I Quit Smoking After 36 Years – How I Did It
By Russell Granger, Vendor Support Unit Director, Crothall Healthcare Technology Solutions
According to a study by the American Journal of Medicine, healthcare workers are at a much higher risk of obesity than the majority of occupations. In the survey, the healthcare category ranked fifth out of 20 industries with an obesity rate of 32 percent.
Crothall Healthcare and Compass Group are dedicated to making sure our associates have access to a variety of programs to help them live a happier, healthier life. Whether they are trying to lose weight, quit smoking, or learn healthy habits during a pregnancy, INTERVENT can help our associates reach their goals. Take Russell’s example:
I got started with the INTERVENT health-coaching program in late 2018 through an unexpected phone call. INTERVENT is a program that’s available to Compass Group associates and spouses enrolled in an eligible Compass Group medical plan. The caller said my annual INTERVENT health risk assessment was incomplete. After answering a few questions, I saw a need for the program and agreed to speak with a health coach.
I’m 52 years old and had never spoken to a health coach, so I didn’t know what to expect. My coach, Annelee, asked me about my needs and what I’d like to achieve.
The Key to Stop Smoking
My first goal was to break a 36-year-old bad habit – smoking. I quit once before, but it didn’t stick. Shortly before my first conversation with Annelee, I had met with my doctor. He prescribed a non-nicotine prescription medicine, but Annelee is the one that made the difference.
She told me she wasn’t there to be the person to make me quit. Instead, she was there to provide information that would help change my behavior. Following our conversations, she sent educational kits and emphasized the importance of taking the right attitude. She also assured me that if I could resist the urge to pick up a cigarette, the feeling would pass after a few minutes.
Annelee’s approach struck the perfect tone. She encouraged me, and she wasn’t there to judge me if I picked up a cigarette now and then. This didn’t mean I had failed. There was never any pressure to quit; instead, she always asked how she could help me accomplish my goal.
I made progress pretty quickly. After two months, I stopped using the non-nicotine prescription medicine – I just didn’t need it anymore. And I’ve been tobacco-free for about a year.
So, after 36 years, how was I able to stop? I was motivated to start leading a healthier lifestyle, not only for myself but to serve as a role model for my teenage daughter. Recently divorced after a 13-year marriage, I wanted a new direction for my life. Even though smoking had been a lifelong habit, there’s a point in life where a switch is flipped and changes are made. This was my time.
Next on the List: Eating Right
Going tobacco-free was just the start. I’d stopped exercising, I always felt tired and often had headaches. Looking back, maybe that wasn’t a surprise since I simply wasn’t eating healthy, nutritious food.
My desire to eat healthier coincided with my desire to quit smoking and a change in job roles. I worked for 15 years as a field service engineer and ate most meals at restaurants. Now, as a manager, I don’t travel as much, which changed my level of physical activity each day.
Annelee helped me visualize how to prepare food differently while still enjoying the same foods. I continue to eat my favorite grilled foods, but I’ve made some major changes to my grilling methods. I’m not smothering the food with sauces or oils that have larger amounts of added saturated fats and sugar. I don’t count carbohydrates or calories, but limit salt and sugar while eating more fish, fruits and vegetables.
Fire Up the Body
Yard work was my only exercise until Annelee pointed out the importance of being active.
We all know the first law of motion: an object at rest tends to stay at rest, and an object in motion tends to stay in motion.
Even though I like fishing, hiking, and camping, I would find myself sitting around the campsite instead of fishing or hiking. Therefore, I set goals to become more active. I joined a gym and took a TRX class twice a week in the evenings. TRX training uses bodyweight exercises to develop strength, balance, flexibility and core stability.
It was a great feeling when I started to gain strength and stamina, so I’ve set a goal to run a 5K race. I’ve also decided to renew an activity from my youth – water skiing. I started water skiing when I was nine years old, but I haven’t done it in decades. I’ve decided that I will change that this summer.
I work remotely and I’ve shared my experience about INTERVENT with my three direct reports, letting them know the programs have made a significant difference in my physical health and mental outlook.
For those of us in field service, one of our mottos is, “it’s always a good day to learn.” In effect, that’s the purpose of INTERVENT. The program provides us with knowledgeable coaches with a lot of useful information and it’s all free*. So, why not take advantage of that situation?
Compass One Healthcare has roughly 1,500 associates* who are taking advantage of INTERVENT. To learn more about INTERVENT, or get started today, visit www.myintervent.com/compassgroup or call 866-334-2137.
*Available to Compass Group associates and spouses enrolled in an eligible Compass Group medical plan. Services offered to associates enrolled in a Regional HMO may vary.