A Wonderful Present: Better Health.

Amy Hansen’s Best Holiday Gift

Amy Hansen gave herself just about the best holiday gift possible. Once you know about it, you may want the same thing for yourself.

Actually, it’s not strictly accurate to have it appear that it was Hansen alone who gave herself the present. Her company, Data Services, Inc. was so much help in making the gift possible that they deserve credit as well.

Amy Hansen’s present to herself is better health. She’s lost thirty pounds, she has more energy than she ever imagined possible, and her optimism level is skyrocketing.


The Healthy U’s Challenge

Hansen’s journey towards improved health began two years ago when her company’s top management decided to take up Healthy U’s challenge. The challenge was for organizations to help their members become healthier.

Joe Ollinger and his partner, Jerry Messer, were serious about wanting better health for everyone at Data Services. The two men reasoned that if there were less absenteeism, and if people were healthier and more energetic, then everyone would win. They appointed Hansen to head a Wellness Committee.

It was a good choice because Hansen herself was committed to the idea. For one thing, she wanted to lose some weight herself. And for another, as a computer programmer, she has an unusually logical mind and is positively gifted at seeing “how to get from here to there.”

She started out with the premise that if she and her committee really wanted success, they should make the plan as simple as possible. It couldn’t be cumbersome, like counting calories, and it shouldn’t be full of “you can’t do this and you can’t do that,” or no one would stick with it.

Taking away the Excuses

Instead she and her committee began looking for ways to “take away the excuses” for not being healthy. Data Services helped with an unusual breakthrough. Ollinger and Messer decided that having a healthy and productive workplace was such a priority that they gave each employee 30 minutes a day of compensated time to exercise.

Now when Hansen hears the excuse, “I don’t have the time to exercise,” she can answer, “Yes you do, you have 30 minutes a day during working hours.”

Or if someone says, “It’s inconvenient,” she can answer, “Wait! It’s totally convenient! The gym and walking area are right here, on-site.”

If someone uses the excuse, “Exercising is expensive.” Hansen can answer, “No, here it’s free!”

The on-site gym, by the way, is stocked with exercise equipment that people brought from their homes. Hansen pointed out to all the Data Services personnel that they’d be more likely to use their equipment if they could be doing it with their friends. Soon Data Services had a fully equipped gym.

Hansen and her colleagues also helped remove the excuse of not having healthy snacks available. Data Services employees find such things as unbuttered popcorn, fruit, vegetable sticks and granola bars at work.

Some people weren’t drinking as much water as they should because of the old excuse, “I don’t like the taste of tap water.” Hansen removed that excuse too. A company now delivers bottled water, which everyone enjoys.

People who wanted to lose weight have been losing weight. Hansen’s exercise partner, Diane Wittington, for instance, lost 99 pounds so far.

For Data Services, it’s been a pay-off deal. Absenteeism declined by one-third, and having an energetic, motivated workforce has been valuable enough so that they plan to continue the program in future years.

Amy Hansen’s Wish List

That everyone would see what good things can come from taking even small steps to a healthier you.

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