By: Katie Watt
Nov. 18, 2013
You look at Shaunda Norman, Total Rewards Manager in Human Resources, and she's the picture of wellness. She ran her first half marathon last month, she's maintaining a healthy weight and BMI, and she keeps her caloric intake in line. But that wasn't always the case.
In March of 2012, Norman was pregnant with her third child when she began experiencing respiratory problems. Five months after her daughter was born, Norman went in for lung surgery on what her doctors initially thought was a carcinoid tumor. Fortunately they found a non-cancerous nodule, and removed it without complication. However, that scare prompted Norman to take inventory of her health.
"I realized, I have three kids and I want to be here for them," says Norman. "If I take care of myself and something else happens to my health, I can at least say I've done all I can."
Norman started her wellness journey with DU's Thrive Across America program in September 2012. "At that point I wasn't concerned about weight loss, it was about getting out and walking," Norman says.
She later joined Healthy Connections, an on-campus weight management group led by registered dietitians. "Healthy Connections was really effective for me. It got me to think about calories; you just don't know what you're consuming until you start tracking." Norman says. She also enjoyed the group aspect of the program, being able to share recipes, advice and encouragement. She lost 18 pounds by the end of the eight-week program.
Norman's husband started paying attention to calories parallel to Healthy Connections. "We were playing Wii Fit at Christmas last year, and my son said – in his innocent, childlike way – 'my daddy's fat!' That really hit home with my husband," says Norman. Over the past year, he lost 25 pounds and Norman lost 50. "It helps to have your wellness goals reinforced at home, and at work," Norman says.
Norman's coworkers in Human Resources keep each other on track, from running together to providing healthy diet support. "One day, I had three slices of pizza and Molly [an HR coworker] yelled at me forever!" Norman says playfully.
Norman has participated in every well@du program; she's now signed up for Maintain Don't Gain. "It's going to be tough, there are cookies everywhere this time of year!" she says. Her team has decided to reward themselves for each week they maintain or lose. "Healthy Connections taught me you don't have to give up foods you enjoy, you just have to be conscious of what and how much you're consuming, and allot for it in your daily caloric intake. You may decide not to eat that cookie after all, but it's your choice."