Base employee takes on health challenge

health base challenge

From right: Maril Hanna, Alana Toffey, LCdr Judith Harlock, Lisa Berting, and Brian Hayward – all members of a lunch time walking club about to embark on a stroll around the base.

Lisa Berting will spend the next 12 weeks changing an unhealthy regime she’s been living for over four years.

Berting, the Safety and Environment Officer for CFB Esquimalt’s Base Administration section was selected as one of seven participants for the Victoria Times Colonist’s 2015 Health Challenge.

After filling out an application and writing an essay about her life, she was picked from a barrage of entries.

Now she is on her way to a complete health transformation with the support of experts in the fields of nutrition, fitness, and mental well-being.

“I’m diabetic, and have high blood pressure and high cholesterol,” says Berting.

“It’s been out of control for a long time. I’ve ended up taking insulin, and am on several different prescription medications right now.”

Berting says her motivation to apply for the challenge stemmed from living with the increasingly compromised immune system of an obese person.

After having to take close to three months off of work last year, she decided that something had to change.

“I had a friend say to me: if you don’t get your health together, you aren’t going to be around. That was a big motivating factor for me.”

The challenge is a short-term program that influences participants to make long-term lifestyle changes.

Although weight loss is emphasized, the challenge addresses all the basic cornerstones of good health.

Berting is exercising with personal trainer Jonathan Carpenter at the Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre.

Following Carpenter’s baseline fitness assessment, Berting now works out six times a week, from an hour to two hours a day.

“When I first started, I had never been to the centre. It was intimidating. I had no idea what I was capable of, and I had never worked with a personal trainer before.”

Although she admits the new fitness regime is a dramatic change from a relatively inactive lifestyle, she says she’s never felt more energized.

“I really enjoy working with my trainer because he believes in educating me about fitness,” she says.

“By teaching me the why and how, I know I’ll be more engaged to continue doing healthy activities.”

In addition to her new fitness regime, Berting is working with Registered Holistic Nutritionist Jackie Connelly from the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE), who is leading group information sessions, teaching the participants about proper nutrition, healthy snacking and how to fuel for a workout.

Her mental health will be supported by Christie Gialloreto, a Mental Training Consultant and certified counsellor at PISE. Gialloreto specializes in mentally preparing athletes for competitions, and helping her clients overcome emotional roadblocks that can hinder physical fitness.

Apart from the support of the challenge’s experts, Berting has found that her co-workers have become some of her biggest cheerleaders.

Once she began changing her lifestyle, many of her co-workers were inspired to do the same.

Together they have starting a lunch time walking club, and spend time exchanging ideas about weekly meal planning.

Berting says she’s already starting to feel the effects of her lifestyle change.

Her blood sugar levels have reversed from diabetic to normal, and her blood pressure has dropped significantly.

She’s now hoping to cut back on 90 percent of the medications she is taking. She says the lifestyle changes made so far are sustainable, as long as she keeps putting her health first.

“I’m taking ownership of my time to prioritize my health, and the guilt I feel for doing that is my greatest challenge – but it’s what I have to do.”

Rachel Lallouz
Staff Writer

Filed Under: Top Stories


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  1. Judy Kerr says:

    Congratulations. Way to go! Good luck to all.

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