In 2016, Albert “AJ” Barger, receptionist, Norton Occupational Medicine-New Albany, saw his world begin to turn upside down. His wife Sarah lost both her grandparents and his uncle passed away as well. Two years later, AJ’s father died in a canoeing accident. Even as the Barger family welcomed twin sons in 2019, tragedy was not far behind. After being born at only 26 weeks with a rare health condition, one of the boys, Coan Isaiah, didn’t make it. His brother, Layton Neal, would need an extended stay in the Norton Children’s Hospital NICU.
After facing so much grief and loss in such a short period of time, AJ and Sarah slipped into a state of depression. “The three months we stayed with Layton at the NICU were some of the scariest days of our lives. We constantly watched numbers on the machines our son was hooked up to,” AJ recalls. “With all of this happening, we definitely put our own health aside and did whatever we could to find some kind of happiness. In this case we turned to food.”
The Bargers were overjoyed to take Layton home from the NICU, but before long, the couple realized that they needed to start paying more attention to their health. In addition to managing their weight, the couple was determined to improve biometrics such as their blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure. As their son prepared to take his first steps, AJ and Sarah were preparing to take strides of their own, respectively beginning intermittent fasting and Weight Watchers.
In addition to these efforts, the couple also found support from our N Good Health employee wellness program. They enrolled in online wellness workshops geared towards laying the foundation for healthy lifestyle changes. Working out at Planet Fitness soon became part of their routine, as they utilized employee and spouse discounts. They also participated in N Good Health’s 4 steps, which requires a health risk assessment, an annual wellness statement, an annual N Good Health physical and earning healthy action points for activities like walking or checking in to the gym.
“Having the N Good Health appointments was a big motivator. We wanted to strive to be in better shape, so we could improve our lab results and check off all the areas to get our full wellness credits,” AJ said. As Norton Healthcare medical insurance holders, he and Sarah are each eligible for up to $910 in wellness credits after completing their 4 steps.
When all was said and done, AJ had lost 70 pounds and Sarah had lost 57 pounds in a period of just over seven months. After serious changes to their diet and lifestyle, they both also saw tremendous improvements in their blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure.
“We are both a lot happier now, and we feel like we are in a much better place than we were last year. We are so proud of all the hard work and life changes we have made, and we are definitely able to get around a lot easier with Layton,” AJ said.
Are you determined to make changes to improve your health? Visit the N Good Health webpage and start your journey today!