October Member Success Story!
Q- Today, we’re speaking with one of HAWA’s members: Heith Barkley. Before we talk about your relationship with HAWA, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself.
A- My name is Heith Barkley and I am a happily married 40-year-old father of 4 children, ranging in age 18 to 3 years of age. I have always enjoyed sports, and have played soccer as an adult, and attempted to work out to stay in shape as an adult, with varying success. I work in the mental health field, where there is typically a lot of stress to manage. I had struggled with motivation and finding adjustments that I could make to my busy life, to make a difference to my overall health. The primary excuse I use is the lack of time to find a new workout routine. A new routine usually meant less sleep for me and less energy to do anything else I needed to do.
Q- Thank you for that background, Heith. When did you begin your HAWA journey?
A- I began my HAWA journey after I attended the HAWA HealthPoint Check-Up at my workplace. They offered a free activity tracker, scale, and free help from specialists to get me on track to reach a health goal for myself. It was exactly one year ago.
Q- It sounds like you were off to a good start. Which HAWA Providers have you worked with?
A- I have worked with a HAWA Nutritionist for nutrition planning and healthy eating. I have also worked closely with a HAWA Fitness Specialist for fitness planning and exercise routines.
Q- Can you tell me, what was your original goal or goals when you began working with HAWA?
A- That’s a good question. The original goal I had was to lose 25 pounds and I wanted to participate in a soccer tournament held every fall.
Q- Those are terrific goals! What was the inspiration for those specific goals?
A- The inspiration for my goals was to see if I could change something in my life that positively affected my health and see if I could perhaps feel healthy enough to play sports again. I love playing soccer and it has since become a very big part of my family when there is an opportunity to play together.
Q- It’s pretty clear you thought carefully about what you were aiming for. Have you faced any challenges on your journey, and if you have, how did you overcome them?
A- Yes, throughout the year, there have been many challenges and opportunities to overcome obstacles. I have had illnesses, surgeries with my kids, started a graduate school program, and bought a house, along with daily struggles of not enough time to fit everything in. HAWA’s Fitness Specialist has been very supportive and the consistent message has been to allow for days missed. Perfection is not the goal, but progress.
Q- I really like that last statement! And have you accomplished your goals?
A- I have lost 20 pounds and participated in the annual soccer tournament, where we won the championship. It was a lot of fun and it was completely exhausting, but I survived and managed to struggle through it alongside other, much younger participants. I feel like that was a HUGE success.
Q- Congratulations! I’d say you’ve been very successful and come very far! I’m curious, have you noticed any other health benefits while you worked towards your goals (increased energy, better sleep, etc)?
A- I have found that this journey has helped my sleep, even though it may be a little less sleep. I feel that the sleep I do get is much more restful, and I wake up more refreshed than before. I am also much more steady throughout the day without the terrible crash of the mid-afternoon. The more I stay active, the better my body feels doing everyday things. No aches or pains when walking or grocery shopping, etc. One additional benefit of this journey has been adding a walk or two at work, during the day. I now have walks when meeting with staff or having supervision with my boss. I have encouraged others to do the same, and it has helped everyone.
Q- Can you describe how your HAWA Providers have helped you work towards your goals?
A- Of course. HAWA’s Fitness Specialist has been great with weekly check-ins and supporting my continued growth. She has provided resources and tools to aid in my journey and helped me to stay motivated when I am working out. HAWA’s Nutritionist has offered great recipes and guidance on foods that would be healthy replacements for those snacks I often eat. I knew at the beginning of this journey, that in order to stay motivated and continuing on the journey, I would need follow up and continued support, which they provided.
Q- That’s great to hear! What do you think is the best piece of advice you have been given through this experience?
A- The best piece of advice that I have been given, is that the journey is not about a final destination, it is about sustained progress. Allow for setbacks and don’t give up if you need to take a week off for other commitments, or are on vacation. Get back to your journey when you get back, and it will even out.
Q- That sounds like wise counsel. Can you share what tools you were provided with?
A- I was provided with workout routines, plans to stay on track for running and how to build up endurance to run a long run, once a week. I was also provided with apps that helped me train, and check ins.
Q- Those sound really specific and focused to support you in reaching your goals. How did your Providers keep you accountable?
A- They kept me accountable by email check ins to let me know they had not forgotten about me and that they cared about my health, without judging. There was never a condescension or tone of disapproval.
Q- Tell me how you have kept yourself motivated.
A- I stayed motivated because it is now part of my routine and it is easier to keep going than to stop and go backwards. I really enjoy sleeping better, and clothes fitting better is a bonus!
Q- Those are excellent motivators! Finally, what recommendations would you give other HAWA members, who are trying to start a new fitness routine?
A- I would recommend that others take the time to talk to the HAWA specialists, and accept their advice. They are only there to help, and if you give it a try they can help you achieve wonderful goals. I would recommend realistic goals to start with, and even though a big goal might be something to shoot for, smaller more measurable goals are the steps to reach it.
Heith, thank you so much for a great interview and for taking the time to speak with me today. I’m sure a lot of people who read this piece will be inspired to begin their own HAWA Journey toward healthy goals!