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Living the Solution

General

In 2009 Winona Joy, of Bay City, was overweight, had dangerously high cholesterol, and suffered from crippling arthritis and depression. "I had a walker and a cane," she says. "I could barely move." She was living in Portland when, she says, "I realized that my lifestyle was going to kill me, and I decided to take action."

"I moved to the coast, and I started walking on the beach slowly, slowly. I couldn't go very far at first, but I just kept it up, a few more steps each day. I started taking gentle stretching classes for seniors. I got out and made friends, and I changed my diet. I started to feel better almost immediately."

It's hard to imagine that a few short years ago this spirited, lovely and agile woman was in such terrible shape: "Look at me now," she says, smiling.

Winona recently completed the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP), offered through the hospital. CHIP is an education and support program aimed at changing diet and adding exercise to improve health, manage disease and increase quality of life.

"I love CHIP because they're changing lifestyle," Winona says, "and that's the new name of medicine: lifestyle."

Lifestyle medicine is a phrase that we will hear more and more often in the future. It refers to the changes we can make to improve and manage our own health. Many of the health problems that plague Americans as a society are preventable, including diabetes, heart and vascular diseases, joint and mobility issues, and other complications of obesity.

After four weeks in CHIP, Winona's cholesterol, weight, blood pressure, BMI (body mass index), glucose, triglycerides and pulse are all significantly lower. "CHIP gives you knowledge," she says. "The videos we watched changed my life. I learned that everything I put in my mouth counts! I was eating ice cream and chips, and I was doing some emotional eating; when your kids are gone, you don't really cook meals. Now I am eating very little fried food, dairy or meat, and I feel great. I walk a mile a day, jump on my mini-trampoline and do stretching exercises. I'm convinced I'll be able to sustain these changes."

Tillamook Regional Medical Center offers CHIP classes twice annually. The next class will be Feb. 24 through Mar. 27. Information sessions are Feb. 10 and 11. Please call (503)-815-2270 to find out more.