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Linda's healthy new life: She read all about it!

Health care success stories told by the people who lived them

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Linda's healthy new life: She read all about it!

Linda Snider

Linda Snider with grandkids

Over the years, Linda Snider tried to shed extra pounds. But, every diet she found online – each "flavor of the month" – ended the same, she says. "I would lose a few and gain a few back."

It was a constant struggle. But, then, just shy of her 60th birthday, Linda – a UnitedHealthcare member from Ohio – began a life-changing journey to greater health and happiness.

And, she says she did it with the tips and inspiration she found in UnitedHealthcare's e-newsletter, Healthy Mind Healthy Body.®

A reader becomes a doer

In January 2012, one of Linda's co-workers mentioned a weight-loss contest that was being developed for their workplace. Linda thought maybe this was it – she'd be both inspired and accountable. She signed up.

When the competition kicked off, Linda began watching what she ate and exercising regularly.* "I had to start gently," she says. "So, I started walking." She lost some weight that first week. "I felt so good. I thought, 'Maybe I can do this!'"

At the same time, Linda began putting many of the lifestyle tips she read in Healthy Mind Healthy Body into action. Each month, she discovered new and practical ideas she could work into her busy days.

She appreciated that the articles weren't extreme or negative – they were about feeling better and living a healthier life, she says. And, the advice felt personal, like it was written just for her. "It became a part of me," Linda says.

For example, Healthy Mind Healthy Body gave her tips on everyday ways to move more. So, during trips to the store, Linda started parking farther from the door. And, she tossed her sneakers in her bag – and took up walking during her breaks at work.

At her grandson's soccer practices, she used to read a book in the car. Her new habit: She walks around the high school track while she waits. "One lap is a quarter mile," Linda says. "By the end of his soccer season, I was doing four miles an evening."

And, she remembered reading this tip: Celebrate your fitness and weight successes with non-food rewards. So now, she treats herself to a manicure or a pretty new blouse whenever she wants to congratulate herself.

Healthy inside and out

Linda Snider

Linda Snider

After six months, Linda had shed more than 50 pounds and several dress sizes – and won that workplace weight-loss contest! "I lost from my feet to my fingers," she says. Friends and loved ones – including her husband of 42 years – admired her slimmer figure.

She's even bought a gaming system so she can enjoy fun video workouts with her grandkids. And, her transformation hasn't been lost on them, either. "They say to me, 'Look, I can reach clear around you now!'" she says. "And, they'll wrap their arms around me. That's pretty cool."

Linda says she's just as happy about the changes that happened on the inside. She has more energy and self-confidence – and she loves the feeling she gets from exercising.

And, she's done it all with her doctor's guidance and support. In fact, in her healthy new state, she got the OK to go off a number of her medications, including cholesterol medicine.

"It was such a sense of accomplishment – that I could do this," Linda says. "I'm loving myself – and the way I look and the way I feel. Life is good. That's my mantra."

Inspiring others – and looking forward

Now Linda – who enjoys reading other people's success stories – hopes to be an inspiration to others, no matter their age. "Don't be afraid to give it a try," she says. "You just don't know what you are capable of until you do it."

In fact, during her journey, Linda's 60th birthday rolled around. She knows that milestone might bother some people. But, she saw it this way: "I said, 'If this is what 60 feels like, bring it on.'"

And, Linda knows she has a lot to look forward to. She doesn't expect to be a great-grandmother any time soon. But, she's taking care of herself and counting on being there. "I'm going to be well and healthy for my great-grandbabies, too!"

*Talk with your doctor before significantly increasing your activity level.

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