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Published on February 02, 2022

A Weight Loss Success StoryA Weight Loss Success Story

For Vicki Casto, losing the weight and keeping it off has been a constant struggle throughout her lifetime. Five years ago, she lost 100 pounds and maintained her weight for nearly two years. But after her dad died, she fell back into the same routine: Working long days and picking up fast food on her way home. She soon gained back all of the weight.

After moving from Worcester to West Yarmouth in 2018 to be closer to her son and granddaughter, she started working as a nurse manager at Cape Cod Hospital. Right after COVID hit, she fell, got shingles and was out of work for a bit. A leg injury sidelined her from doing much activity and exercise. Then her daughter and her two teenage grandchildren moved in with her.

“Things at work were stressful, home was stressful,” says Casto, nurse manager for a 30-bed unit of Mugar 4. “Everything was crazy and I said, ‘I have to do something so I don’t focus on all of this chaos.’ That’s when I decided I was going to focus on me and get back to being myself again.”

The Key to Living Well

Last September, Casto discovered Cape Cod Healthcare’s LiveWell Employee Wellness Program through Tufts Health Plan. She signed up for a life coach through the online program and kept track of her daily steps and food intake with a FitBit. The coach checked in with her once a month to discuss her goals for the month and then set new ones. Since signing up, Casto has lost 36 pounds. At the end of last year, she won $250 through the LiveWell program for completing nutrition and activity challenges. She also won an Air Fryer in December.

“The program has been so good,” says Casto, adding she sticks with a high protein/low carb diet. “I didn’t realize when I signed up for this that you could get money and prizes at the end. I signed up because I wanted to get better.”

Casto says she logs in at tuftshealthplan.com/livingwellportal at least once a week to check in on the monthly challenges, webinars, activities and resources to help set and track her goals. She also enjoys watching 10-minute meditation videos on her lunch hour. “I just shut my door and tell myself this is my time,” says Casto. “I feel so good afterward.”

Tips, Tricks and Triggers

In addition to the LiveWell program to help keep her on track, Casto discovered some tips along the way that helped her stay on the right path.

  • Triggers: Most people know their triggers, says Casto. “Coke Classic is a big trigger for me, so I had to find an alternative and I did with Diet Dr. Pepper. I still have the bubbly, but it doesn’t taste like a diet drink. I feel like I can have a soda and not hurt myself.”
  • Snacks: “I keep snacks in my office that are good for me,” says Casto. These include Ideal Protein snacks with no sugar and carbs. Casto enjoys 100-calarie bags of butter popcorn cakes and salted caramel clusters (“They take a long time to eat because they have Rice Krispies inside.”)
  • Candy: Even though Casto has a candy dish for her staff, she doesn’t touch it. “If I decide I want a piece of candy, I take it and then I move on from there, which is better than before because I would have eaten half the dish.”
  • Be Easy on Yourself: “I don’t stress to the point where I don’t allow myself a piece of pie or cake once in a while.”
  • Meal Prep: To help avoid stopping for fast food on the way home, Casto says she makes meals ahead of time on the weekends to make her life easier. “I eat a lot more vegetables than I did before. I cook sweet Italian sausages, meatballs, steak, chicken and vegetables—butternut squash, green beans, broccoli and cabbage. So when I get home, I just pop it in the microwave and eat it.”
  • Exercise and Activities: Casto walks with her grandkids and takes them sightseeing around the Cape for exercise. She also keeps exercise light and fun. She recently bought an eight-disc set that teaches country line dancing, which helps keep her moving.

Casto says the LiveWell program worked so well for her, she has signed up again this year. “I would recommend the LiveWell program to everybody. I think it’s easy to use and it’s beneficial for everyone because it covers a lot of things—it’s not just weight loss. It also helps you to stop smoking and assists with financial advice because financial health boosts your overall health.

“No matter what is going on in your life,” says Casto, “I don’t think there is anyone at Cape Cod Healthcare that couldn’t benefit from the program in some way or another.”

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