If you ask IU School of Medicine Executive Assistant to the Chairman Bernetta Hartman about her family, she is sure to light up.

So, it's no surprise that Bernetta’s healthy change was motivated by family.

There was no way I was going to miss that experience with my daughter. I knew I needed to lose weight.

In March 2014, her daughter was invited to attend a prestigious dance convention in New York City. They were excited to visit Times Square and Central Park together, but Bernetta feared her health would hold them back.

“I was overweight. My feet hurt. I worried about having enough energy and strength to walk around the city all day,” Bernetta says. “But there was no way I was going to miss that experience with my daughter. I knew I needed to lose weight.”

Finding her way

Bernetta knew that if she wanted to make a real change, she had to start small. A quote she read online became her mantra: “Small daily improvements are the key to staggering, long-term results.”

For the first few months of her journey, Bernetta worked to integrate more physical activity into her daily routine. Healthy IU’s Feel-Good Workstation Movements became one of her favorite ways to stretch and move every day without even leaving her desk.

Small daily improvements are the key to staggering, long-term results.

Her next small, daily improvement came with a big reward. Giving up diet soda resulted in a 12-pound weight loss. With that boost of confidence, Bernetta was ready to try other ways to improve her health, including the use of essential oils to help promote mental and emotional well-being.

In the beginning of fall semester, Bernetta enrolled in Healthy IU’s research-backed Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). “That was a game changer,” she says.

In the 16-week program, she learned how to overcome her old habits to create new, healthier ones. For example, instead of drinking a tall glass of sweet tea in the afternoon, Bernetta goes on a quick walk to reenergize. “I feel more productive at work,” she says.

It’s not about a weight loss goal anymore. It’s about how I feel. And I feel so much better.

Next step: run a 5k

2015 has been filled with milestones—including the trip to New York with her daughter—that promise more growth and proud moments in Bernetta’s journey ahead.

Once a person who rarely exercised, Bernetta has become a regular in Chair Yoga class. “My doctor is blown away by my flexibility and range of motion,” she confides.

I will continue this journey to a healthier me.

Now she has the confidence to do things she never thought possible, including run a 5k race.

She used to say “I will never be a runner,” but with the support of a “Couch to 5K” plan, Bernetta is ready to overcome her doubts and prove how far she’s come. She's proud to say, "I will continue this journey to a healthier me."