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Profile of Hope: Lorraine Bailey -- That's what friends are for

It wasn't always easy. Lorraine explains how having the support of Project HEAL group leaders and group members kept her going when the going got tough...

Lorraine Bailey works for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in East Harlem as a Public Health Assistant. Her family history of diabetes motivated her to take steps to become healthier. When she learned about project HEAL (Healthy Eating, Active Lifestyles) from co-workers, she decided it was time to get on track to a more healthy way of life.

Q: What was the best part about being in HEAL?

A: The HEAL workshops were very informative, offered support and a good atmosphere. The instructors always encouraged me not to give up. I told them my goals were to give up ice cream and walk more. While on the program, I sometimes got frustrated and did not want to continue, but they encouraged me to get back on track. I would think about getting on the elevator instead of taking the stairs, and that was okay because the instructors supported the group members in making changes one step at a time.

Q: How did the HEAL workshops help you?

A: I found a lot of support there. Even though I went to the HEAL workshops with my co-workers, and I knew the people in the group, I got a chance to learn more about them and what they want to do or are doing to lose weight. This makes you realize, "If they can do it, so can I."

Q: Have you noticed any changes in your health or in the way you look after doing the HEAL program?

A: Even though I didn't really see my weight drop based on the numbers on the scale, I could tell I lost weight because I dropped at least two dress sizes. My knees used to bother me, but now since I lost weight, they feel better and it is easier for me to walk. My cholesterol is also lower.

About Project HEAL

Project HEAL (Healthy Eating, Active Lifestyles) is a 10 week workshop program that teaches participants about ways to get healthy by eating right and exercising. The program was developed to help Harlem residents lose weight in a comfortable environment where group leaders also try to lose weight. Project HEAL is sponsored by Harlem-based community organizations such as Mount Sinai School of Medicine, North General Hospital and the East Harlem Diabetes Center of Excellence.

Read more from Lorraine Bailey by clicking the links below:

Profiles of Hope are health testimonials with Northern Manhattan community members written by HHPC and reviewed by our Health Advisory Board.
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