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AWARE Ink Newsletter


Wondering if the new employee wellness program is right for you?

By Jacquie Peterson, AWARE Media

Healthy Is Wellness is coming to your town

In July, the professionals from Healthy Is Wellness started visiting all of the main AWARE cities in Montana. Have you taken part in the Healthy Is Wellness program yet?

If you have, you’ve probably already started working on a goal or two with health coaches Ryan and Bryan.

They’re helping AWARE staff set small, attainable goals in four wellness areas that make a major difference in health, including Sleep/Wake, Calm, Activity and Nutrition.

You’ve probably also learned that both Ryan and Bryan are two kind, non-judgmental and knowledgeable wellness coaches who will meet you exactly where you’re at on your wellness journey.

Truly, they want to help each and every one of you with your wellness goals and succeed.

If you haven’t yet, I hope you take advantage of this great new AWARE benefit.

What is your why?

I chose to take part in it because I was curious.

Over the years, I have tried many different fitness and nutrition activities and programs, some good and some not so good.

At one point on my wellness path, I went from one extreme to another – over-exercising and under-eating to lose 40 pounds to sitting on the couch doing nothing just to gain it all back.

In a way, it’s embarrassing for me to admit.

Honestly, my past experiences have left me with a little bit of a skewed mindset and a lot of confusion.

I know at this time in my life, I am not interested in fueling excessive exercise and diet.

But I also know that I need to do something because poor choices keep my body in just as much pain (mentally, physically and emotionally) as the heavy weight training or running to hit the 26.2 marathon goal.

The good news is that being in this space definitely helped me learn about myself.

I learned that balance is key. It’s something that takes practice to learn and grow.

So, with my never-ending search for information and passion of learning, I scheduled a 9:15 a.m. appointment with Healthy Is Wellness the day the team visited Anaconda.

I wasn’t sure what to expect.

View from AWARE

The view from my desk at the Shared Resources Center looks directly into the upstairs kitchen where people were attending sessions with the wellness coaches.

As people would come and go, I could hear the buzz of conversation and a bit of nervousness – the same nervousness I was feeling.

My fearful thoughts played a negative reel in my head before I went to my appointment.

I don’t have exact words for my thoughts, but I do know that I had the feeling of a big gigantic eye roll going on in my head.

I was very skeptical.

And I didn’t want to be called out on my bad habits.

And I didn’t want to be called out on my weight.

And I didn’t want to get hyped up to do a bunch of stuff that takes a lot of my time.

And…the list could go on.

So I breathed to move through all these thoughts and emotions.

What I found is that I was caught in my own shame cycle and overthinking. I wasn’t giving myself enough credit for what I am already doing to create wellness.

But, Ryan and Bryan had a way of making people feel comfortable and encouraging people to move forward with their goals. So I found myself relaxing as I carried on with the process.

That day, I learned that consistent, small changes make a major impact on your health.

A special piece of equipment the coaches brought measures your physical body. Each person receives a printout with their own body analysis, which includes details about muscle, skeleton, water and fat content.

The readings the machine gathers are actually quite fascinating. They give an idea about the wellness aspects you might want to work on to reach your goals.

You have the opportunity to visit with Ryan to talk about the analysis and get help setting one or two attainable goals.

Because I felt as if I already had a good handle on three of the four wellness categories mentioned above, I chose to work on nutrition.

But as you can tell from the description of my wellness journey, at times, I can have a fairly focused all-or-nothing mindset.

You guessed it, my mind automatically went to food lists, counting calories, eating schedules, the scale and many other nutrition details.

Overwhelming, right?

Luckily, Ryan helped me break this gigantic brain overload into two goals. 1) Fasting from 8 p.m. – 8 a.m. 2) Eating one whole food meal per day.

Honestly, as I sat with Ryan, I felt that these two goals were doable. I can say that for the last few weeks, I have been fairly consistent in achieving these goals – especially the fasting goal.

At this point, I am excited to hop onto the machine to see my results when Ryan and Bryan return.

Take advantage of Healthy Is Wellness

Perhaps, you weren’t quite sure you wanted to take part in this AWARE benefit or maybe you didn’t have time to take part back in July.

Don’t worry, you’ll have another opportunity to visit with the wellness coaches in October. They’ll be at AWARE on a quarterly basis. Watch for an email with details.

Healthy Is Wellness is available to all AWARE employees and their families. No need to be part of AWARE’s insurance program.

For more information about this program, you can contact AWARE Human Resources Director Sara Richardson at

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