MTC’s Fit for Life Initiative Continues at the Otero County Processing Center
In 2022, MTC launched the Fit for Life Initiative where a different aspect of healthy living was emphasized each quarter. All MTC facilities participated in this initiative; an effort that involved both staff members and the people we serve. When the year-long initiative ended, we caught up with a couple of people from the Otero County Processing Center in Chaparral, NM, who are setting a great example for us all. In 2022, these individuals made changes in their lives that were inspired by this initiative and have since kept those changes going.
Diana Chavez, warden’s secretary, was motivated by the Fit for Life quarter that emphasized healthy eating. “It’s a change of a lifestyle. That’s what it is,” she says. “It inspired me, it inspired me to change my habits. There’s a lot of good, healthy food out there, great food. And it’s amazing. The change is amazing.”
Diana was also inspired by the Fit for Life quarter that emphasized physical fitness. “I have a two-year-old granddaughter and it has given me the energy to keep up with her,” explains Diana. “She’s all over the place, and before I was too tired to do anything with her, to do anything with my family. And now it’s like I have so much energy, I want to be all over the place.”
“We’ve got a lot of people motivated to exercise,” Warden Dora Castro says. “My secretary got really involved, she said, ‘You know what? This is my time. I’m going to get on it’. She lost a lot of weight. She is doing an amazing job, she’s eating healthy, and kind of gets everybody motivated because they see the change.”
Isaac Mancha, the facility’s recreation specialist, headed up the Fit for Life effort and has been very impressed with the changes that have taken place in Diana’s life. “As a co-worker, as a friend, I am super proud to see that she’s gone way above and beyond and that she’s actually switched out her whole lifestyle to be meeting new goals, every single time,” Isaac says.
Diana’s not the only success story at the facility. Maria Lopez also took the Fit for Life emphasis on fitness seriously and dramatically increased the number of steps she takes every day. Even though the Fit for Life initiative is now over, she continues to count her steps and meet her personal goals.
“She’s one of my top winners…every month for our pedometer challenge,” states Isaac. “Every single time she exceeds what we put as a barrier. Amazing, amazing person.”
“It’s been great,” says Maria. “It’s been fun, it’s been interesting. I’ve lost a little weight, which is awesome. And yes, you do get more energy off of it. I don’t feel lazy anymore and sit around and watch TV. I’m no longer a couch potato.”
“We want to keep doing…Fit for Life,” says Warden Castro. “We want to continue to work towards being healthy.”
“It’s already pushed me, and I’m still doing it,” states Maria. “So, I will keep up with it.”
“Anybody can start a different lifestyle,” Diana agrees. “Exercising is very important. The way you eat is very important, and it’ll change your whole life completely.”