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Tatia Climbs To The Top

Goal setting plus coaching support

Tatia Tyson set a goal for herself: to become a healthier person. To make it happen, she began to make healthier food choices. She took up cycling. And to stave off winter weight gain when she couldn’t bike, Tatia started indoor stair climbing. She even signed up for the 2012 Chicago Marathon.

Five months before the big race, she got a phone call from the Aetna health and wellness coaching program. “I figured some fitness advice would be great,” Tatia said. She was paired with health coach Erin West. 

Starting with the basics

Their early talks centered on nutrition. And on eating foods that would support her long-range fitness goals.

 “I was bored with the same old salads,” Tatia said. Her coach offered some creative ideas for adding more veggies and whole grains into her diet.

They also talked about marathon training. They discussed wearing the right running shoes and socks. And having family and friends stationed along her route to cheer her on and supply water and food.

Staying focused and fit

Tatia finished 18 of the 26.2 miles in the marathon. She was disappointed — and determined to try again. So Erin helped Tatia develop a training schedule for distance running. They also drew up an eating plan to keep her body fueled for race day.

Tatia and Erin brainstormed ways to keep fitness on the front burner. To get more involved with fitness in the community, Tatia began to volunteer at local cycling and stair-climbing events.

Recent testing had showed room for improvement in Tatia’s cholesterol levels.

“Erin explained about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol. While my overall cholesterol was fine, my good cholesterol was low,” Tatia says. She learned that healthy fats, such as those from olive oil and avocado, could help raise it.

Hard work pays off

Throughout their sessions, Erin helped Tatia learn how to keep a good work-life balance to stay on track. They’ve continued to set small goals to work toward Tatia’s big goal.

The hard work is paying off. Eight months after her attempt at the Chicago Marathon, Tatia ran a full marathon. She continues to distance race.

Stair climbing has become a favorite. She competes in 5 indoor events in the Chicago area. One of them, the Willis Tower Climb, is the tallest stair climb in North America, 103 floors to the top. (The Willis Tower was previously known as the Sears Tower.)

Behind the scenes, Tatia is on the American Lung Association planning committee for local stair-climb events.

She’s met other goals as well. “My good cholesterol went up 23 points,” Tatia said proudly. She also has lost 80 pounds. 

Always moving forward

Tatia’s coach is not surprised with the success. “She brought the right tools to the table: a positive outlook and a desire to challenge herself,” Erin said.

Tatia still sets her bar high. She’s training for a half-distance triathlon. And there’s a full-distance triathlon marked on her calendar as well.

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