Okemia Porch Eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly can save not only your health, but your life. It’s a lesson Okemia Porch learned after being diagnosed with pre-diabetes during an annual health assessment provided by Carolinas HealthCare System HEALTHWORKS through her employer, Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates (CEENTA).

They discovered that Okemia’s body mass index and A1C levels were too high. If left untreated, the pre-diabetes could become full-blown diabetes. Deciding to take action, she met with HEALTHWORKS health coaches Candice Perinne and Karen Pentek, who helped her set weight and nutrition goals.

Coaching Helps Set Goals, Provides Motivation

“I enjoy my meetings with my health coaches. They assist me in setting my fitness goals and provide me with the encouragement and support that I need to be successful," Okemia says.

Okemia started exercising and altered her diet to include healthier foods. "Changing my diet and exercising has changed my health significantly,” she says. “I have found new recipes that are healthier and easy to make.”

Because she’s so busy, Okemia has to get creative with scheduling exercise into her daily routine, which she does three to four days a week. Sometimes that includes getting up at 5:30 a.m. to walk or attending fitness classes after work. While it isn’t easy, Okemia says she’s more alert throughout the day. With two children at home – including a toddler – spending quality time with them is important, and now she has more energy to do so.

Finding Success

Okemia has since lost 18 pounds. “This is the most success I have ever had with exercise and diet. I am feeling and looking better already,” she says. "I am thankful for the HEALTHWORKS program. I enjoy that I have a live person to communicate with, receive great nutrition tips, and have ongoing encouragement and support. Karen and Candice are awesome.”

Okemia focuses on significant health changes and preventive efforts that lead to positive, life-sustaining habits. She goes to work refreshed and continues to drive her health in a positive direction. The best part? Okemia’s spouse and children have adopted these healthier lifestyle choices too, creating a change throughout the whole family.