Erik Leopard is Methodist Health: Embracing Change

By Erik Leopard

Erik is an HR business partner at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. Over time, Erik has gained weight and fallen into less-than-optimal eating habits. At risk for heart disease and diabetes, Erik has identified clear goals that will help motivate him to make healthier choices. Erik’s goal is to take better care of God’s temple: his body.

1. Congratulations on reaching month four of I am Methodist Health. We want specifics this month. What can you do now that you couldn’t do three months ago?

  1. I can walk up and down stairs without losing my breath.
  2. I have more energy and sleep better.
  3. My body is in better shape for physical activity.
  4. I don’t have knee and back pain from excess weight.
  5. I can fit into clothes four sizes smaller.

2. What is the most important aspect of your program that keeps you on track? Why and how does it affect your progress?

The most important aspect is tracking my food and calorie intake, plus weighing myself daily. It helps me stay on track, and if there is something I need to focus on changing, I can do it immediately rather than letting it go and getting behind in my progress.

3. Give me three specific things that you’re doing to make better food choices or to increase or maintain your exercise activity.

  1. Limit and count my calorie intake daily.
  2. Read labels and stick to my calorie-intake maximum categories, including fat, salt, sugar, etc.
  3. Prepare, prepare, prepare! Plan out meals for the week (breakfast and dinners) and pack lunches the night before so I make the right choices.

4. If your co-workers want to get started on their own wellness program, what should they do? Whom do they call? Where do they start?

They need to first be totally committed to making lifestyle changes, and that will not be easy. It takes the right attitude and discipline to make it work. Call Employee Health to schedule a meeting with their campus coach/manager. Have an accountability partner(s), and use the employee health staff for help and encouragement.

In March, my biggest sense of accomplishment came when I was able to continue my healthy habits progression without having any setbacks, like increased weight.