Ignacio Alvarez, senior academic advisor signed up to work with a UI Wellness health coach in November 2016.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

By: liveWELL  |  2017.05.10  |  09:45 am

During his first visit, Ignacio wrote down the following three statements when asked to describe a vision of his “best self”:

  • Being able to help any and all students
  • Not being out of breath when arriving at the top of two flights of stairs
  • Cooking healthy meals at home

His reasons for wanting to make some changes were also inspirational.

“I read an article that said if the father is obese, then his children will most likely be obese,” Alvarez says. “I want my daughter to be healthy, so that means that I must lead by example.”

Over the course of his work with his health coach, Alvarez remained committed to some very straightforward habits that he was determined to master. Week over week and session over session, his plan was to focus on the following practices:

  • Getting to bed no later than 10:30 p.m.
  • Cooking at home four or more times per week
  • Running four or more times per week

While these short-term goals stayed the same, his confidence level increased—as did his motivation to continue.

“My visits with my health coach were about accountability,” Alvarez says. “Every visit helped me revisit my original goals. It allowed me to view my three goals as still being present and revived my motivation to follow through. It allowed me to rededicate my efforts by restarting fresh.”

So, how is Alvarez doing now that he’s mastered a few habits for improving his overall wellness?

“I feel healthier and younger,” he says. “I have more energy or, as some say, ‘more pep in my step,’ and my mood is better.”

Alvarez offers advice to fellow University of Iowa employees who might be on the fence about whether or not to work with a health coach. 

“Give them a chance and you will not be disappointed,” he says. Every Rocky needs a Mickey in their corner, and Mickey is waiting for you at UI Wellness.”