Every day, the choices we make—big or small—play a part in our physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Whether you are watching your diet, staying physically active, carving out time to participate in stress-reducing activities or staying away from unhealthy habits, you are taking steps to live a healthier and happier life. You are taking steps to be at your best.

As healthcare workers, it’s particularly important for us to be at our best. When we are at our best—body, mind and spirit—we can best serve our patients and communities. When we are at our best, we can best promote wellness by role-modeling the behaviors we want to see in others. When we are at our best, we can best live our promise of assurance.

What are some of the things you do to be at your best? Have you stopped smoking recently? Rediscovered a passion? Joined one of IU Health's wellness initiatives? Have tips on how to sneak more fruits and veggies into your diet?

Inspire others with your story or tips on how to improve well-being by leaving a comment below. Two IU Health team members who submit a comment will be randomly selected to win a pair of VIP tickets to an upcoming event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Submit your story before Tuesday, May 21, for a chance to win a pair of VIP tickets for the 2013 Indianapolis 500 Race, on May 26. You must use your IU Health email address to qualify to win tickets.

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  • Name: Teresa Weller Sundine
  • Posted: 05/23/2013

August of 2012 my 48 yr old husband had a heart attack. The blockage was in the LAD which is called the widow maker. Luckily we got to the hospital within 10 min of him having the symptoms and he was rushed to the cath lab where they placed a stent. He had minimal damage to the heart but he still fears having another heart attack.
After that we stopped going out to eat but about once a week at the most. Then back in March we decided to cut out all meat, dairy and eggs (vegan) to help with our weight loss journey and road to better health. Since October of 2012 my husband has lost 45 pounds and I have lost 15. We drink Soy or Almond milk and use Seitan and tofu in place of meat. We have discovered lots of new recipes and eat out rarely. It is a lifestyle change for us so we can be here for our children and grandchildren.

  • Name: Vickie Firkins
  • Posted: 05/21/2013

I am at my best and at peace when I am trekking/climbing a mountain taking in all the beautiful surroundings. I follow my motto in life, taking one step at a time. As I approach the summit, I have deep thoughts of my family, friends, colleagues that keep me going. When I return to work, I feel energized and have a clear understanding of why I am here, to better support my team and our patients, providing that promise of assurance.

  • Name: David Wade
  • Posted: 05/21/2013

Upon being told that I’m Type 2 Diabetic I have switched from sugar to sugar free syrups in my coffee and drinking more water and green tea and truth be told I don’t notice a difference in taste!

  • Name: Ericka Harris
  • Posted: 05/21/2013

A lot of people think just because you are thin means you are in great shape and health. This is not true! I have not felt “at my best” for years. I have not taken the time to take care of myself being a WORKING single mother. I never come first. At the end of 2012, a boxing gym was being built below our office. A few of us were getting excited and before we knew it somebody from the gym offered all of us a free class to try it out. It was hard, especially when you haven’t worked out since your FRESHMAN year in high school. Most of us made it through the ONE-HOUR work out full of cardio, boxing moves and core work. The following week I was down there to join and was offered a position there instead. Now me and my kids work out at least twice a week and I am able to squeeze in a run on the treadmill while I’m on the clock. I don’t have an excuse anymore since my kids can go with me and I am able to work out WHILE I am working. Being at the facility and working out has made me WANT to change my eating habits and my WHOLE outlook on life. I have even started the 30-day squat AND ab challenge at the same time and will do 3 months of it. I plan on running more and I am A LOT more active than normal. I actually enjoy taking care of myself and I MAKE time! I drink the NAKED drinks as well, packed with lots of fruits and veggies.. SO GOOD! I see changes I never thought i would see in my body, attitude and HEALTH. I am not exactly where I want to be, but I am on my way to being AT MY BEST!!!

  • Name: Josephine
  • Posted: 05/21/2013

I am conscious every day of our family’s diet.  My husband is not a big fruit eater so, I add fruit to his diet in creative ways. Blueberries in his oatmeal, dried fruit in his yougurt for instance. We have only one meat day during the week, the other days I prepare chicken and fish or a no meat meal.  I love to cook so, coming up with interesing and filling menus for two college students and my husband challenges me (in a good way). We have always been health conscious, but are working to really step it up. Olive oil is a diet staple, along with whatever is fresh in the market.

  • Name: Linda
  • Posted: 05/21/2013

We are all under stress these days, so we need to find a way to handle that stress effectively and allow our bodies time to regenerate. Have you ever tried to do something on your computer and it was really really slow? That can be caused by having too many applications running at one time. Our minds are like computers and when we have too many things going on upstairs, our minds and our bodies slow down. Learn to shut down some of those internal applications. Five minutes a day can make a world of difference in your health and your happiness. Do something you enjoy, or just close your door, close your eyes and breathe clearing your mind shutting down all those things you are concerned or thinking about. Just 5 minutes of a mini mind vacation….before you ‘reboot’. Live, laugh, love and be happy.

  • Name: Michelle Hoy
  • Posted: 05/21/2013

I have struggled with my weight and self-esteem related to my weight my whole life. After the birth of my third child over four years ago, a co-worker (Deb) invited me to run with her over our lunch break. There was a small running group forming at IUH West. Because I had small children at home, this was my perfect opportunity to let go of excuses preventing me from exercise.

After a few months of running at lunch, Deb invited me to run the mini-marathon with her. I had walked it several years before, but never thought I would be able to run the whole thing. I decided to try it, making it a goal to run the whole thing without stopping before I turned forty (I was 37 at the time).

Well, I accomplished that goal and have run the mini every year since.  This year, I ran two half-marathons one week apart. My sisters were inspired by the 13.1 sticker I had placed on the back of my car. They decided to run their first half-marathon this year and we agreed we would do it together. It was so amazing to run every step of the way with them as they completed their first 13.1 mile challenge. Every time you hit a new goal on a training run or a race, there is an exhilerating feeling of accomplishing something you never though you could. 

As of this month, I have run 5 half-marathons and I have no plans to stop. I am planning some destination races with my sisters, the Key West Half Marathon in 2014 is our next goal. Running has become a life style for me, not just a one-time goal. Getting through a tough race is as much of a mental challenge as a physical one. I saw a sign in the race with my sisters, in the POURING rain in Nashville last month, “The task before you is never greater than the strength within you.” It is so true!

  • Name: Molly Auletta
  • Posted: 05/20/2013

To be at my best I decided that it was time to take my life back. I have increased my exercise levels, dedicating 30 minutes a day, I’ve started taking the stairs at work as much as possible and I’ve signed up for a 5K in June! Most importantly, I would not have had the endurance to finally kick the smoking habit after 20+ years. I’m now smoke free and loving life!

  • Name: Lisa
  • Posted: 05/20/2013

Being healthy and taking care of myself helps me do a better job of taking care of my family and patients.

  • Name: Evelyn
  • Posted: 05/20/2013

I believe that one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to try not to take everything so seriously…we need to choose our battles and remember to live, laugh and love. I am most motivated by my family, friends and work. I try to start everyday with a positive attitude and I try to keep that attitude throughout the day, no matter what it may bring, (and yes, Randy, I am talking about you, hahaha)...I try to find the positives in life instead of the negative, helping others gives me a sense of self reward, seeing a smile back from someone I have smiled at,  blessing a sneeze, asking if there is something we can do if we see a frown, opening a door or just giving direction on how to get where they want to go. I am far from perfect and so is my home and family life, but we have overcome a lot of obstacles by trying to remain positive and remembering just how blessed we are from those around us and in our lives on an everyday basis.

I have joined our Wellness program, (we all know I am in dire need of that), and I have lost some weight, ate better and exercised more. Now am I good everyday? Heck No!!!  But I know that I try and it only takes a couple of looks around in our work-world to know that we should count our blessings, that we are very lucky—there is always someone else who has a lot more stress on them than we do.

  • Name: Ruth Ambers
  • Posted: 05/20/2013

I joined Lisa Pinkstaff’s class - 6 Weeks to a Healthier You - which is fantastic!  This class started back in January, and I enjoyed it so much, that I signed up again for a second 6 weeks.  We don’t change habits overnight, so this second session has really gotten me more focused.  I have more energy, enjoy the workouts and has brought more awareness to my everyday choices. Lisa attended the Biggest Loser Camp and came back full of energy and excitement to share what she learned. We are all on a journey to be more mindful and aware of our daily health choices, and this class has provided some great insight along with some great people to exercise with which makes it fun!  Watch for information on her next class offering, and don’t think twice, JUST DO IT!  I am glad that I did.

  • Name: Mindy Perkins
  • Posted: 05/20/2013

Utilizing the Livewell employee health screening has helped me focus on healthier eating and exercise to reach my wellness goals.

  • Name: kim HENRY
  • Posted: 05/20/2013

TO BE AT MY BEST..Which I have learned in the past 3-4 weeks. I recentley was moved to Oncoclogy to do my job as a registration clerk. All I can say is that I dont take my job, life or family for granted anymore. The majority of patients are dealing with some form of cancer, and to see them at their worst, but you know they just keep going…I dont have anymore BAD days.. and when I start feeling sorry for myself I think about the ones I see everyday.They all make me to be a better person. I count my blessing everyday now.The onocolgy patients make me feel so gratefull to be able to come to work to do my best for them. The reward is PRICELESS.

  • Name: Beth
  • Posted: 05/20/2013

My lifestyle change began over a year ago after a breast cancer scare, skin cancer that had to be removed off my face and my mother being diagnosed with diabetes. My father had passed away when I was 19 from heart disease. Simple tasks such as tying shoes and finding jeans that were comfortable (I got the hair-tie trick down pretty good) became a daily struggle. Climbing my stairs at home had me gasping for air. Weighing in at over 320lbs at the age of 40, I knew something had to be done. Having been diagnosed with a rare endocrine disorder that resulted in the destruction of my thyroid and pituitary gland, I was already at a disadvantage. I gained on an average of 5-10lbs a year since the age of 28. Knowing my body was already against me, I threw myself into a rigorous exercise routine and I recorded everything I ate and drank into a journal. At first it was a tedious task. But, it didn’t take long to become a pro at knowing what I was putting into my body. I learned that it takes a 3500 calorie deficit to lose a single pound and after calculating my BMR, I realized that I was literally starving my body. I had a light bulb moment and once I started avoiding the scale and not beating myself up over small set-backs, the weight fell off. I started a blog about this journey. My followers encourage me to continue my daily journey and they make me accountable. I have found creative ways to add vegetables into my diet by adding raw baby spinach into my smoothies.  Trust me, you cannot taste it! I’ve added avocado into my weekly diet for a healthy dose of good fats. I avoid the center aisles in the grocery store and shop the perimeter. I make sure that I take in 1/2-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight daily. I pre-plan and pack my weekly meals on Sunday afternoons so I have plenty of time to juggle my busy full-time school and work schedules and I will already know what I’m taking in daily. After losing 100lbs, I still have another 80lbs to go. I continue to log my meals and my workouts. My entire office is participating in the IU Health weight loss challenge. We constantly bounce healthy snack and meal ideas off of each other. If I can do this, anyone can!

  • Name: Tracy "Trademark" Miller
  • Posted: 05/20/2013

I work out once a week with others from my previous work department.  It is a healthy way for us to stay in touch professionally and personally.  I find it the highlight of my week. It all started with LG volunteered to show me how to make the most of my workouts with strength training.  She is a former college athlete and very knowledgeable about the best ways to use the time in the gym. We soon invited others who wanted to learn more, too. We put it on our work calendars and try to keep our commitment to ourselves and to each other. Thanks!

  • Name: Alex Gaughan
  • Posted: 05/20/2013

What has motivated me the most this season to fully engage in the corporate wellness challenge is that I am turning 50 this year! Approaching this milestone has evoked much soul searching and mirror gazing. I am discovering that while unwanted weight gain poor conditioning can come on insidiously, it is also completely reversible with surprisingly little effort! Consistency seems to be the key. The two new habits which have made all the difference for me are eating a 20 g protein (200 calorie) protein bar at 4 in the afternoon on work days, and daily tracking my food intake and exercise on myfitnesspal. The challenge is half-way over, and I am already half-way to my goal weight!

  • Name: Jamie
  • Posted: 05/20/2013

Last year my husband and kids helped me train for the Chicago Marathon. My oldest son in the army was my motivation. My 2 older children would either ride their bikes or rollerblade while my now 18month old twins would enjoy the ride in the jogging stroller for shorter runs during the week. On long runs the kids would stay home with Dad. The long runs were a much needed time of reflection and prayer. 26.2 miles is a pretty far distance, but the journey to get there is so worth the 2 pairs of running shoes and a few ugly toes. This year my goal is to do my first triathlon with, of course, my favorite people training me every step, stroke and pedal.

  • Name: Jennifer Osborn Sanders
  • Posted: 05/20/2013

It has been a rough few years for me and my children, many negative events have happened in our lives. Through the confusion and struggles, I made some mistakes. Although through my journey of struggle, I left myself transparent to my children.  Then one day it occurred to me…I need to lead by example. I wrote a list of “betterments” for myself, knowing that if I lead without words, but with complete actions I would be able to speak volumes to my children. I had always told my children, “The word CAN’T, means I WON’T!”

There I was, with my list of betterments before me. I started with one at a time, not counting the steps I had left to take, but the steps I had already taken. I visualized the completed steps of my betterments as stepping stones, each one lifting me higher to my completeness and balance in life. I wanted to show to my children that struggles will happen to all in life, but it is how you handle the struggles that will determine your ultimate balance of happiness in life. I have not only survived, but I have done it with integrity. I accepted and acknowledged my mistakes and created a journey of promise for my future. My mind set is that not of defeat, but victory.

So, today here I stand with a smile on my face due to the balance I have created in my life, a spiritual freedom that has come from forgiving myself and others, one more class before I submit my application into nursing clinicals, 41 pounds lighter, cholesterol level 57 points lower, a practical budget with a savings in the bank and a sense of living life simple with a positive attitude to tackle stress.  Now, I have the pleasure to see my children eating a healthy diet and making better choices for their health and nutrition, watching them accomplish amazing grades and goals for their futures and seeing smiles on their faces from learning to forgive and moving on to create a solid relationship with their father and myself. 

Although, my journey started off to lead my children, it has also trickled to others in my life. I have others close to me, losing weight, making plans to go back to school and thinking positive.  It is a great feeling to influence others in a positive way, I hope that as I walk the halls of IU Health that others can take the smile I share with them and pass it along to makes others feel good.

  • Name: Michelle Artmeier
  • Posted: 05/20/2013

I have started parking my car farther away from the entrance to wherever I’m going. I feel like those extra steps can go a long way to helping me be more fit.

  • Name: Carmen Vint
  • Posted: 05/20/2013

My goal is to make everyone’s day brighter and better - I want everyone to have a better day because I was in it. Even a smile could make a big difference in someone’s day, I can’t do that if I’m not in a good place and energetic. I spend some time with God before I come in to get a fresh perspective for each day. I make a green smoothie with Matcha green tea, banana, mango, protein, spinach, flax seeds & chia seeds…Delicious! I eat healthy and make sure I have plenty of fruits & veggies and protein in each meal. Since my job is sedentary, I also try to walk for lunch for exercise and to get my circulation going. I try to enjoy my day at work at make the best out of every situation. It works!

  • Name: Kym
  • Posted: 05/20/2013

I use podcasts to keep myself focused and recharged. I download free teachings and sermons to listen to driving to and from work as well as when I walk my 60 min a day. Not only do they inspire me, they help to keep my focus on the things that really matter. Every patient, coworker, friend, family member, and acquaintance has there own personal journey with their own struggles. Motivational teachings have helped me become more aware of this and better prepared to bless others when the opportunity arises.

  • Name: Laurie
  • Posted: 05/20/2013

I have been working with a personal trainer twice a week since early April and focusing on increasing my exercise. I look forward to the workouts and feel stronger already.

  • Posted: 05/20/2013

It’s very important to be at our best. I try to get a good night rest (8hrs of sleep), eat more fruits, vegetables and yogurt and exercise daily. I try to keep a positive attitude everyday and be kind to others. My 1yr old daughter keeps me very busy and very determined to be a great provider for her in the many years to come. I have many goals that I set everyday and that keeps me focused. She is my life and seeing her wake up every morning with a huge smile on her face, starts my day off right. I have to be the best I can be for her!

  • Name: Hannah
  • Posted: 05/20/2013

Our family stays active with our 17 month old who enjoys to run and play outside. We make it an effort to take many walks throughout the week. Instead of driving to the playground a few blocks away, we now walk there and back spending quality time together and improving our physical health.

  • Name: Sarahrina Gallagher
  • Posted: 05/20/2013

I am trying to be at my best by replacing sodas with water. One way I am able to do this is by adding flavor enhanced drops. I am also replacing regular potato chips with baked chips. My goal is to loose 10 pounds. I feel with these two changes I can achieve this goal.

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