Athletics have always been a big part of Lisa Herron’s life. She’s a former aerobics instructor, kickboxer, and runner. In 2012 alone, Lisa completed six half-marathons.
But her genetics ultimately caught up with her. Over the last few years, Lisa underwent foot surgery, followed by two cervical spine surgeries. She says it made it difficult to stay physically active.
In early 2019, Lisa started a job at OneAmerica Financial Partners in Indianapolis. She was due for her annual physical and could access The Marathon Health MyClinic @ The Tower as a part of her employer benefits, so she scheduled a biometric screening. The results were a stark wake-up call.
“They didn’t come back favorably,” she says.
Lisa’s A1c measured 8 percent and her triglycerides measured over 500 mg/dl. An A1c reading above 6.5 percent indicates diabetes, while a triglyceride reading of 500 mg/dl falls in the “very high” range, according to the Mayo clinic.
Lisa had no idea she was at risk of diabetes. There’s a family history, but she says the thought never crossed her mind.
“It scared the daylights out of me,” she says. “But I wanted to live. In the past few months, I’ve lost four friends because of heart attacks and strokes, so it fueled me to be healthier.”
Lisa joined a diabetes support group and her benefits manager at OneAmerica encouraged her to try health coaching. That’s where she first met Debbie Richardson, a health coach with Marathon Health.
Lisa was determined to change her lifestyle and get healthy. She began meeting regularly with Debbie and together they charted a healthy path forward that focused on lifestyle changes, not medication. She also joined a gym and started exercising several times per week.
Lisa says changing her diet was the hardest part.
“I love to cook, so I’ve had to reinvent the wheel of having healthier options,” she says. “Debbie’s guidance was that 90 percent of what goes on my plate needs to be vegetables with a clean protein.”
Lisa committed to eating only 1,600 calories per day and stuck with it. To help hold her accountable, Debbie helped her sync an app on her phone with her Fitbit so she could monitor her daily calorie intake.
Within three months of starting health coaching, Lisa’s A1c and triglycerides both dropped to a healthy measure (without the use of medication) and as an added bonus, she lost 30 pounds.
Lisa credits her success to the accountability and guidance she received from Debbie, the support of her employer, and the Marathon Health clinic staff.
“She’s embraced the entire journey for me,” Lisa says. “The whole clinic and my employer more than wrapped themselves around me. It’s nice having the accessibility to have it done right here at our office building.”
Today, Lisa says she feels great and is full of energy. In May, she logged 100 miles on the treadmill. And her positive attitude has influenced friends and family to also make healthy lifestyle changes. Lisa’s mother recently lost 15 pounds while her boyfriend dropped 30 pounds.
“I’m trying to be a kick-ass 50-year-old,” she says, adding that she’s already signed up for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in 2020.
“This isn’t just a quick fix for me,” she says. “I have to own this destiny. That’s been my biggest takeaway from Debbie. This isn’t going to be three months and ‘Oh, look at what I did.’ Because of genetics and my age, this will be my lifestyle moving forward.”