Health Hero: Yoli Jaramillo

Yoli JaramilloFor Yoli Jaramillo, knowledge is power. What she learned from her wellness assessment empowered her to get active, eat healthy and lose 45 lbs! A special event this summer will highlight just how far she’s come…

In August Yoli will put on a wedding dress and walk down the aisle. She is thrilled to look her best, but more important than the size she will wear is the long life she can look forward to with her soon-to-be spouse. Two years ago, before starting work at King County and enrolling in Healthy Incentives, life was very different.

In 2008 Yoli moved with her young son to Seattle so they could be closer to her sister. When her sister moved soon thereafter, Yoli was in unfamiliar place without a strong community. “Not knowing anyone left me feeling alone and depressed,” she said. At King County, she found supportive colleagues and a program that would empower her to make profound changes to her health.

Taking the wellness assessment as a new county employee was a wakeup call. “My awareness wasn’t there. Healthy Incentives started me going to the doctor and our great benefits made it possible for me to get the tests and screenings I needed. I realized my health was not where I wanted it to be.”

Yoli started slow. First she started “putzing around” on the exercise machines in the Chinook Building activity center. “I didn’t really know how to use the exercise equipment so I watched the other people there. They were really friendly and helped me learn.” After a while, she joined other county employees in a noontime cardio and strength training class twice a week. With the weight beginning to come off and her energy improving, Yoli’s motivation increased. And her success began motivating her colleagues in Community Corrections. Some began accompanying her to the gym and participating in running events with her after hours.

A healthy body has also spilled over to a healthier life for Yoli. Being healthy “creates clarity in the way you think so you are stronger and make more determined decisions.” She feels her health improvements have made her sharper on the job. “I multi-task all day and need to keep important court documents straight. I need to be in a solid state of mind and exercise does that for me.”

“My son is super happy,” said Yoli. “He was afraid I would fall sick and was praying I would be healthier. We are now more active together and he doesn’t worry anymore.”

Yoli’s advice to others is keep it simple, start slow and use the resources Healthy Incentives makes available to you.

Update: Now married, Yoli changed her last name to Gerasimov.

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