully walk and also incorporate strength training exercises 3 days a week, in addition to walking almost every day. I really do strive for the 10,000 steps each day, and I find that I do feel so much better when I have included movement as part of my day. My advice for someone that has not done much exercising is to start slowly-maybe just start walking and build up toward longer walks. Once you get comfortable with longer walks, look into some type of strength training (I found an online program called “The Venus Factor”) and try to incorporate that 2-3 times a week, if possible. Cutting down on carbs and snacking has also been a big key in losing some weight. I am excited to see the results of some of the additional changes we have added coming into 2017!              







Motivated to Move

Leslie Carr, Internal Policy Analyst at KY DEP
I have a hard time staying motivated to walk when I get focused on a specific project at work.

My co-worker and I use these challenges to keep each other moving. We use the competition as a way to push ourselves and we also use the Fitbit 250 steps an hour to keep us moving throughout the day. I feel so much better since I started getting up and moving throughout the day and not just sitting at my desk for 8 hours straight.


The Steps She Couldn't Take

Jackie Archie, School Nurse at JCPS                  
Irene Bell is my mother. She died 2 years 8 months 11 days ago. She loved to walk in her garden and around her back yard because after a hard life she was able to purchase her dream house, in cash, just a year before her passing.

So walking around her garden and her back yard was of great significance to her. She went into the hospital one day for a routine check up. The doctor was about to discharge her and she coded. Then in a snowball effect of it really doesn't matter now incidents she lost both her feet. One month later she lost her life. My mother was my rock, my best friend, my confidant. I love her so much and I miss her so much that it makes my heart ache. Her birthday is February 4th and I want to honor her birthday by taking the steps she can no longer take for herself.              






Losing Weight  

Cindy Lindsey, Document Processing Specialist 1

I have started walking on my lunch at the peddlers mall and have lost two pounds!​