Saturday, January 31, 2015

Do you have a Lenita?

Yesterday as I walking from my office to the copier, I passed our Activities Coordinator who was handing out plates of crisp nachos with a side yummy cheese sauce to our participants (I work in an Adult Day Center for people with dementia.). 

She held a plate out to me. "Hey Lisa, do you want one?"

I shifted the papers I was carrying and extended my hand, "Sure!"


A stern yet playful voice came from behind me.  I spun around and there stood my co-worker Lenita.  I hadn't noticed that she was in the room. 

"What do you think your doing?"  Her stern yet playful voice asked.

I paused for a moment looking Lenita directly in her eyes.  I turned my head and looked at the plate piled high with delicious crunchy chips and ooey gooey cheese sauce dripping from them.  Slowly, I turned back to Lenita - head tilted, looking at me through her long batting eye lashes and face glowing with one of her encouraging smiles.

Without turning back around I said, "You know what?  I'm going to have to pass, but thanks for the offer!"  Before the words were fully out of my mouth, I threw my arms around Lenita's neck in a hug of gratitude.

You see, Lenita plays an important role in my work day.  She holds me accountable on my healthy living journey, specifically on my work day snacking.  I never specifically asked her to play that role.  We just connected on that topic as both of us strive to make healthy choices and she naturally became my Miss Accountability. 

I'm lucky because she works in our Physical Therapy gym which just happens to be between my Day Center and the Employee Lounge.  So if there is cake in the break room, I have to walk past Lenita to get a piece.  There have been times when I'm headed for the vending machine and Lenita doesn't even see me walking by, but I see her!  Just seeing her is enough to make me turn around and head back to my office and my lunch bag filled with healthy snack options.   

Lenita is playfully stern and honest.  She is never mean or downgrading.  She is encouraging and uplifting.  When I get passed her and she catches me eating a piece cake, she doesn't make me feel bad because there are times that she'll go for the cake, too!  Instead she talks about how we'll do better next time.  And we always do!  I so appreciate the important role that Lenita plays in my life.  She keeps me moving in the right direction. 

Do you have a Lenita?  If not, take a moment to think of the people in your workplace.  Is there someone who shares your interest in making healthy choices?  Is there someone in the lunch room who is munching on fresh veggies and fruit rather than chips and pizza?  Lenita and I never specifically talked about her holding me accountable, but you may need to ask someone to help hold you accountable. 

Another way to find your Lenita is to be a Lenita for someone else.  It is often easy to spot those who are trying to being healthy and struggling a little bit.  For a week they are packing healthy lunches and then the next are back to hitting the drive-thru every day.  They talk about their walks after work and then don't mention exercise at all.  You know who I am talking about!  Comment on their good choices.  Ask them to go for a walk with you over lunch or after work.  You will find yourself being lifted up by your actions of lifting them up.  Pretty soon, they will return the favor.

After I walked away from those chips yesterday, I returned to my office and grabbed an orange from my lunch bag.  I took my time peeling it and popping each juicy sweet piece into my mouth.  It tasted SO good and I felt SO good about the choice I had made to eat it . . . thanks to Lenita!

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