Employee Wellness

Antonio Hernandez, Volunteer Response Coordinator in the Bureau of Emergency Preparedness and Response

September 2011

A 5-year Emergency Preparedness employee took the ADHS Wellness Challenges and ran with them!

In September 2010, Antonio Hernandez participated in a Biggest Loser contest and the Fruit and Veggie Challenge with many of his co-workers, in a bid to eat a bit healthier. But Antonio didn't make light of the challenges, instead he took it a little further by researching the top 10 brain foods and some physical activity routines to practice.

Antonio Hernandez

For the last year, Antonio has committed to 20 minutes of yoga a day, hiking and other physical activity, doing more strenuous exercise on the weekends. He also took some time to look at his environment and how it was influencing his eating choices. In order to "stack the deck" in his favor, he changed the way he does his grocery shopping to be more thoughtful and conscious of what he was buying.

"I also created a new organization system in my fridge and shelves to promote health, and designed a new cooking and prep area for meals," Antonio said.

He also invested in items to safely store and transport his 5-small-meals-a-day to work or elsewhere to help him stick to his new habits.

"At the same time I involved family and coworkers, as well as my community in some of my health and wellness activities," he said.

His family is now more active together, including his extended family. At family events they make a habit of including healthy options. His family takes trips to the local farmers' markets and his kids have fun picking out the veggies they want to eat. He has even donated fruits and veggies to his community to share the knowledge of healthy living with those around him.

"I quickly learned the benefits of being more of an active participant in the creation and development of a healthy lifestyle that is customized and works for me," Antonio said.

Antonio has gotten a good rhythm down in preparing food for work and on the go as more fruits and vegetables has opened a wide variety of great foods and satisfying healthy meals to maintain his new lifestyle. Now that Antonio has enjoyed this new lifestyle for more than a year, he is happy with the results, including his new wardrobe. He is continuing with his efforts and hopes to continue increasing his physical strength and running speed. He insists the outward effects do not outweigh the fact that he just feels better. And he wants to share this with everyone around him.

"Be thoughtful, be creative with your meals, and have fun and doing it for a healthy shift, rather than losing weight, - most of all enjoy the challenge," Antonio said.