From his chair, Ed Agnoli leans over to tie his shoe. “I used to have to suck in to reach my shoe laces,” says the administrative coordinator of UNC’s Center for Transplant Care. That was before he lost 25 pounds with the help of the Healthy Heels Weight Loss Program.
Before making changes to his diet and activity levels, Ed had noticed his clothes fitting tighter and the number on the bathroom scale slowly creeping higher. When his doctor expressed concern about his rising cholesterol and blood pressure levels, Ed knew it was time to seek some help.
Ed was excited to hear about the Healthy Heels program and started attending meetings in February 2017. He liked that it was convenient, on-campus, and free. He says the group provided the structure and support he needed.
Healthy Heels Weight Loss Program is free for UNC Health Care employees and includes intensive behavioral counseling and support. Trained 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 that the program provides.
For example, Ed learned about a helpful app from his fellow group members and started tracking his food intake. Tracking provided a newfound awareness of his nutrition and eating patterns, which motivated him to start packing his lunch every day. For exercise, he set a daily goal of 10,000 steps.
With the group’s support and accountability, he regularly met his goals. He even started looking forward to the optional weigh-ins to see the pay-off from his hard work.
In addition to nutritional information and behavioral strategies, group topics include stress management and the connection between our thoughts, feelings and actions. One thing Ed did not necessarily expect to gain from the group was a deeper appreciation for his colleagues. Ed notes he now realizes how complex his peers’ situations can be, which makes him slow to judge and quick to provide a smile and head nod when passing a fellow group member in the hospital corridor.
If you are interested in making some healthy changes and want a little help in a supportive group setting, Ed says you have “no reason not to try” Healthy Heels.
To enroll, please call 984-974-6519. Please direct any further questions to Stephanie Wilhoit-Reeves.