Rachel has been a Benefits Specialist at the City since July of 2017. New employees know her from introducing them to their City of Saint Paul benefits.
Rachel has quit smoking at earlier times in her life, but always found herself starting again. This past winter, Rachel’s chronic asthma, combined with the cold winter weather and smoking, made her very sick. She was hospitalized twice for pneumonia in the past 6 months. In her words, “My body was rejecting cigarette smoke. It was breaking down, reacting severely even when I cut back to smoking many fewer cigarettes.”
It got to the point where Rachel was unable to even walk and talk at the same time without running out of breath. She was getting out of breath just going down the hall.
While she had used the patch in past attempts, Rachel quit cold turkey this winter. Her body’s reaction scared her so much that the withdrawals were bearable compared to the fear of another hospitalization.
She also started taking two 15-minute walks per day. It was easier than an entire half hour at once. Those healthy habits led to more – Rachel began a food diary where she journals everything she eats, as well as her weight on a weekly basis. She discovered through her journaling just how much sugar she was eating. “I was eating candy like a little kid. I needed to grow up.”
Rachel also has lupus, which along with asthma is a disease related to inflammation. Reducing sugar has a very beneficial effect by lowering the level of inflammation in the body.
Rachel is feeling so much more energetic. She is excited to see the continuing improvement as she keeps up her new healthy habits.