They say triumph is born out of tragedy. For Linda Grachanin, add in some fortunate timing from a corporate weight loss program and support from beloved colleagues, and you have a successful recipe for a health transformation.
Grachanin is the patient service representative team leader at Akron Children’s Boardman Medical Pavilion. She and 6 other women in her department joined a pilot weight loss challenge program the hospital organized in April.
The timing of the challenge couldn’t have been better for Grachanin. After losing her mother 2 years earlier, she found herself living alone and falling into a funk with her own personal health, but looking for a way to climb out of it.
She’d made a conscious decision to make significant lifestyle changes with diet and exercise, and the hospital’s weight loss challenge was the perfect catalyst for that effort.
“I credit the challenge with giving me a jump start to getting on the right track,” she said. “It’s wonderful that the hospital does this. It gets you to look at yourself and assess where you are with your health.”
Grachinin lost 20 lbs. during the 6-week challenge, and has dropped 45 more since it ended. She said she plans on losing 30-40 more, and she feels like a new person.
While Grachanin’s team won the challenge, she says the real reward is in how she bonded with her colleagues and others on a similar journey, and how she even discovered a new athletic endeavor – spinning.
“I’ve never been an athletic person my entire life, but I can now see myself getting into cycling in the near future,” she said. “You’re talking about a person who had difficulty climbing a set of stairs without huffing and puffing. This has opened a new window of opportunity for me, and I’ve met a lot of nice people along the way.”