When Michelle Foster shared her health and fitness journey with me, I could almost hear Tim McGraw in the background singing “Someday I hope you get the chance to live like you were dying.” In the spring of 2017, a cancer scare—fortunately, benign—inspired Michelle to commit to her physical and mental health. “For the last five years, I’ve lived every day to the fullest,” says Michelle. “I live with no regret. You can’t imagine how much better your life gets if you live like that.”
In addition to her own health scare, the untimely death of two siblings motivated Michelle to overcome a family history of lifestyle and genetic health problems. “I was overweight almost my entire life,” says Michelle. “I just had to stop making excuses.” Today, she’s enjoying fresh foods from the earth, teaching yoga, lifting weights, biking, swimming and running as she trains for marathons and triathlons.
How did she do it? Well, around the same time, Xybix installed new sit-stand consoles and a Health Treadmill at the O’Fallon Police Department, where Michelle has been a dispatcher for seven years. The treadmill is not gathering dust. Since April 2017, she has logged 14,995 miles on it—that’s nearly 300 miles per month. But no product can take the place of her internal drive to succeed. “I started paying attention to my health and what I was putting in my body, and making a conscious effort to move every day,” says Michelle.
The sit-stand Xybix consoles definitely help along with the convenience of working out while taking calls. “I feel like you work better and faster when you stand,” she claims. Michelle admits to turning off the treadmill when she’s super busy but says it’s no problem to walk at a “not super-fast speed” while handling a normal flow of calls, writing and typing.
Michelle stopped counting the half-marathons she’s completed at around 60. She has 5 marathons under her belt and is currently training for a triathlon, a bucket list item of hers. When her father passed away unexpectedly in May 2020, she stepped up her game even further. Participating in runs throughout the country serves as inspiration to keep training and an excuse to travel with a group of friends. “It’s a great way to visit towns I would have never seen,” says Michelle. “We’re trying to hit all 50 states.”
While getting in shape physically, Michelle made a commitment to maintain her mental health as well. She works 12-hour shifts as a police dispatcher in O’Fallon, a city of 30,000 in southern Illinois, not far from St. Louis, Mo. When calls become stressful, the treadmill and other forms of exercise provide a healthy release. “Getting your blood moving and oxygen flowing makes you feel better, 100%,” says Michelle.
“I firmly believe in the importance of good physical and mental health in dispatch,” adds Michelle. She encourages dispatchers to recognize when they need a mental break and understand their own stress relievers. “Now I know not to push through when I’m really stressed. I take a break, step outside, catch my breath and regroup. When I come back, I’m really ready to serve.”
Take Michelle’s Challenge
If you’re ready to change your lifestyle, Michelle is ready to motivate you. She’s willing to talk, share advice and include you in her inspirational messaging and annual weight-loss challenges. Feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I learned this lesson the hard way: If you don’t take care of your body and mind, nobody else will,” Michelle reminds us. “We only have one life to live. I don’t want anyone to waste it.”