Maureen "Moe" Fox: Root for Yourself!
Despite teaching Jazzercise twice a week, Maureen Fox, a nurse and improvement advisor, realized she needed to do more to be healthy
Maureen “Moe” Fox, RN, is a member of the UBT Resource Team in the Northwest region, helping teams with process improvement, and also teaches regional LMP classes. She credits her exercise routine with giving her the energy to keep up with her busy life as a working woman, wife and mother of three boys. She was interviewed by LMP communications consultant Jennifer Gladwell.
Q. Moe, you have a ton of energy. Where does that come from?
A. Like most working moms, my life is busy. I try to eat foods that will fuel me, drink lots of water and exercise. I’m a Jazzercise instructor two days a week, and the other days I run. Exercise helps me keep up my energy level as well as maintain strength and balance. I think I’d be less optimistic and more stressed out if it weren’t for my daily exercise routine.
Q. I notice you have a lot of ribbons and medals—what are those from?
A. I always wanted to run but thought my size would be a problem. As I began my weight-loss journey a few years ago, I added running as an extra way to burn calories. A new friend and fellow novice runner convinced me to sign up for my first 5K (3.1 miles). Finishing that race was such a huge accomplishment. It took months to train for and required a lot, both physically and mentally. I was hooked. Since then, I’ve done multiple 5K to 15K races, 16 half-marathons (13.1 miles) and finished my first marathon (26.2 miles) on Dec. 31, 2012. The problem with running is that it’s addictive!
Q. What started you on your wellness journey?
A. I’ve been active my whole life, lettering in high school sports and playing on teams as an adult. I’ve also been “bigger” my whole life. I started doing Jazzercise in 1999 and became an instructor seven years ago. Despite my best efforts, it seemed that the weight I gained with my last son was not going to budge. I had actually come to accept it—the whole “as long as I can buy cute clothes, I’ll be fine” thing.
About five years ago, I found that I couldn’t keep up with the students in my Jazzercise class. I would get to the most intense part of the workout and feel like I was dying. I knew something had to change. I made a plan and set a date to start. I started counting calories and recording everything I ate with an online journal. I also took the total health assessment and that prompted me to get my labs done, which is how I found out about my elevated cholesterol level.
We are at an advantage at Kaiser Permanente because the labor unions and the health plan are willing to put their money where their mouth is—pun intended. I joined a Mix It Up team in the spring, and the weekly emails are full of helpful and positive tips. If the total health assessment and accompanying healthy living programs can help an employee get interested in getting healthy, it’s a step in the right direction.
Q. What was it like to lead the flash mob at the 2012 Union Delegate Conference in Hollywood?
A. Oh my goodness, that was the best thing ever! I was so in my element. I love dancing and I love getting other people to dance. It was a bit of a game changer for me, because up to that point, I hadn’t ever thought of myself as a leader for physical fitness and healthy living. I had people coming up to me by the end of the conference who were vowing to make life changes. I spoke with some of them at this year’s conference and some have stayed true.
Q. What advice would you give someone who is trying to get healthy?
A. Get help and support. If you have a friend who understands and your family’s on board, it really helps, even if they aren’t changing anything. Make a (food) plan. Know what you’ll do for weekends, family events, parties and nights out. If you bite it, write it—all of it—even on a bad day. Also, I have to have something sweet every day—just a little something sweet. Know when you’ll exercise and what you’ll do and for how long. It’s important to move every day, even if only for a few minutes. You need to have an exercise plan that is realistic and fun. If you love to dance, dance. If you love to ride a bike, ride a bike. Cheat a little. I don’t count calories on the weekends or for special occasion meals. Reward yourself for reaching milestones. Lastly, find ways to de-stress and be kind to yourself. You’re not ready for the journey if you’re going to punish yourself through it. It’s hard enough on its own. Don’t make it harder by not rooting for your own team.