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In it for the Long Haul

Jean_Treadwell_2.jpgLeslie (Jean) Treadwell’s story is pretty typical for many of us. Jean was so busy doing what she had to do, that she didn’t recognize when she’d developed a few bad habits until her body started to show signs of wear and tear. When Jean joined Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center three years ago as CNA unit secretary, she signed up for the Northern Light Health Employee Health Plan. She’d seen emails from time to time about free Beacon Health Wellness Programs available through employees’ benefit packages. Until recently, she hadn’t given those programs much thought.

Jean is 59, works fulltime, and is a hunter, farmer, camper, and Nascar fan. Most of these things she enjoys doing with her grandson. It was when she felt too out of shape to do the things she loves that Jean decided to reach out to a Beacon Health wellness coordinator for help.

“My first goal was to decrease my diabetes medication and ease some of my chronic pain,” she recalls. Jean and Dani Reardon, wellness coordinator at Beacon Health, meet once or twice a month usually during Jean’s lunch break in the hospital cafeteria.

Together, they came up with a plan and easy steps to make changes that could last a lifetime. The first item on that plan was to get a membership to the employee gym at the medical center. Doing so would allow Jean to stay active during the winter. Secondly, Jean cut back on soda and is drinking more water. Third on the list was to eat more balanced meals comprised of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean meats.

Ten months into her coaching, Jean is now eating breakfast, a tuna sandwich and water for lunch—rather than strawberry shortcake and soda—and sitting down for a sensible dinner at home. Jean says, “If it weren’t for Dani and this program, I wouldn’t have had the guidance and support to make these little changes that have added up to a big impact.”

Jean’s A1C is down to 6.4 and her new goal is to get off her medication. She’s no longer out of breath after climbing the stairs at work and she has the energy to enjoy more time with her grandkids.

“Jean’s story is inspiring to me because she is slowly making changes and turning them into habits. Her goal is for her lifetime—no crazy diet fads or extreme physical activity changes. We can all learn a thing or two from Jean’s approach,” Dani says with a smile.

If you’re an Employee Health Plan member and want more information about the programs available to you, check out our page for more information at