“I am so appreciative of Vera. Somehow or another, Shannon put everything together for me. I don’t think I’d be here, where I am. I might have been better, but I’m telling you, I’m good. I’m really, really good.”
—  Rosemary, patient at Vera’s Flagstaff clinic

Eight months before Rosemary entered a Vera on-site clinic, her only goal for the day was to get out of bed and put on a piece of jewelry that made her feel good. The retired Arizona teacher suffered from a variety of chronic illnesses, including fibromyalgia and arthritis, and she needed to lose weight, but hated exercising and dieting. Then she met Shannon, a Vera health coach.

Rosemary had worked with nutritionists and other wellness coaches before, but this time was different. “She was so nice, I didn’t want to hurt her feelings,” remembers Rosemary. But Shannon wasn’t just nice, she also listened to Rosemary like no one had before. When Rosemary expressed her distaste for exercise and losing weight, Shannon told her they’d just start with drinking a bit more water. When Rosemary accomplished that, they added on eating more fruits and vegetables. Next was walking, but just a mile and only a few times a week.

Small goals made the act of getting healthier more palatable for Rosemary, but it was her relationship with Shannon that made accomplishing those goals possible. “It’s the accountability I think. It’s knowing someone else cares. We set these little goals and then I know my health coach is going to ask about them,” says Rosemary.

Rosemary had signed up for a standard package of six sessions with Shannon, spaced out over a few months. Each appointment lasted at least 30 minutes, allowing them plenty of time to talk through her goals and barriers to better health. But it also allowed them to form a meaningful relationship. Eventually, Rosemary shared that she wanted to write about her experience as a victim of child abuse, something she had struggled with for decades.

“I told my story. Because I told my story, something left my body and I no longer have that traumatic feeling. I’ve moved on to other things,” notes Rosemary. The experience became the catalyst for positive changes throughout her life. She began walking more, and now averages three miles a day. She lost weight. She developed better eating habits. And when her six sessions with Shannon ended, she signed up for more.”

Personally, I was thinking there isn’t anything in my life that I can change. But you always can change.”

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