Peggy’s Story: Operation Change, South Side, Chicago.

Operation Change is a community intervention designed to address chronic health conditions and to mitigate some of the related social determinants of health, for women in mid-life and later-life. A fundamental part of the program is to help participants find their own sources of motivation for creating a healthier lifestyle. Peggy shares her personal experience of participating in the program with our podcast host Dr. Rose Gonzalez. Peggy and Rose explore some of the reasons why some people find themselves shut out of the health system, and how a little knowledge and motivation goes a long way towards navigating those barriers and opening new doors. Peggy believes that understanding how the system works is vital to getting access, and that removing the stigma and shame associated with mental illness can be facilitated through group support. She and Dr. Gonzalez share many inspirational insights during this very engaging discussion.

Episode Transcription

Podcast Episode 75
Peggy’s Story: Operation Change, South Side, Chicago, a healing journey.

Operation Change is a community intervention designed to address chronic health conditions and to mitigate some of the related social determinants of health, for women in mid-life and later-life. A fundamental part of the program is to help participants find their own sources of motivation for creating a healthier lifestyle. Peggy shares her personal experience of participating in the program with our podcast host Dr. Rose Gonzalez. Peggy and Rose explore some of the reasons why some people find themselves shut out of the health system, and how a little knowledge and motivation goes a long way towards navigating those barriers and opening new doors. Peggy believes that understanding how the system works is vital to getting access, and that removing the stigma and shame associated with mental illness can be facilitated through group support. She and Dr. Gonzalez share many inspirational insights during this very engaging discussion.

A views and opinions are the participants own.

Dr. Gonzalez: Hello, and welcome to this edition of the Health Disparities Podcast. I’m Dr. Rose Gonzales, a nurse member of the executive steering committee of the Movement is Life Caucus and your host. Movement is Life is a multidisciplinary coalition seeking to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in muscle and joint health by promoting physical mobility to improve the quality of life. Today, I’m joined by a participant of our Operation Change program, which was held in Chicago on the South Side of Chicago. For those of you who may not be familiar with this program, Operation Change is a community based behavioral change program targeted at women who are African American, Hispanic/Latina, or live-in rural communities who may be obese and experiencing joint pain due to limited mobility or experience other comorbid conditions. The Operation Change program includes structured physical activity, and it’s focused on awareness and education to motivate sustained behavior change. Today, I’m joined by Peggy. So, welcome Peggy. So, good to be visiting with you today.

Peggy: Thank you. I’m glad to be here.

Dr. Gonzalez: I know, you did the Operation Change, in Chicago on the South Side. So, before we go into the program itself, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Peggy: Well, I guess I’m your average, middle-aged African American female. Started off life as a cute size 6 and over the years, that changed for me like it does a lot of people.

Dr. Gonzalez: Yeah. A lot of people.

Peggy: A lot of people and, one day you’re a size 6 and one day you’re a size 12. And you’re like, “What happened here?” So, you really have to go back and look at your lifestyle. And my mother used to tell me all the time she used to say, you know what to do, fresh fruits, whole grains, lean meats, and vegetables. She says, everybody knows what to do, but the thing is we do them for a week and then we’re back at the Chicken Shack or we’re back at McDonald’s or just doing the things we know that we’re not supposed to do. So, it really is a struggle hitting your stride with doing the right things and doing them consistently. So, that’s where I found myself struggling for that answer.

Dr. Gonzalez: Your mother sounds like such a bright woman. And, in many ways reminds me of my mother who always professed the same things. And as a role model, she lived to be a hundred.

Peggy: Wow.

Dr. Gonzalez: So, very healthy and very lucid. So, I was grateful for that, but yes, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, watch those treats. So, tell me a little bit about, the program and why it appealed to you

Peggy: Actually, a family friend of mine invited me to the town hall. I had never heard of the program, but once I went to the town hall, I was really, really fascinated by what they were trying to do. And I thought the information that they gave was really eye opening. I really wasn’t aware of the health disparities in the African American community. I really was not. And to have some people who, this is what they do for a living and they know what they’re talking about, and they have data behind them to explain to you what is happening systemically it’s eye opening and it’s a kick in the pants. It really is because by not doing the things that you know you’re supposed to do, and just not being aware of what is happening to you, you’re going with the flow, you’re going with the flow and it’s to your detriment. So, the program first and foremost has just been eye opening to me. It really has.

Dr. Gonzalez: So, let’s talk just a little bit about that moment at that town hall. When in that town hall. Because I know we talked about a lot of things in that town hall. We talked about the disparities about hospitals shutting down, in the areas about the lack of access to healthcare.

Peggy: Exactly.

Dr. Gonzalez: We talked about joint pain and arthritis.

Peggy: Exactly.

Dr. Gonzalez: When was the tipping point in that town hall?

Peggy: I can’t honestly say that there was one thing, but there were so many things that were said that resonated with me. The cherry picking, the patients for one, I’d never heard that term. And that is exactly what is happening. The safety-net, hospitals. The way that Medicare and Medicaid and the way that doctors are, for lack of a better word, encouraged to treat their patients a certain way and how it’s all bottom line driven. And the end goal does not seem to be the care of the patient. It’s, all about the dollars. And when you get this help from the government and when you go to these places, you assume, okay, I’m under a system that really cares about me and that’s not necessarily the truth. The onus is upon each and every individual to take care of and to look out for themselves. But that is difficult to do when you don’t understand the environment that you’re operating in. And unfortunately, that information, isn’t something that is readily available to people. There’s only a handful of people and pockets of people who really understand what’s going on and it’s difficult to find these people. Personally, I feel really fortunate and blessed to have found this organization because the information is there and they’re giving it to you.

Dr. Gonzalez: Exactly. And I think, certainly that’s been our goal to increase awareness around these issues. And I just want to just mention briefly on that cherry picking and cherry picking and lemon dropping is when institutions set certain criteria for patient care. And if you fall outside of that criteria, you become a lemon and the lemon is that you are so much of an expense that they are not likely to provide care. If you are a cherry means you have great insurance, you’re probably going to have great outcomes, so less risk. And, those are the patients that institutions really try to either perform surgeries on or care for because their outcomes are good. They will then retain most of the dollars. So, from a bottom line, expenses against, the costs, they will reap the benefit of the expenses. They will be recouped and earn, so their net gross income will go up. Meanwhile, if you’re in one of those safety-net hospitals, where their patients are sicker and don’t have the kind of insurance, they’re not going to make the money because they’re spending the money on the care. And so, you see that movement towards, those safety-net hospitals being unable to continue to provide services and shut down. So, there’s that cherry picking and lemon dropping. So, what you’re saying is that information helped you understand, “Hey, I don’t want to be the lemon that’s dropped. I don’t want to be that lemon. I know I’ve got to take care of myself and become that cherry just in case, just in case I need care. I want to be able to have access to that care should I need it.”

Peggy: Exactly. And the ironic thing is it’s the lack of resources and the lack of information that drive that phenomenon of the cherry of the lemon. If that information was readily available. If healthcare was an umbrella for the people in the United States, its goal was to, let’s keep all of our people healthy that would not exist and that would impact their bottom line.

Dr. Gonzalez: Right, right.

Peggy: Because most people would not become that uber expensive person.

Dr. Gonzalez: Right. They do the right thing. They, understand it better. And the country would understand it better and in areas and help people move in that direction.

Peggy: Yes, yes. And that isn’t even about the haves or the have nots, but to keep your people as a whole healthy, benefits everybody.

Dr. Gonzalez: So, let’s get back to that Operation Change program and I want to ask you, have you ever participated in a program like Operation Change before?

Peggy: My sister and I participated in something that you had to pay for. It was years ago and I don’t recall the name of it. It was a program I went to at Northwestern and it was very much like Operation Change. It was a good program, and they did offer information and resources and different things to help you on your journey to health.

Dr. Gonzalez: Okay.

Peggy: But again, it was almost a cherry-picking thing. We were fortunate that we had the money to pay for it, but the people who really need it often don’t have the money, for that sort of thing. And that’s the difference with Operation Change. We want to help the people who need the help and I really respect them for that.

Dr. Gonzalez: And I think I want to just, highlight, one thing you said is you had to pay for that program.

Peggy: Yes.

Dr. Gonzalez: And Operation Change is really free to the participants. It’s really, sponsored, by Movement is Life and Zimmer Biomet, but we don’t want to increase barriers to the program. So, we make it available to all who come. So, that is a difference. When you were in that other program, how did it go? What was the end result of that participation in that program that you paid for?

Peggy: My sister actually lost, I think about 20 or 30 pounds, she did better than I did. And we were given information to take with us and then there were the resources, but like a lot of things after a while, it just leaves you. And I will tell you, one of the biggest differences I noticed between that program and Operation Change is after your six-month period was over and the program was over, they were done with you pretty much. Whereas, Operation Change, there seems to be almost an ongoing commitment. A lot of times there are relationships formed within that program and those women keep in touch with one another and they encourage one another, and they reach out to one another and the Operation Change staff is still there. It’s like, “Hey, we’re not just going to do this for you. And then move on. We’re here going forward.” And that is a notable difference and I think it means a lot.

Dr. Gonzalez: I’m glad. And you’re exactly right. The participants become committed to each other.

Peggy: Yes.

Dr. Gonzalez: So, I think that’s an interesting point to highlight. So, the difference is, you felt more connected. Talk to me a little bit about the changes you may have made in your life due to your participation in Operation Change.

Peggy: The biggest change I think, is an awareness. You don’t go from, okay, I’m a size six tomorrow and I wake up and I’m size 12, what happened? You have an awareness, even when you’re not doing what you supposed to be doing, you know it, and you feel bad about it. And believe it or not, that goes a long way to making you a better you. And, like I said, I keep hearing that thing Movement is Life in my head. So, I make it a point to get up and go for a walk, especially working from home. It’s easy to sit on the couch with a laptop in front of the TV. And I know a lot of people are gaining what they call the COVID 10, the COVID 15.

Dr. Gonzalez: Yeah. It was like the freshman 15.

Peggy: Exactly.

Dr. Gonzalez: Freshman 15.

Peggy: Exactly. I’ve actually lost weight since I’ve been home. You know, you’re not going to the Starbucks every day and you’re not getting the muffin with the coffee and I’m eating at home. I’m eating what I know I should be eating because I only have those foods that are good for me in my house. During my lunch hour, I get up, I go for a walk. So, not having all of that temptation around me and having more control over my time, it’s really been good for me. It has. And it’s those Operation Change lessons that have stayed with me and are driving this behavior.

Dr. Gonzalez: That’s amazing. That is amazing. So, the increased awareness through the program has almost translated to behavior change. And even though we’re in this really kind of stressful unreal situation here with COVID-19, you’ve been able to maintain that awareness and those changes and it’s benefited you.

Peggy: And there’s also a level of anxiety that’s going on with folks with everything that’s happening now. I just feel like I can eat my way through this, or I can go and take a walk, which is what I’ve opted to do.

Dr. Gonzalez: And that mental awareness and the ability to see that and say that. Because I hear you, I do that too. And you don’t bring that crazy food in, if you don’t have it, you won’t eat it. And in this time where we kind of lose control of everything and we’re anxious, we can control those things around us to make us healthier.

Peggy: Exactly. Absolutely.

Dr. Gonzalez: Excellent. Excellent. Well, let’s talk a little bit about the program. So, we know each session starts with a speaker and they focus on some aspect of health. Was there any one speaker or a topic which was a little more impactful or that really resonated with you a little bit more than the others?

Peggy: I think the discussions that resonated the most with me was how the system works. You have people coming in and you’re talking about exercises, which is awesome. You have people come in and talk about nutrition, which is awesome, but these are messages we get often when we do these things, but for somebody to sit you down and explain to you how the system really works and how it’s almost rigged against you, that is new for me. Where do you go to hear this sort of thing.? So, I would say it’s those messages that really made me sit up and say, okay, what is going on here?

Dr. Gonzalez: Well, one of the things that we heard from many of the participants of Operation Change, as we’ve done these podcasts was, we have segments, different segments of Operation Change, different topics that we focused on. So, we do mental health, social support, nutrition, activity. It sounds like that access to health, which talks about the healthcare system, talks about providers, talks about how you access has really resonated with you. But a lot of our participants also felt that in some ways that mental health segment and we spend about three or four weeks on mental health-giving people skills and tools to deal with stress and anxiety, and even make them aware of what they might be experiencing, that that has helped them get through COVID. So, it’s interesting that, you feel like now you’ve been armed because you have knowledge and knowledge is power. And that’s brought about by the speakers that we have and the topics that they cover. So, that’s great to hear.

Peggy: The mental health stuff I found was very powerful. Absolutely. And I recall one thing, one of the speakers said, and I’ve repeated this to people, because I’ve never heard anyone say this before. She said that depression, I believe she said it was depression is calibrated for white people. I’ve never heard anybody say that, but I know there has always been this thing in the black community about we don’t need therapists and white women are weak. And depression and stressors are universal. And at the same time, they’re unique. What is a stressor for one person is a motivator for another.

Dr. Gonzalez: Yes.
Peggy: What makes one person curl up in a ball and cry makes another person angry and start moving. So, it’s the individual and we need to recognize that even though the stressors may be different, even though the response may be different, we’re all subject to those mental health issues, and we all need to address them, and we all need assistance, and we need personalized assistance. Assistance that is what is happening with our community, which impacts who we are as individuals. So that I found was really, really powerful. And I know there’ve been a lot of situations that I personally know of with friends and relatives, where they were really under the gun about something, but they just did not see it as, I need to talk to somebody about this. They would just, struggle through it or maybe have a beer.

Dr. Gonzalez: Or a glass of wine.

Peggy: Or a glass of wine. Yes.

Dr. Gonzalez: Or say, I just have to put on a good face and move forward. I can’t let anybody know. And they really need somebody to talk to and help them through it. And no shame in that.

Peggy: No shame. And to carry those things like that has a cumulative effect because if you did not get any assistance or didn’t really properly deal with one issue, the next issue will be that much harder for you because you’re still carrying your baggage from the last issue. So, mental health is something I think really needs to be talked about in the black community. It really does. And, that stigma of shame that needs to go away because that’s not good.

Dr. Gonzalez: It’s not good at all. So, now we’ve done, the first segment is always the speaker. The second hour was movement. So, tell me a little bit about the movement and exercise segment of the program. How was that and how did it feel?

Peggy: That was actually fun. I like that. I liked the Zumba.

Dr. Gonzalez: You liked the Zumba. That’s the sound, baby.

Peggy: Yes. The music was great. And what I really liked about the movement section is they always recognize that people were at different levels. So, some people were actually doing the movement from chairs and other people were standing up and doing the movement. It was all about do what you can do, but push yourself, just be sure you’re doing what you can do.

Dr. Gonzalez: Right.

Peggy: So, that was enjoyable. And there was also, which almost goes back to that mental health thing, we had some yoga and some meditation and some deep breathing sessions, which I thought were just remarkable. That stuff is real. It works. It really does, especially the deep breathing. I love that. So, that is stuff I still do today.

Dr. Gonzalez: We underestimate how important that deep breathing is and how it can change how our body reacts to stressors and how it could get back into balance just with some deep breaths. To me, it’s something so simple like that. So, it’s just simple. It’s just thinking about it.

Peggy: Simple. You don’t have to buy the equipment you can use it all the time.

Dr. Gonzalez: Yes. And you could do it different ways and at different times, and it really does impact your entire system. I think we underestimate the power of the breath.

Peggy: Absolutely. Yes.

Dr. Gonzalez: And its healing properties. So, you liked the Zumba and the yoga, and you picked up some good techniques and you’ve kept doing some of those things.

Peggy: Yes.

Dr. Gonzalez: So, that’s good. That’s really good. And so, then we go into the third segment, which is motivational interviewing. It’s a group meeting at the end. So, it’s kind of like, you hear a talk, you do a little workout, you do a little movement, then you get a little recharge and then you go into groups and groups were identified at the beginning, randomly, and each had a leader. And then, they meet for about an hour to discuss various topics. So, talk to me about your work in the group or the team and what color team were you on?

Peggy: I was on the Blue Team.

Dr. Gonzalez: Oh, the blue team. Okay.

Peggy: So, what we would do is go into the groups and I think we did this for about the last 30 minutes, if I’m not mistaken. And then, we would talk about what we learned that day, how we felt about it, how we might apply that. And there were also forms provided for feedback of the speaker and the topic. And there was, I want to call it like a running log, and they were weekly based. So, every week in this group, you would set a goal for yourself for the next week. And then that next week, when you sit down, you would talk about how you did against that goal.

Dr. Gonzalez: Okay.

Peggy: And you would actually write this down on the form. And if you had any issues that you wanted to share with the group, you could talk about that and people would offer advice and then you’d set a goal for the next week.
So, I thought that was very impactful because it not only kept you on course of what you said you were going to do for yourself. It made you set a goal, so that you don’t become stagnant. Okay, you did this now, what are you going to do? So, it’s a constant movement forward, the journey of health. You, have to keep moving, you don’t come to a place and then you’re done. It’s not a race, it’s a journey as they say.

Dr. Gonzalez: I like that a constant movement forward towards the journey of health. I like that. I like that very much. And, that’s true. And I think what you say is nobody’s imposing these goals on you, right?

Peggy: No. This is self-directed and the other people are there for support and guidance if needed.

Dr. Gonzalez: And then you’re sort of in this group held accountable. Because you share your goal, right?

Peggy: Exactly. You can, that’s optional you can absolutely share your goal. Yes.

Dr. Gonzalez: Okay. So, you can share your goal with others and then, they can provide you feedback or, say, “What happened?” If you didn’t meet. Right?

Peggy: Yeah. And its little things when people ask for help. I recall one person saying that she was struggling with being on time for stuff. She was always late. And believe it or not, that can impact your health because that’s a stressor. You’re always like, “Oh, man I got to go. I got to go.” And that’s not good. So, somebody said to her, “In this day and age, everybody has a phone with a clock on it. You hardly ever see people with watches. Put a clock in your house, on the wall.” And she’s like, “Hey, I never thought about that.” It really does make a difference with respect to time when you have a clock on the wall, in your house, as opposed to going into your pocket or going into your purse to pull out a phone because in this day and age of technology, we don’t know what time it is unless we look at our phones. So, it was something simple like that, that she never thought about that until somebody in the group said, “Hey, why don’t you do this?” And that helped her.

Dr. Gonzalez: Simple things. And like you said, these are simple things. And sometimes we take the littlest things for granted.

Peggy: Yes.

Dr. Gonzalez: But they can make a big difference in somebody’s life. Was there a moment when you said, “Oh, I think this program is helping me?”

Peggy: You know what, I liked it from the very beginning. I honestly did. I liked it from the very beginning. As a matter of fact, I liked it so much that the second year I went back, I brought both my sisters. I did, I brought both. So, all three of us were going and they liked it and they found it very helpful. So, for me, it was a great program from day one.

Dr. Gonzalez: Did you ever feel like you were wasting your time at the program?

Peggy: No, because Saturday is my day. So, if I wasn’t doing that, I would be sitting at home watching TV or in a store spending money I really don’t need to spend. And you’re sitting there, but what you’re doing is for you. So, how could that be a waste of your time? That’s how I look at it. That’s, your time. It’s for you. And it’s going to have a lasting impact as opposed to a pair of pants you buy that you probably can’t fit the next year because you’re not watching what you eat.

Dr. Gonzalez: Exactly. Don’t I know that one.

Peggy: Yes.

Dr. Gonzalez: We stress a lot during this program that women, really need to take time out for themselves and not feel guilty about it. So, is that a message that maybe you heard also in the program that reinforced your Saturdays to yourself?

Peggy: No. That is a message that I heard a lot in the program. A lot of women struggle with that. And I’ll tell you, I personally have never had that issue because the way we were raised, we were never given those traditional gender roles. You’re the man, you’re the female. You feel this way. You feel that way. My mother used to always say, every man is responsible for himself. And I believe that. So, in my role as a mother or wife or aunt or whatever it is, I may be none of that matters if I’m not grounded. And my mother gave me the analogy of a tree. Everybody is a tree and everything about you, your son, your daughter, your cousin, your niece, your mother, your father, those are branches on the tree. And no one branch can be bigger than the tree. So, you have to take care of yourself. And even if a tree loses all of its branches, that tree is still viable. You are still you. So, nothing else about you matters nothing else that you do really matters if you are faltering under the weight of it, you have to take care of yourself, not to the detriment of other people, but to their betterment. If I’m grounded, if I’m solid, I’m the foundation of everything that I’m doing. So, I have got to be rock solid for anything else to be stable. And I’ve always looked at it that way.

Dr. Gonzalez: I almost don’t even know what to say. That analogy. So, beautiful. It’s so impactful, because I could see the trees. I’m surrounded by trees here. And so, I could see the trees. It’s so visual. And I don’t think that women get that. I think we know we’re center, whatever, but it’s like, let the foundation go because you got to pour all this out to other people. I just think that analogy makes so much sense.

Peggy: It does. And women are taught to value themselves based on their value to other people. And that is so backwards because if your only value is what you are giving to someone else, at some point, you cease to exist.

Dr. Gonzalez: Powerful, powerful analogy, Peggy powerful. Oh my gosh. It’s really moved me. So, anyway, I’m trying to get back. It really did move me. Because we try. We try to put forth, but somewhere in our heads, we still have this other message circulating, and playing back and playing back. And that analogy is so clear and to the point.

Peggy: Yes.

Dr. Gonzalez: And, just again, it’s taken me aback. But anyway, moving forward, thank you for sharing that. So, let’s summarize a little bit about, some of your journey. So, it looks like, first of all, you had an amazing, brilliant mother. I want to say kudos to your mom.

Peggy: I did. She absolutely was. She was.

Dr. Gonzalez: Ahead of her time, and really a pioneer, so grateful for your mother and looks like you really adopted a lot of her words of wisdom and probably more than words. It was in her behavior. So, she was a great example for you.

Peggy: She was.

Dr. Gonzalez: Right, a great example, and to your sisters too.

Peggy: Yes.

Dr. Gonzalez: But sometimes on our journey, we go a little stray off the path. And it looks like you tried that program and it helped in some way, but it really didn’t move you. And then this Operation Change program came along, and it touched you in some way. You connected with it and the information you were so hungry for was available and made you feel a little more empowered about the system.

Peggy: Yes.

Dr. Gonzalez: More knowledge and more empowered about the system and ready with skills to take care of yourself and reinvest in yourself, right?

Peggy: Yes, exactly.

Dr. Gonzalez: Reinvest in taking care of Peggy.

Peggy: Yes.

Dr. Gonzalez: And you picked up some skills along the way. You like Zumba.

Peggy: Yes. I like the Zumba.

Dr. Gonzalez: And, you picked up some yoga and some breathing techniques. Learned about depression and mental health, but really learned about the system and how the system is kind of rigged sometimes against us.

Peggy: Yes.

Dr. Gonzalez: And learned how to make goals and you’ve adopted a principle of constantly moving forward towards your journey of health, which is like amazing. It’s amazing. And I think you may have had that, but I think the program may have solidified it.

Peggy: It did. I would agree with that. It did. There was so much about the program that resonated with me and it’s very possible that it just drove home those things that I already knew. And I tell you, I don’t want to be-labor the point, but the fact that this is free, it’s almost mind blowing to me. It really is. That somebody somewhere thought to do this. And then somebody else said, “Okay, I’m going to pay for it.” That’s just awesome.
And, I said this in the group one day that program is saving lives. It really is, it is saving lives. It’s just little things that you can do for people and information that you can give them that can make all the difference in their journey of health. It really can.

Dr. Gonzalez: Were you nervous in the group when they started sharing were you feeling like I’m not sharing anything? Because that’s usually my answer. I want to keep to myself.

Peggy: Not nervous, but I do tend to be guarded.

Dr. Gonzalez: Yes.

Peggy: And, that’s just me. But I did contribute and I surprised myself. I opened up more than I thought I would.

Dr. Gonzalez: Now. What do you think made that happen, Peggy?

Peggy: I think that I’m guarded like a dog is guarded. You know, how a dog kind of surveys the situation before they do anything. And while the dog is not necessarily on the attack mode, he’s prepared to bite you, if he needs to. After I got a feel for what was happening there and the situation and the folks and what was driving it, I felt more comfortable just talking.

Dr. Gonzalez: They made you feel comfortable. Did you feel people were judgmental?

Peggy: No. I did not get that sense. And that really does tend to be a prevalent thing. You have a group of women together, which is unique. I did not get that sense at all. There was no mean girl stuff going on.

Dr. Gonzalez: No nastiness.

Peggy: No.

Dr. Gonzalez: I think that’s good to hear. People are there genuinely to try to move along their journey of health and are open. They become open and honest. Did you feel like once somebody started to be open and honest that you felt more comfortable? You go, “Okay.” And you could relate maybe.

Peggy: It is a group thing, but that portion of it really is driven by the group leader. They have to set that tone to make it welcoming for people to talk and to share and to open up.

Dr. Gonzalez: So, what do you think is next for you?

Peggy: For me on my journey of health?

Dr. Gonzalez: Yes.

Peggy: Well, I have a treadmill. It no longer has clothes on it, so I can really get on it and run now.

Dr. Gonzalez: That’s good. Good.

Peggy: I’m thinking with the winter coming up, I’m going to set small goals for myself. Like maybe start off 15 minutes a day and eventually work my way back up to the 60 minutes a day I was doing to get on my treadmill. Because I’ve gone down a size and so now, I know I can go down another size. That’s my goal.

Dr. Gonzalez: Wow. That’s amazing. And while everybody else is gaining weight during COVID, you’re going down. So, that’s perfect. That’s wonderful. And you feel better, you feel okay?

Peggy: You know what? I was amazed after having been home a few weeks, I put on a pair of pants that I could actually zip. I wasn’t able to zip them previously. I said, “Wow.” And then I thought about how I was just eating at home everyday. I say, it really does make a difference. It does. So, I can do this. Yes. It’s not just about the weight, I’m diabetic, my number is under seven now.

Dr. Gonzalez: Oh good.

Peggy: My doctor is very proud of me. Yeah. So, it’s making a difference. I do feel it. Yes.

Dr. Gonzalez: Wow. So, you’re more conscious of it. You have more control over things and you’re feeling better.

Peggy: Yes.

Dr. Gonzalez: So, that’s good. That’s wonderful to hear, Peggy. That is wonderful to hear. As we close this segment, is there anything else that you’d want to share about Operation Change?

Peggy: What I would say to people, especially the skeptics of which I have been a member, at some point in time, is to give it a shot. I mean, really when it comes to your health, can you really come to a place where you say, “Okay, I’ve tried it. Nothing works for me. I’m done.” You’re done when you say you’re done, it’s all in your mindset. So, give it a shot. It’s not going to cost you any money. And I think three hours once a week. And if you’re not worth three hours once a week, you really need to reassess yourself. So, give it a shot. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Dr. Gonzalez: Well, thank you so much, Peggy, thank you for sharing your journey. And I want to thank our listeners for joining us for this edition of the Health Disparities Podcast. We hope you find this edition, enlightening and inspiring. I was totally moved by that tree analogy. So, I’m keeping that Peggy I’m keeping that baby because, I got a lot of trees that I stare at every day. So, I’m holding on to that and trying to spend more time for myself. So, I thank you so much, Peggy. Thank you for joining me.

Peggy: Thank you for having me.

Dr. Gonzalez: You’ve been a pleasure. So, from all of us at Movement is Life and The Health Disparities Podcast. Please stay safe, stay well and join us again soon. And for more episodes, please visit Adios. Thank you. Ciao-Ciao. ‘Till the next time people. Bye.

(End of recording)

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