Sarah Thomas
Sara Thomas, assistant director of integrated studies at Purdue University Fort Wayne, used the Pivio Program – The Total Health Improvement Program to help prioritize healthy eating and exercise. (Photo provided)

After six years of working in sedentary office positions at Purdue Fort Wayne, Sara Thomas knew she had to start making her health a priority. As a busy single mom, Thomas struggled to find time to make healthier food choices and exercise frequently until she received an email about Pivio – The Complete Health Improvement Program.

Formerly called CHIP, Pivio is a 12-week program that focuses on the health of the whole person by integrating the tools and principles of nutrition, exercise and behavioral psychology. Facilitated in a virtual environment with dynamic group discussions and peer support, the program is designed to help participants make lifestyle changes through education, hands-on experience and empowerment. Pivio supports all five pillars – physical health, behavioral health, social well-being, financial well-being and work-life integration – of the Healthy Boiler Program.

“I had a lot of bad habits and I needed something to help get me back on track,” says Thomas, assistant director of integrated studies at PFW. “I didn’t want to be out of energy and not be able to play with my son, so I knew I had to lose weight and increase my energy levels.”

Health risk assessments are provided at the beginning and end of the program to measure and track individuals’ A1c levels, lipid profiles and more. Assessments help reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.

Pivio participants are also given a recipe book, a comprehensive toolkit, and reading materials that provide information about food preparation and exercise. Thomas used these resources to gradually adapt to lifestyle changes and began buying fresh fruits and vegetables at the grocery store, cooking her favorite recipes and reminding herself to get up and move every day. .

It didn’t take her long to notice how the program was affecting her body.

“It takes a while for your taste buds to adjust to eating more of those whole foods like whole grains and vegetables while eliminating sauces and salt, but I think pretty early on I started to see the weight come off,” says Thomas. “I felt my energy level go up almost immediately just by making better food choices and moving around. By the end of the program, I was down 22 pounds.”

Although she has little free time in her day-to-day life, Thomas says adding the program to her busy schedule wasn’t as overwhelming as she had expected.

“It can seem like a daunting task to find time to take care of yourself when you’re a single mom and you’re working 50 hours a week and then you go home and take care of everything else,” I think about being in the program. it made it a lot easier to focus my mind on those things,” says Thomas.

It’s been more than a year since she enrolled in the program, but Thomas continues to use the knowledge she’s gained during each session. She says the experience has helped her develop a mindset that allows her to pursue a healthy lifestyle even after completing the program.

“If I make a misstep or choose to eat something I know I probably shouldn’t, I always make sure I don’t say, ‘Oh, I can’t do that – I failed,’ but take it easy.” have some grace for myself and make a better choice next time,” says Thomas. “It doesn’t feel as overwhelming as other programs can.”

How you can participate

Led by Purdue Fort Wayne health coach Lindsay Bloom, the next Pivio program will take place via Zoom from noon to 1pm EST September 27th through December 13th. Participants will meet twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the first six weeks of the program and once a week on Tuesdays for the following six weeks.

Individuals must register for the program by August 24 through the Healthy Boiler Portal. The registration link can be found under the “Healthy Boiler Workshops” section on the main page of the portal. Hover over the Pivio Health square and click Submit to register.

More details about Pivio can be found on the website of the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine. Questions about the program can be directed to the Center for Healthy Living at 765-494-0111.

More options for healthy boiler

Healthy Boiler workshops and lifestyle programs are free to all benefit-eligible faculty and staff and dependents covered in a Purdue health plan.

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