Participant Spotlight: Suzie
Omada enrolls thousands of people every month, and each of those enrollees represent a relatable, interesting, and sometimes heartbreaking story. Every Sunday with new enrollees means we are now responsible for shepherding even more people (and their families) through a life-changing journey at a critical juncture for their health.
The stories behind those 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.
Nestled in between the mountains and beaches of Southern California lies the town of San Bernardino. Working as the Director and Archivist at CSU-SB, 63-year old Suzie has lived in the area for most of her life. For much of that time, she’s also been cycling through diets in attempts to control her weight -- at least she was, until she found Omada.
Suzie’s introduction to the program came in an email she received from her insurer, Kaiser. “I wanted to try it out,” she said. “I had weight to lose and knowledge to gain.”
It didn’t take Suze long to learn the ropes of the program. She completed lessons quickly, weighed in regularly, tracked food and activity as much as possible, and interacted with her group on a daily basis. She built friendships with those in her Foundations group, and became a mentor to other members of the team. Her updates went beyond detailing her own weight loss and other successes; she’s shared stories about her four grown daughters and romantic adventures with her “sweetheart” (husband) of 42 years.
Like anyone trying to build healthy habits, Suzie has faced some hurdles along her path. “The most challenging parts, I think, were the changes I needed to make in order to create a sustainable lifestyle over time,” she said. “Some of those changes were easier than others. Examples include finding new ways to cook and serve meals with far fewer carbs, planning lunches that I could pack to eat at work, figuring out what foods I needed to limit because I had little self-control when I ate them. It wasn’t really hard, but it did take some time and thought.”
She had to rethink and adjust the way she exercised as well. “About three months after I started Omada, I developed some circulatory issues which had developed due to both weight and a sedentary lifestyle,” she said. “My MD told me I needed to start walking to improve circulation. This just happened to coincide with Omada’s suggestions to find an exercise program that fit my lifestyle. Perfect timing Omada! The MD suggested I work up to a daily seven miles to prevent the circulation issues, so I started to move more. At first, I could walk maybe half a mile without resting, but with time I got up to five, and then eventually seven.”
Suzie fully utilized all the tools available in the Omada program to get the most out of her experience. “The scale was key,” she said. “Encouraging us to weigh in each day made me accountable. That was a constant reminder of each day’s choices. But the lessons played an important role too. The weekly information was well thought-out and was supported by lots of other information found online and in the press.”
Over time, Suzie noticed a multitude of improvements. “Just about every aspect of my life is different,” she said. “I can easily ride a bike. I can walk for longer periods of time. I fit into airplane seats more comfortably. Usually, I am not the largest person in the room any longer, and many of my health issues are under much better control.”
As the people around Suzie have watched her evolution, they’ve asked for advice on what they can do for their health, too. “Most people want some magic pill to swallow or some secret reason that I have lost so much weight,” she said. “In reality, it’s the small but frequent adjustments to diet and lifestyle that are the magic. Omada has honestly been one of the best things I have done for myself. Perhaps it just landed at the right moment in my life, but the combination of accountability, tracking, having an expert coach to ask questions, and then all the lessons and resources, are great. The group also played a role because they were reminders that we weren’t alone. I could shoot a question off to my coach, or ask other people in the group when I got stuck. But I love that Omada let each of us figure out what works for us best. That freedom, mixed with the constant resources and information, allowed me to create a sustainable diet that I can live with the rest of my life.”
It was Suzie’s gratitude, joy and exuberance that made her stand out and make us so excited to tell her story. She’s done a tremendous job for herself, her Omada group, and the people she loves. We wish her many happy, healthy years with her sweetheart, and thank her for sharing her journey.