Featured Health and Wellness Stories!

Jeff Robertson

My story began February 2nd 2013 at 5:30 pm. That was my first Sky-performance class at Skyzone in Cheektowaga. That was also the first day my father was to start his radiation treatment to beat his cancer. He was given a 45 day treatment cycle and 'had' to go every day for treatment. He didn't have a choice, but I did. I chose to be his personal trainer by starting my own life changing cycle, holding each other accountable and motivating each other that we both were going to get stronger and better. 

Every day I would send my father a text to let him know I was going and to wish him good luck and he would reply with "The hardest worker never surrenders. Let's do it." 

Now, I initially weighed in at 215lbs but didn't realize I was at risk. I played sports all my life and still thought of myself as an athlete, but just lost a step and put on a few pounds. My doctor woke me up though when I went for my annual exam. She said either change your lifestyle or start on the medication for high blood pressure. I asked for a little time until I completed my cycle I was doing with my father. 

I started going every day, sometimes two or even three classes a day towards the end-what can I say, the endorphins you get from exercise are addicting. There are some side effects though. I started sleeping better, being more aware and focused at work, better mood, then consciously making better choices for meals. But to be honest it didn't feel like I was making a sacrifice with respect to the food from what I ate before. A couple changes here and there. I cut out my coffee, yes-I cut out my coffee being that it was about 300 calories for a large double double.-yikes!  I replaced it with an all-natural product based on vitamins for my energy source.

 I made it through the 45 days and went back to my doctor without any worries. She was shocked and applauded me. But that wasn't the end for me. I set little goals along the way instead of focusing on one big goal. Once I reached that goal I would reach for another...and another. Next thing I know my goal was to see the 150s. Then a curve ball was thrown at me that I was not ready for. But instead of allowing the negative trial I was facing break me, I used it to add fuel to my fire and persevered. I got outside and started running and riding my bike as therapy instead of 12oz curls at the local bar. I pushed myself through my first triathlon and finished...in 3rd place. 

I lost track of weighing myself and realized I was just living a new lifestyle and then curiosity got the best of me, so I jumped on the scale and realize I got down to 159 lbs...I made it!  

I'm coming up on my 2 year anniversary of my new lifestyle and feeling great. I'm keeping the weight off  and better yet, have inspired others to do the same. I joined a group called RWB Buffalo, a veterans outreach group that enriches the lives of veterans re-entering society post war through sport and exercise. I'm volunteering with this group of about 400 members in WNY of Soldiers and civilians instilling the healthy lifestyle-enriching my own life by doing so. 

"If I were given the chance to wish my life to be perfect, I would have to decline for life would not teach me anything."


This is a recent photo of Jeff- keep up the great work!

Teresa Vincent

Stick To It with Stickers

I have to confess—I hated gym class.  I hated it so much that for years afterward just the idea of exercise gave me that same dread and lack of joy I used to experience every day when it was time to put on my gym shorts and go through the motions of working out.  However, when I was diagnosed with high cholesterol and my weight started creeping up about a decade ago, I knew I had to find a way to change.  I had to make exercise something I looked forward to, not something that felt like a chore.

While I was resistant to "exercise" in the formal sense of jumping on a treadmill or lifting weights, as I thought about it I realized there were lots of activities I enjoyed—dancing, long walks, yoga.  I didn't think of them as exercise, I thought of them as fun.  However, I was only enjoying these activities sporadically, spending too much time curled up with a book or sitting at my computer.  I needed to make being activity a habit—as much a part of my life as brushing my teeth or cooking myself dinner.  I had already been successful in streamlining my diet to eliminate a lot of sugar, salt, and processed foods by replacing unhealthy choices with foods that tasted good and were equally satisfying.  The trick was to make each dietary tweak feel like an improvement and not a punishment.  The only way we can let go of a bad habit is to replace it with a better one.

I decided the best way to make exercise sustainable was to find a way to feel like I got a little reward every time I completed a work out.  Thinking back again to grade school and the simple daily satisfaction of getting a gold star for completing an assignment, I realized I could stick with it with stickers.  I went to an office supply store and picked out motivational stickers.  Every day when I completed at least 30 minutes of dedicated exercise, I put a sticker on my wall calendar.  Not only did this give me a little reward every day for meeting my goal, it gave me a strong visual cue if I missed too many days.  It got to the point where I didn't want to see so many gaps in my calendar.  Every week I would try to do a little bit better than the week before, and I could see my progress over time. 

Fast forward to now, and exercise has become such a deeply ingrained habit, I only miss a workout if there is extreme weather.  I have competed in more 5k races than I can count (always as a walker, not as a runner—because part of sticking with it is doing exercise I enjoy).  I have expanded my activities to include kayaking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and hiking.  Almost every weekend I am out adventuring somewhere in Erie County.  I walk my dog every day, and when I put my sticker on the calendar I know I have done something good for his health, too.  And it all started with just a few stickers to motivate myself.  So get yourself some gold stars and get moving!


This is a recent photo of Teresa enjoying the waterfront!

Joanne Badaszewski

Last April I was working at Nova Healthcare Administrators and attended a lunch and learn session that was being offered as part of our Wellness program.  The session was facilitated by Trevor Buccieri the founder of The Transformation Center By Body and Soul Fitness.   He was at Nova to talk about their workout program which consisted of an exercise protocol and a nutrition plan.  To celebrate the opening his 2nd location he was offering us a 2 week free membership.  The free membership consisted of 6 workout sessions and nutrition consultation.  Trevor really motivated me that day so I decided to give him my email information so that they could contact me regarding the 2 week free offer.  A week later I received an email inviting me to an Orientation.   At the orientation they discussed the nutrition plan and workout schedule.  They also took my weight, height, BMI, etc.  They also gave me instructions on how to login to their web site to register for my 6 free workout sessions. 

That was April 19th...10 months ago!  Since then I have lost 87 pounds and feel great.  I work hard at following my nutrition plan that consists of protein, vegetables and fruit.  No carbs or refined sugar and limited dairy.  I eat 5 times a day and exercise at least an hour 3 days per week and have recently signed up to attend the fitness classes sponsored by our Wellness staff after work.  

My doctors are thrilled with my numbers and what I have accomplished.  In March I will celebrate 3 years being cancer free!  What I have done this past year is certainly going to help me keep my cancer from coming back.   I am not done fighting yet - I am 13 pounds away from my goal to lose 100 pounds by April 11th - my birthday.  There is no reason why I can't or won't accomplish my goal. 

I am extremely grateful to Trevor in speaking to us that day at Nova.  He, his team, and all the new friends that I have met at the center have been nothing but supportive of me.  We inspire each other to continue to fight and not give up!  Nothing will work unless YOU do.  This is the message that I try to carry with me every day.

 Meet Joanne! Congratulations on your amazing results!

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