Reclaiming Our Health :
Talking the Talk and Walking the Walk to Wellness
When I started the program, I had problems with my thyroid, my muscles hurt and I was depressed. In the first week I began to see changes. My body felt better and I was named employee of the month at my job. The changes were hard in the beginning but I found the motivation to succeed.
– Reclamando Su Salud Graduate
Virginia Garcia recently reunited a special group of women to talk about their experience with one of our signature wellness initiatives – Reclamando Su Salud (Reclaiming Your Health). This groundbreaking health education program was developed by providers in our Cornelius Clinic to address the specific needs of our Latina patients with chronic conditions, such as obesity and diabetes.
The program consists of eight weekly group education sessions – conducted in Spanish – that emphasize exercise, healthy eating and stress management. At the reunion, participants expressed just how much the eight-week course changed their lives.
The reunion began with an ice-breaker exercise, followed by a brisk walk just as all of the weekly group education and support sessions did. This not only reinforces the importance of exercise, but demonstrates how good it makes you feel.
After the walk, the women shared their thoughts about the program, along with the many successes and challenges they experienced on their journey toward better health. They appreciated being able to learn new healthy recipes and share cooking tips. They valued the trip to the supermarket, where they learned more about how to select healthy groceries by reading labels. And, although they joked about their anxiety over having their weight, blood pressure and cholesterol checked before each session, they agreed it provided additional motivation.
Most of all, the women acknowledged the powerful impact the support of other women facing similar challenges had on their behavior. It’s one thing when a doctor tells you to eat food with less fat and carbohydrates, but it’s much more effective when another mother of four tells you how to cook tortillas with olive oil, or where you can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables inexpensively.
The reunion culminated with a potluck lunch, where everyone brought healthy dishes to share. Over plates filled with quinoa salad, fresh salsa and seasonal fruit, participants shared recipes and talked about how they can continue to support each other beyond the “classroom” setting.