Get Inspired: WOW! Superheroes

You don’t need a lot of superpowers to be be a superhero.

The Superhero campaign began in 2009 as a way to share how employees across the MaineHealth system are reaching their health and fitness goals.

We are asking all of you to become Superheroes by getting regular preventive care and participating in our health and wellbeing programs. Prevention is easy, inexpensive, and can save your life. You’ll feel better, take fewer sick days, have more spring in your step, and lots more.

Calling All Superheroes!

Nominate yourself or someone else to be part of our growing team of WOW! Superheroes.
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Meet Our 2017 WOW! Superheroes

April Pinkham, LincolnHealth

2017 WOW Superhero April PinkhamWhat's the key to losing more than 100 pounds in two years? Ask WOW! Superhero April Pinkham, and she'll tell you: If you have great music and a good buddy, you're well on your way.

When the journey to better health started for this patient registration representative from Lincoln­Health-Miles Campus, she didn't feel healthy or like how she looked. So when her dad expressed his fear of losing her, April committed, making an appointment with a nutritionist and a wellness coach at Maine Medical Center.

April wasn't just dealing with the physical effects of an unhealthy lifestyle. She's also a proud survivor of mental illness, and she's showing us all how to overcome life's challenges. Though she never thought she would, she's trying things like Zumba and aerobics, and eating more fruits and veggies. She's even challenging herself to run to participate in charity events.

April stays on track because of the support she gets from her coworkers and family.

"My support network checks in with me about my eating. They remind me of how hard I've worked, " she said.

April also uses a food journal and arranges to exercise with friends and family. "You're more apt to exercise when you don't want to let someone else down."

She's even inspiring her coworkers.

"When I started in patient registration we often had potlucks where people would bring in mostly un­healthy foods," she said. "Now we have healthy potlucks."

April knows she still has work to do. But she's convinced her goal of losing 100 more pounds is obtainable. She's encouraged by sharing her story, and knows if a brief relapse occurs, it's important to keep going.

"Keep on keeping on, and never give up," she said.

Nancy Chaves & Hannah Williams, Southern Maine Health Care

Chaves and Williams editedNancy Chaves and Hannah Williams have a saying for when times in the endoscopy center get tough: “Exercise and fresh air will make it better.”

According to their co-worker Elizabeth (Liz) DeFeo, RN, the two are constantly encouraging each other to run or walk after work and coordinating runs on the weekends. And they are always asking everyone in their department to join them, admittedly to mixed results.

“I’ve made it clear to them on many occasions that the only time I run is if the cops are chasing me,” teases Liz.

It doesn’t stop Nancy and Hannah from trying, however. Liz says that the duo is always positive and never overbearing with their encouragement. So much so, that Liz admits, “I have no doubt that they’ll eventually convince me to go— cops or not.”

Marsha Newman & Jennifer DeWeir, Pen Bay Medical Center

2017 WOW Superheroes Jenny and Marsha Inline ImageJenny loves horseback riding. Marsha loves to garden. But as these two RNs from the Pen Bay Medical Center Anticoagulation Clinic faced the realities of getting older, they realized how much their extra weight impacted their jobs and the activities they love.

So in February 2016, the duo committed to changing their lifestyles. And together, they've lost more than 40 pounds.

Through WOW!, they joined Weight Watchers and learned how the small steps you take every day add up. That's why their best advice to anyone considering changing their health is to take it one day at a time.

Of course their journey hasn't been without obstacles. Learning how to control binge eating­ particularly with sweets and around the holidays- is an ongoing concern. But having your coworkers notice and support your weight loss is gratifying. Hiking and walking longer distanc­es (without avoiding the hills!) also serve as great motivators.

If there's one thing these partners know for sure about their journey to better health, it's this: Having a friend committed to the same goals is extremely helpful.

"We're not sure if we would have had the results without each other!"

Deborah Gallant, Maine Medical Center

Deb Gallant PhotoWhen Deborah Gallant looked at her photographs from her trip to Disney World with her grandkids, she didn’t like what she saw.

“I decided I’d never see photos of myself like that again,” she said. True to her word, this director of leadership development at MaineHealth has lost 48 pounds since February 2016.

Deborah started by participating in nutritional counseling classes offered by Maine Health. Less than a year later, she now spends her time devouring all the information she can find on healthy eating and weight loss. She even counts reading articles about nutrition as one of her favorite activities!

But eating healthy consistently has been challenging, especially when family members tempt her with her favorite foods. She’s learning how to stay motivated, relying on her scale to keep her honest.

“I get on it every day,” she said.

Deborah’s husband and co-workers have encouraged and supported her in reaching her goals. Their feedback has been invaluable.

“Looking good, feeling good, and receiving compliments for how I look is worth giving up my unhealthy food habits,” she said.

Most of all, Deborah has succeeded because she’s changed her mindset. “Now I eat to live versus living to eat.”

Mia Yaron, Maine Behavioral Healthcare

WOW Superhero Mia YaronIt’s something no one wants to hear from their doctor. But when Mia Yaron learned her blood sugars were elevated, it was just the push she needed to start focusing on her health. In just nine months Mia lost 70 pounds. Today her blood tests are normal, and she’s in the best shape of her life.

Mia lost weight by joining Weight Watchers and a gym. At first she was inspired by her test results. But today, it’s all about how she feels.

“I have more energy than I have in years,” she said. “I never thought I could feel this good.”

Mia admits that before she lost weight, she had a hard time getting off the couch after work. And as someone who struggled with her weight for years, it can still be easy to slip back into old patterns.

“I always remind myself that I can do it.”

Mia’s friends and family motivate her and give her support when she needs it. They tell her how great she looks physically, and Mia credits her new lifestyle with positive emotional changes, too.

Mia believes anyone can live a healthier life.

“We are all in control of our choices,” she said. “And we all deserve to choose better health!”

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