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Last winter, UNC Health Care employee Kathy Brice was ready for a change. She had recently gained back some weight she had lost before. She knew she needed something to motivate her so she joined the Healthy Heels Weight Loss Program.

Kathy Brice had lost weight before, but changes in medication and new life stressors resulted in regaining the weight and then some. With her cardiologist emphasizing the importance of losing weight, she signed up for a local health challenge but was not selected. She knew she needed something to motivate her.

In February 2017, she joined Healthy Heels Weight Loss Program and has since lost 50 pounds. Other benefits came with the weight loss: feeling better, having more energy, getting rid of old clothes that no longer fit, and finally, being released from regular visits with her cardiologist due to improved health.

She credits the support of the group and its leaders for helping her make sustainable changes.

“Left to my own devices, I wouldn’t have been able to do it,” she says. “If I ate unhealthily I’d tell myself, ‘I’ll start again Monday’ but then Monday would come and go and I wouldn’t do it.”

In the group, she has learned that each meal is an opportunity to recommit to healthier eating.  “The group has really helped me focus and change my mindset along this journey. It’s given me the encouragement and support I’ve needed.”

This summer, Kathy took a much-anticipated trip to England and Ireland. She had the energy to walk several miles daily and continued to lose weight, even on vacation.

“You can still enjoy your chocolate or whatever it is and still be a part of this weight loss journey,” she explains. To other health care employees who might be interested, she advises, “This is worth it. Every moment that you can take to go is worth it.”

Health Heels groups meet once a week and has served over 115 employees. Counselors provide information about healthy eating and physical activity, and are available for individual consultations. Group members report high satisfaction and appreciate the nonjudgmental support and accountability the program provides.

Any employee with a BMI ≥25 and willingness to make changes to their daily routine can participate.

Interested in joining? To enroll, please call 984-974-6519. Please direct any further questions to Stephanie Wilhoit-Reeves..