Participant Spotlight: Lynda
Every month, Omada enrolls thousands of participants. Each of these enrollees represent a relatable, interesting, and sometimes heartbreaking story. Every Sunday with new enrollees means we’re shepherding even more people through a life-changing journey at a critical juncture of their health.
The stories behind these numbers are the most important part of the work we do. So, this year, we’ll be featuring at least one participant story every month. The hope is that bringing successful participant journeys to the forefront will inspire others, either to join Omada, or push through their struggles in the program.
This month, we’re highlighting Lynda from San Jose, CA. Lynda began her journey with Omada in October 2017. To call Lynda’s story inspiring is just the start. Thanks to support from Omada, Lynda transformed aspects of her life over the course of the last year and a half. But the path getting there wasn’t always an easy one -- Lynda’s journey with food was turbulent from the very beginning.
“Growing up with society’s expectations, the standard for how I should look was very restrictive. I never knew what was normal and what wasn’t. As a teen, I felt as though my weight determined my value as a person -- and that had a monumental impact on my relationship with my body.”
Lynda’s life was dedicated to her children, even more so after the birth of her daughter who has special needs. Focusing on her health was not a priority. “Prior to starting the program, my health meant nothing to me. I was going through a lot personally. I went through a divorce and was also working towards a special education teaching credential. Every day I was in survival mode. Nothing about my life was focused on my health. I felt like I had totally disconnected myself from my body.”
After years of struggling to make her health a priority, Lynda had no intention of changing her habits. She had tried various diets throughout her life, but even positive initial results proved unsustainable. As soon as she lost 30 pounds, she immediately put the weight back on. She had developed a negative connotation to the word ‘diet’ -- and there was no part of her that wanted to be on one. She was tired of living with a deprivation mentality.
According to Lynda, if it weren’t for the email that she received from her health plan, Kaiser highlighting the Omada program in a way that felt relatable and engaging, she would have continued eating poorly and not caring for herself. When asked what made her move forward with the program, Lynda explained, “I didn’t feel like I was starting a diet. After reading the email, it was clear to me that this wasn’t a diet, but a journey to developing small sustainable changes.”
Lynda developed a strong relationship with her coach soon after beginning the program. She credits much of her success to tracking her food on a daily basis and working with her coach to understand her tendency around using use food to soothe emotions. “My coach made me so much more conscious about how I was feeling, how I was eating, and the choices I was making in my life -- it went way beyond my health -- I was able to recognize who I was again, and what I valued.”
Throughout the program, Lynda worked with her coach to cut out salt and sugar -- and in time, she realized that things started to taste better. When asked if she felt initial resistance to the program, Lynda explained that she was determined to go all in. “My philosophy was: if I can get rid of the desire for sugar, then I’m golden. I decided not to focus on finding substitutes to sugar, and instead integrate in new foods that would fulfill me.”
Overtime, Lynda developed a sustainable exercise routine. Finding the gym difficult to frequent, she started taking walks on the beach and hiking in nature. Eventually, her exercise routine became something that she looked forward to. Not only was she losing weight, but her mental health improved as well. “By connecting with nature, I felt calmer, more at peace, and felt like I reclaimed my old self.”
When asked what her main motivation was, Lynda responded: “What motivated me was the sheer will to break a pattern than had been affecting me my entire life. Omada helped me rewire my brain by making small sustainable changes along the way.”
Nowadays, Lynda knows that she can enjoy her slice of birthday cake without the guilt. She continues to weigh-in, and credits her success to developing a deeper emotional awareness of self-sabotaging beliefs and patterns. When her friends joke with her about taking part in another diet, Lynda tells them: “Omada isn’t a diet - it’s an entire lifestyle change.”
“Omada for me was a journey of rediscovery. I feel completely confident that I can maintain it -- it’s so much more than about weight loss. Omada changed my entire life.”
Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Lynda!