Hilda's Get Fit Journey

In June of this year, Kirby employee Hilda Crystal joined Get Fit, an exercise and wellness program run through CrossFit KMC and designed especially for those who have had lengthy absences from exercise or simply want to get in better shape.

Could you share a bit about your health journey?

I have struggled with my weight since I was a child, and moreso as an adult. I am a stress eater, especially comfort or sweet foods.

As an adult, my weight struggle continued, and as I got older, it was harder to lose weight. Ten years ago, I joined a hospital-based weight-loss program using meal replacement shakes and was successful in dropping 86 pounds.

Then after a disagreement with one of the coaches, I quit the program, thinking I could lose the weight on my own. I regained every bit of the 86 pounds plus 20 pounds more over the past 10 years.

Earlier this year, I was not feeling very good about myself and was determined to lose at least 100 pounds without surgical intervention such as LAP-BAND®. When hospital week came along this year, I felt it was an opportunity to regroup and get back to the business of weight loss, but in a healthier way. I spoke to my primary care provider, Jay Lamb, PA-C, and he encouraged me to make lifestyle changes for long-term success, reminding me I didn't get heavy overnight and would not lose weight overnight. He suggested I start by walking daily.

Hospital week was just starting, and Josh Newton was encouraging all hospital employees to join him on a daily walk at lunchtime using Kirby's Wellness Trail. While walking, Josh would engage in conversation with employees about the soon-to-open CrossFit box at Kirby. He invited anyone to email and meet with him privately to ask any questions about CrossFit and explained how everyone could benefit from exercise. I met with Josh in early June at CrossFit KMC with the primary goal of losing weight through participation in their Get Fit Program.

The word "CrossFit" was intimidating. I did not like going to a gym with other people who were already fit, feeling I couldn't keep up. Josh explained how Get Fit would work similar to CrossFit, but at a slower pace. The short session consisted of determining what my specific goals were, how I would obtain my goals, the relevance of my goals and the time frame in which I hoped to achieve them. There was a short physical test to see where I was in my core strength. Before I committed to the program, Josh reminded me that I will only get out of the program what I put into it.

June 14, 2016, was my first Get Fit class. There were approximately 10 people in the first class from various walks of life and a range of ages, weights and health issues. Josh explained to everyone that no one was there to judge anyone's capability, but every day you come to get fit is another day of success toward meeting your personal goals. We started out with simple core exercises and progressed from there. I have been exercising with the Get Fit group every Tuesday and Thursday since. The comradery shows with each class. At the end of the class, everyone gathers in a group with hands extended to the center, and something good is said. If someone misses a class, we tell them at the next class that they were missed and make sure everyone is OK. I never felt that at any previous exercise classes I've attended. Everyone encourages each other in every Get Fit class. Many of us in Get Fit like to walk the Wellness Trail following our Get Fit session as our "cooldown."

As of October 31, 2016, I have successfully lost 30 pounds without surgery. My goal is to be down 60-80 pounds by June 13, 2017. If I accomplish this, great. If not, I will continue to work toward my goals for not only myself, but my family.

What does wellness mean to you?

Increased flexibility and having an increased stamina to do activities with my nine-year-old granddaughter and any future grandchildren I may have. I am learning to make healthier food choices, which will benefit me with gradual and maintainable weight loss.

Have your ideas of health and wellness changed at all?

Definitely, with the encouragement of class participants and coaches (Josh, Casey and Steve), I feel I am getting stronger physically and healthier every day. I love that coworkers are very supportive of my weight loss goals, and several have commented that I look better and seem happier since beginning this journey to wellness.

How has Kirby helped you with your health goals?

During the 13-plus years that I have worked at Kirby, I have seen so many changes that I cannot recall all of them. Kirby's administration is setting the example for workplace wellness like no other. Before CrossFit KMC opened, I had every excuse not to work out: I didn't want to drive anywhere, if I got home I was not going back out to a class, the hours were not good for me, and so on and so forth. By Kirby providing CrossFit on campus, I don't have any excuse not to work out after leaving work. The Wellness Trail is great for me, as I come to work 30 minutes before my shift and walk the mile. It helps wake my body up for the day's activities.

What would you say to others who are interested in getting involved?

You'll never know if you like it unless you try it. We have had a few people start the Get Fit program who chose not to return after a class or two for whatever reason. Some of the Get Fit participants have also moved up to the full CrossFit program and love it. For me, Get Fit is just where I need to be at this time. Who knows, maybe I someday I will progress to CrossFit.

Any other words of wisdom for us?

I am very happy that we now have the opportunity for Saturday morning Get Fit and CrossFit classes. I felt awesome working out Tuesday and Thursday evenings, but didn't always continue that motivation at home on the weekends. Several of the nurses have verbalized they would love to do Get Fit, but the class hours are not always appropriate for those working 12-hour shifts and without a set schedule. Hopefully as Get Fit and CrossFit grow under the direction of Josh, there will be more open times for Get Fit workouts.