January 2019 Healthy Hero

January 2019 Healthy Hero
Posted on 01/18/2019

January 2019 Healthy Hero: Manuela Mathies

Manuela Mathies, a Special Education Teacher at Boeckman Middle School, was chosen as the Farmington Area Public Schools Healthy Hero for January 2019!  Manuela was nominated by her colleague Heather Ballstadt.

For several years Manuela has suffered from health difficulties including diabetes and arthritis pain. She became determined to improve her health and worked hard over the past year to wrangle her diabetes under control. “I began by making changes and deciding that these would have to be lifestyle changes.  I started with drinking 10 glasses of water each day. I also focused on controlling my carbs so that my blood sugars were in an acceptable range. I was happy with the weight loss but even happier when I saw my blood sugars coming in within a healthy range. This summer my A1C number was good enough that my doctor took me off insulin.  I had also been getting shots in my knee because of pain from arthritis but because of the weight loss, I have not needed a shot since [last] January,” said Manuela.

She was inspired to start changing her lifestyle when she was making plans to travel. “I planned a couple of trips that were going to involve a lot of walking and realized how I would be limited on what I would be able to see and do. I felt very limited in what activities I could do with family and friends because I did not have the energy or ability to participate with them in physical activities. I also did not want to pay the high price for insulin anymore,” she said.

Now Manuela walks at least a half mile a day and sometimes as much as five or six miles on the weekend. She comes to school early three days a week to work with weights in the BMS weight room. “I never realized how enjoyable walking could be.  I live in Minneapolis and walk different neighborhoods and am discovering new places all the time,” she shared.

What advice does she have for others who want to make similar changes? “Realize that this needs to be lifestyle changes. I had a checklist of four things I needed to do each day and knowing I did them gave me a sense of accomplishment.”

Congratulation Manuela, and thanks for setting a positive example of wellness in our school community!

Farmington Area Public Schools Healthy Heroes are members of our school community who have made positive changes to enhance wellness in their lives or the lives of others. They are selected from nominations submitted to our Farmington Area Public Schools Wellness Committee. For more information about the wellness committee please click here.
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