September 13, 2023

Aches and pains slow us all down, but don't necessarily indicate serious health concerns. This was the case for Virginia, a patient of the Washington University Living Well Center at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital. She shares her experience of seeking wellness, not for illness. 

Model of Care Focused on Wellness

Virginia heard about the Living Well Center's approach to wellness through lifestyle medicine and the connection really clicked for her. "We don't go to the doctor until there's something really wrong," she explained. But she was attracted to the model of care that focuses on improving health and wellness without major health concerns. Her philosophy was clear: why wait until things get bad? Instead, she took a proactive approach to her well-being. Living Well Center director Devyani Hunt, MD, shares, "Virginia was a great candidate for the Living Well Center with the primary goal of aging well, and secondary goals of losing weight, improving function, and exercising without knee and back pain."

At the Living Well Center, care plans are customized to honor patient's current health status and also help them reach their goals. For Virginia, that meant therapy and stress reduction exercises, nutrition counseling, and movement programs to soothe her aches and pains. Through the program, she learned how to implement healthier habits in her everyday life and saw the positive benefits of stress management, a better diet, and exercise. 

Achieving Lasting Success

Virginia's commitment to her well-being extended beyond the sessions at the Living Well Center. She made changes to her daily life, especially in her diet. She embraced whole foods, steering away from processed items. Instead of giving up foods she loved, she found ways to make healthier versions, like preparing her own mashed potatoes.

In addition to dietary changes, Virginia reintroduced yoga into her fitness routine and even started running. She also adopted the habit of getting up every hour while working from home to incorporate more movement into her day. These small but impactful changes transformed her way of life and contributed to her overall improvement. "The program is so customizable and they educate you and give you the resources to sustain success," Virginia explained.  

"You Don't Have to be Sick" 

Her journey at the Living Well Center is a testament to the power of investing in your own health. She encourages others not to be afraid to seek help and emphasizes it's not just for those who are already sick, but for anyone wanting to improve their quality of life, "This is for healthy people, too!"

Virginia reminds us that success in wellness is addicting. When you start feeling better, it becomes a motivating force to continue making positive changes in your life. She encourages people to take control of their health and realize they don't have to be sick to get better; even a few joint aches and pains can be improved. Through the Living Well Center's variety of services, there's a journey to better health for everyone!

Learn more about the Washington University Living Well Center or call (314) 514-3500.

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