“I feel like a completely different person”
For most of Brett Danelski’s adult life, health was an afterthought. At 31-years-old – young by most standards – he rarely saw a doctor and didn’t have a clear picture of his personal health. That changed when he joined Network Health’s Workplace Wellness Program in 2018.
“I didn’t ever think about my health because I felt okay,” Brett said. “But once I got into the program, I discovered there were some things I could improve.”
Earning gift cards is what motivated Brett to get started. After he got going, however, it turned into something more. His first step was taking an online health assessment and completing a few online learning activities. Next, he looked into finding a personal doctor.
“I didn’t have a personal doctor before this program – in fact, I didn’t have one my entire adult life,” he said. “So I spent some time on Ascension Wisconsin’s website, watching physician introductions and looking for someone I felt would be a good fit. When I met my doctor in person, I felt like we already had a connection.”
After a physical exam and biometric and lab assessments, Brett learned he had high cholesterol and, as a result, was at a higher-than-average risk for heart disease.
“My doctor took my high cholesterol seriously and tried to help me understand it,” Brett said. “He said it’s not about me anymore – it’s about my three kids. He told me to think about how I want to be there for them in the future.”
This was the wake-up call Brett needed. One of the first changes he made was getting to the gym on a regular basis. Network Health’s Workplace Wellness Program awards points for visiting the gym eight or more times each month.
“”My doctor said I should focus on cardio exercise so I started using the Stairmaster,” Brett said. “When I first started, I could only make it a few minutes before I was exhausted. But as I started doing it regularly, I got better and my endurance increased. At that point, I also started running.”
Next up were dietary changes. After reading a guide from his doctor about improving cholesterol, Brett did a complete overhaul of his diet. He incorporated more vegetables and replaced red meat with lean chicken breasts and fish.
“Before the Wellness Program, I hardly ate vegetables – but now I eat a significant amount every day,” he says. “I took a close look at my calorie intake and how to eat the right foods and the right amounts.”
Brett noticed improvements to his health right away. He lost weight quickly and noticed his endurance was better. The first time he ran, he could barely make it a quarter mile. Within a few weeks, he could run a mile. Then, the time it took him to run a mile began getting shorter and shorter.
Since starting the Wellness Program, Brett has lost 34 pounds and four inches off his waist measurement. He also lowered his blood pressure to a healthy 110/68. Most significantly, he brought his LDL cholesterol down 45 points, taking him from the highest-risk category to the borderline category. His goal for 2020 is to continue forward and move into the optimal category.
“I feel like a completely different person,” Brett says. “Thanks to Network Health and my PCP, I have control over my health and I can live the quality of life I want.”