Monday, November 29, 2010


Many lessons learned during Enjoy LIFE series

It seems as though everyone is trying to lose weight these days, myself included.

Since May of this year, my colleagues at Backus Hospital and I have partnered with Myra Ambrogi, director of the Plainfield Recreation Department in creating the Enjoy LIFE (Lifelong Investment in Fitness and Exercise) program in the Plainfield community.

Our focus was to support each other in our quest towards a healthier lifestyle by improving our diets and increasing our exercise and activity. We kicked off the program with a showcase of the resources offered in the Plainfield area highlighting an active lifestyle. It was so enjoyable to see demonstrations by the Danielson Martial Arts Academy and Marie’s Fitness and Massage Center. The initial weigh-in was not so much fun.

We then began the monthly programs. In June, Backus Registered Dietitian Sarah Hospod introduced “Healthy Eating: It’s easier than you think.” Wow! Most of the prepackaged “healthy” foods I brought to work were anything but healthy for me.

We had to schedule a second presentation on nutrition because of the overwhelming response to her initial talk. We all learned so much. Other monthly programs included presentations by an exercise physiologist, a physical therapist, a cardiologist, and a pulmonologist. Now, I can not use my asthma as a reason not to exercise.

Over the past few months, I have seen many of the community members who joined the Enjoy LIFE program become more and more engaged in this healthy lifestyle effort. . Deep down, we all know what we should be doing, but all of us need a little support and direction to bring about these desired changes. We learned what worked in this program, and what didn’t.

On Dec. 9, from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Plainfield Recreation Center, we will be having a celebration of our achievements.

Some of us lost a few pounds; some of us are eating healthier meals; some of us are being more active; some of us have joined forces with a new friend to work out together. Everyone has something to celebrate.

There will be a final weigh-in of the Active Challenge teams. A prize will be awarded to the team that lost the largest percentage of weight. All members of the team must be weighed in to qualify for the prize. There will be door prizes and light refreshments will be served. Everyone is invited, regardless of whether you joined a team, dropped out after the first month, attended the monthly presentations or just watched.

On Jan. 20 we will kick off the next phase of Enjoy LIFE, “Active Challenge 2011.” There will be a “variety show” including cooking demonstration and a showcase of the many resources in the Plainfield area.

This round will focus on individual challenges. We are calling it a “New Year, New You: A Personal Challenge.” Everyone is invited to join – whether you are returning or joining for the first-time. You can register for either the Dec. 9 celebration or the Jan. 20 kickoff by calling (860) 889-8331, ext 2495. Hope to see you there!

Lisa Cook is a registered nurse with the Backus Hospital Education Department. This column should not replace advice or instruction from your personal physician. If you want to comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at or e-mail Ms. Cook or any of the Healthy Living columnists at

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