By Jina Rameau, RN, MPH
I was new to the MGH community, just 3 months into my position. During new employee orientation, I heard about all the benefits we can access. One in particular really caught my attention: the MGH Be Fit program. Be Fit is the MGH employee wellness program, a free 10-week program that focuses on helping employees learn to eat healthier and exercise more with guidance from nutritionists and personal trainers.
I knew I wanted to join the program, and began contacting the directors. There was one hiccup: I was pretty new to my department, and the program requested teams of 15-25 people within your department. I remember thinking I don’t know enough people to get a group together! I explained my situation to one of the directors and promised my commitment to Be Fit. He advised I could possibly join another team! I was ecstatic, and couldn’t wait to be a part of the program.
I joined the team at the Diabetes Research Center (team name: Sweet Success). The time flew by with weekly team breakout sessions with our nutritionist, Debra, and personal trainer, Pete. Weekly rallies were also held to review team stats for submission of food logs, the total time we spent exercising, how many times we practiced relaxation response techniques, and number of steps taken. There were a total of 6 teams, and Sweet Success remained within the Top 3 throughout the 10 weeks. We felt a sense of achievement whenever we took a trophy home.
In addition to 1 hour weekly strength training sessions with Pete, I also participated in the weekly group exercise classes at the gym right next to the hospital. I fell head over heels for Zumba: a fun, effective workout system featuring dance moves set to Latin and International music. As a result of Be Fit resources, I learned relaxation techniques (i.e. deep breathing and visualization) as well as nutrition facts like how to read a food label, portion size and healthy snacking. I lost over 15lbs and continue to include exercise in my daily routine. It’s a lifestyle!