After college, Michael Edwards let time and health get away from him. His company’s involvement with Blue Zones Project opened his eyes and prompted him to make healthier choices in his life. Now he’s on track to a longer, better life.
Michael Edwards was in great physical shape when he was a D1 athlete in college. But then he started a family and a promising career with Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee. He admits that time just got away from him – along with his weight. “I felt drained all the time,” he said.
In late 2017, Michael started exploring the impact of diet on his health and energy. About the same time, Mother Parkers embarked on its Blue Zones Project journey, working to become a Blue Zones Project Approved™ worksite. Mother Parkers is a 100-year-old company with headquarters in Fort Worth and in Ontario, Canada. The company has a longstanding commitment to providing the best employee benefits, so involvement in Blue Zones Project fit their corporate culture.
The organization expanded its joint health and safety committee to include wellness committee members who were responsible for implementing Blue Zones Project best practices into the work-place. The company instituted healthy catering policies, added a downshift room and an outdoor pavilion where employees could connect, and leads ergonomic stretches before the start of each shift. Through a combination of its existing health and wellness benefits and new Blue Zones Project practices, Mother Parkers obtained its Blue Zones Project designation. The company soon began to see tangible results across the company, and in employees like Michael.
Michael said Mother Parkers’ engagement with Blue Zones Project was a catalyst for his taking action. “That, along with a wellness check, motivated me to make a change,” said Michael. “The doctor said my blood pressure was high and that my cholesterol was unbalanced,” he explained. “If I didn’t do something, I’d be traveling down a road of increased medications and reduced life span.”
As a result, Michael became more active and made a significant change in his eating choices. He trimmed red meat and fried foods from his diet and introduced his wife and children to vegan burgers. He has since lost 30 pounds and now regularly runs on a treadmill and tackles hills near his house with his oldest son. “Incorporating healthier choices in my life has helped me lose weight, improve my overall energy levels, and focus on a daily basis,” he said. “Honestly I feel a lot better, like a person who knows he has purpose in life.”