The Real Way to Treat Yourself

by Liz Stovall, Fitness and Wellness Division Manager, Department of Human Resources

We all have times when we fall into a self-neglect rut, but lately it seems almost epidemic. The American Psychological Association reports that more Americans believe the level of stress in their live is increasing, but only a marginal few think they can handle it well. In looking at the relationship between stress and being overweight, professionals have zeroed in on a key hormone called cortisol. You’ve probably heard of it – and that it’s gotten a bit of a bad rap. But in and of itself, cortisol isn’t a bad thing – our bodies use it to maintain blood pressure, and it plays a role in the way we metabolize both fats and carbohydrates for energy.

Part of the problem is that we seem to have forgotten how to pamper ourselves in healthy ways. We now translate “be good to yourself – you deserve it” into splurge on foods that aren’t good for us at all. Often, it’s because food is an easy solution – it’s fast and provides instant gratification. It’s no wonder that researchers have found a persistent connection between poor self-care, low self-esteem, and binge eating.

When you’re neglecting yourself, certain foods (rich ice cream and gooey mac ‘n cheese come to mind) may seem nurturing. But that feeling quickly fades and is replaced with empty feelings like unhappiness and regret. The same can be said for how we view physical activity. Instead of treating yourself to a stress busting workout, or a walk in the great outdoors after a long day, we now plop ourselves down on the couch to watch hours of TV to distract the mind and body. And in the end, we have only gained a very temporary release of tension and stress.

A Secret to Staying Motivated

Making healthy connections can pay off in significant health benefits. People who reach out to others for help are more likely to achieve their goals The Fitness and Wellness Division provides Health Coaching services to assist employees improving their fitness, nutrition, and well-being. Staff health coaches work with groups and one-on-one, virtually, to establish health-related goals and provide resources and creative tips to achieve success. The goal is to equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to begin and maintain a healthy lifestyle-path.

Here is what your co-workers have said about their Health Coaching experiences:

“This group has helped us focus on healthier habits, redefined relationships with food, and set reasonable goals for getting healthy.”

“I learned a lot about eating healthy and fueling your body without dieting.” 

“I enjoyed discussing healthier nutrition habits and choices with other colleagues and our health coach in this work group. We learned useful tips and resources to help us stary mindful of healthy eating.” 

“Working with our coach alongside friends pushes me to stay committed and keep the big health picture in mind. “


“I am a permanent remote worker and needed help in getting started again with my daily work routine. The Stress and Management/Finding Balance 10-week Health Coach session really helped get that process going. It really broke down how a habit works and how that habit was going to benefit me. The individual meeting with the Health Coach, broke down even more how I could improve the habit and the group meetings kept reminding me that it wasn’t just me going through the journey of improving our Mental Health. I really appreciated the Fitness and Wellness group putting these Health sessions together. Definitely going to take advantage of another one.”

The next block of Health Coaching is scheduled to begin the week of January 12th. To learn more about this service, visit the Fitness and Wellness SharePoint site Health Coaching page