Healthy Eating

Seanna - TennCare
After a frightening discussion with her doctor during an annual physical, Seanna adopted a healthy lifestyle.

Kathy - Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services
Find out how Kathy has maintained a healthy lifestyle for many years.

Lesley Farmer

Department of Human Resources

My meatless journey started about three years ago. I went to a biometric screening at the Tennessee Tower and noticed that my numbers were off the charts, but not in a good way. My cholesterol was very high. I was fairly active and knew I had to make some changes, so I looked at my diet. First, I stopped eating beef. This was a fairly easy step, as I barely ate beef products. Next, I gave up pork, and yes, giving up bacon was tough; but I did it. At my next screening, my numbers were better but not good enough.

In March of 2019, I decided to cut out chicken and turkey. I figured I would do a meatless March and see how it worked. I realized I did not miss eating meat. I found other meatless, high-protein options; however, I still include fish and seafood in my diet. I immediately noticed that I have more energy without the stuffed feeling when I eat. My numbers on my last wellness screening were great. Changing to this diet has made me more thoughtful about what I eat. It has also allowed my family to cook more at home with less takeout and fast food, which has its own health benefits. I am not sure if I will ever eat meat again; however, I am happy to have started on this path and plan to continue my journey.

Department of Human Services

My husband and I joined a weight loss program. We knew we were eating unhealthily. Every night we felt bloated and sluggish. I am a lifetime member of the program. I told him if he would join, I would guarantee he wouldn't feel bloated every night. I have a thyroid condition, which is a huge obstacle for weight loss. I am losing weight, but at a snail's pace. I will get there! My husband has lost 28 pounds since January. We have both been able to discontinue our blood pressure medicine under our doctor's advice due to the healthy eating habits. That is worth gold to me.

Department of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

My doctor had been monitoring my glucose levels due to seeing a slight increase with each lab result. My last A1c was 7.1 which carries a diagnosis of diabetes. It was that day that I asked my primary care physician to allow me to make the necessary changes in my diet and exercise to reduce my levels. I went to a diabetic training which gave me the needed tools to make nutritional changes. I consume less fat, sugar, carbs and salt. I measure my food and prepare my meals at home.

My fitness goal is to work out at least three times per week. My healthy eating goal is to keep my regimen for a lifetime – not to deprive myself of enjoying food, but to eat less.

I have participated in almost all of the Working for a Healthier TN challenges. They have truly helped me stay focused. They are a way to help kick start needed changes and actively get others involved.

When you see and feel the change in your physical and mental status, it keeps you motivated to take it to a higher level. I also believe in keeping myself surrounded with people who have the same goals and provide the needed support to keep me going.

Department of Human Services

I’ve started observing Meatless Mondays, eating salmon twice a week, strength training twice a week and walking every day because my biometric screening is coming up and I want to have good results. I started by looking up vegetarian recipes and meal prepping for the week. I participated in the WFHT Jump Rope Challenge and enjoy the weekly recipes our Wellness Council sends. I love when our Commissioner participates in our department’s challenges and events. My advice for others is that not every day will be perfect, but don’t worry about messing up. Do the best you can. One slip up is not a failure. Do better at your next meal or the next day. You have nothing if you do not have your health.

Department of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

In March 2018 I began a weight loss challenge. Due to restless legs and a heel spur I wanted to make more healthy choices to lose weight with the hope that with less weight to carry, my legs would feel better at night. 

Initially I read some success stories on Facebook and YouTube and wanted to give it a try, and the first signs that it was working was almost immediate. So, that encouraged me to continue on this journey. 

My goal was to lose 100 pounds. Currently, I have lost 52 pounds and three pant sizes. I'm noticing a change in my clothes and in the mirror. I also have more energy and just feel like I am in a healthier place in my life.

I've learned to like myself. I've learned I can be strong enough to not give in to temptation.

Department of Agriculture

Instead of eating healthy, balanced meals, I had gotten in the habit of eating high-fat foods, snacks, sweets and fast food. I was feeling draggy, tired and unmotivated. I got to a point that I needed to make a change. I had put on some pounds around my waist and middle. I was extremely uncomfortable.

I stopped eating sweets, carbohydrates and quit drinking diet colas. As much as I enjoy eating beef, pork and chicken, I learned that I was not eating enough protein. Now I watch how many carbs and sweets that I eat, but I do not plan to drink diet sodas again.

I've lost 25-30 pounds. I'm more comfortable,  feel better, get lots of positive comments from friends, family and co-workers. My confidence has been boosted. I spend less money eating out. I will allow myself to eat things that I love, like sweets and chocolate, but definitely in moderation.

Department of Labor & Workforce Development

After completing the Celebrate a Healthier YOU Challenge:

I have decreased the amount of sugar in my diet substantially. My poor spouse - I have not made cookies or peach cobbler in over a month!

Department of Human Services

I decided I wanted to lose some weight for a big family vacation. My office put me in charge of creating a Wellness BINGO game. I've been working on my fitness goals ever since. At my heaviest, I was 212 pounds. Now, I am down to 186.

Changing my eating habits has helped tremendously. I've always tried to stay active, but was just not losing weight with exercise alone. I've achieved the weight loss mostly through portion control. When I snack, I try to eat healthier foods instead of junk foods. I try to eat nuts, fruits or veggies.

Department of Safety & Homeland Security

Both my husband and I decided to change to a healthier diet after I had my gallbladder removed and he was diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure. I have seen significant weight loss and have fewer cravings for sweets. My husband has seen his sugar levels and blood pressure go down. We started by cutting back on items high in sugar. Then we started cutting back on fatty foods. We stay motivated because we would like to live longer, feel better and be happier.

Our advice for others is to maintain a good schedule of appointments with your physician, listen and adhere to their advice and guidelines. Begin with small goals first. Once you tackle those, work your way up allowing your body and mind to adjust.