Two women with the same last name.

Two cases of weight lost and health regained.

Two women with diets significantly changed in the past two years.

Two cases of uterine cancer that are now in remission.

Two women who endorse the Live Healthy Iowa program and the Blue Zones Project.

The two are Jennifer Wallace, 34, of East Moline, and Evelyn Wallace, 64, of Davenport. While they are not related, there are similarities in their efforts to lead healthier lives. Significant changes in diet have not only led to weight loss, but they also have ended the use of some medications. In Jennifer’s case, she no longer has headaches and her blood pressure has fallen. Evelyn no longer takes drugs for high cholesterol.

Jennifer’s story

A 2009 trip to Las Vegas led to Jennifer’s “aha” moment regarding her body. She weighed 230 pounds, and pictures taken on that vacation showed how large she had become.

“My husband loves me no matter what, and people around me didn’t say anything or comment on my weight,” she said.

But she had to buy size-15 pair of capris, and that propelled her toward a Weight Watchers program, which she began following in late 2009, right before the holidays.

She lost 50 pounds in six months and was able to adopt a new approach to food along with the diet. She no longer eats red meat or snack foods such as chips or soda. She does eat fish, chicken and turkey, beans, fresh fruits, vegetables and a low-calorie drink to which she adds fruit slices.

Jennifer is the mother of two children, 11 and 8 years, and is employed full-time helping persons with disabilities at the Individual Advocacy Group in Moline. She also attends St. Ambrose University in Davenport and plans to earn a master’s degree in social work.

Now weighing 155 pounds, her goal is to lose 10 more and stay in the 145-pound range. She is a size-5.

Jennifer works out about 10 hours at week at the Two Rivers YMCA in Moline and says that is her new comfort zone. Before, she was “addicted” to the Lifetime cable television channel, she said, and loved to watch a movie with a big bag of Doritos and a bottle of Pepsi.

“I would drink two liters of Pepsi a day,” she recalled.

She’s dropped cable television and even had the home telephone line removed to increase meaningful mealtimes for the family. She and her husband have purchased new bikes for themselves and the children. They also enjoy roller-skating together at a nearby rink.

Jennifer was diagnosed with uterine cancer last year. That disease was related in some ways to her weight problem, she said, calling it a traumatic and trying experience.

“But I’m OK now,” she said, adding that the cancer surgery and health implications have helped her keep on track with her fitness.

Jennifer’s connection to Davenport is through St. Ambrose University, and her mother and sisters also live in the city. She endorses the Live Healthy Iowa program and the Blue Zones Project.

“I appreciate that my efforts are part of a bigger picture,” she said, noting her increased awareness of good health through the programs.

Evelyn’s story

About three years ago, Evelyn Wallace had a dreadful day.

“I call it my ‘double-whammy’ day,” she said of the difficult day when she found out she had breast cancer at one doctor’s office and uterine cancer when she went to another doctor’s office.

She endured about six months of treatment for both diseases. She was in stage 1 for the breast cancer, but stage 3 for the uterine cancer. She was very tired during the treatments, but continued working at the job she enjoys — in the bakery of the Hy-Vee Food Store on Rockingham Road in Davenport.

“I can’t say enough about how I was treated,” she said of her employer and her health coverage provider. Colleagues at work supported her, and she got medical advice and support from the health insurance company to learn how to deal with the cancer treatments. Evelyn also enjoyed support from Gilda’s Club Quad-Cities.

“It was a very serious situation, but it was also a very positive experience,” she said.

Evelyn realized she needed to change her diet. She quit frying foods immediately and looked into the nutrition program offered at Hy-Vee.

She consulted with Chrissy Mitzel, the Hy-Vee dietitian in Rock Island, and took a series of classes that Mitzel conducted. That gave her information about food portion control and the nutritional value of various food items.

She did not immediately begin doing regular exercise, but now she swims two days at week at the Scott County Family Y in downtown Davenport. She also walks her dog several times each week and has an exercise bike.

“I just feel so much better,” she said.

As for her basic health, she used to worry about diabetes, which runs in her family, and she had a blood sugar level of 116. It’s now in the 80s. Evelyn no longer has to take cholesterol medicine, and she hopes to be able to drop her blood pressure medication soon.

She’s lost about 40 pounds to date.

And she is able to play with her grandchildren. She and her late husband raised six boys and one girl in Davenport, and her extended family remains in the Quad-City area.

She and a granddaughter spent a lot of time at the swimming pools last summer. Grandma Evelyn would pack healthy drinks and snacks, and then they’d stay all day at the pool, taking breaks from swimming with the food she brought along.

“I do like to play with my grandkids,” she said. “Before, I just couldn’t!”

Evelyn thinks the Live Healthy Iowa program and Blue Zones Project both make sense, especially since she sees many retirees at her supermarket job on the city’s west side.

“I think it’s amazing that a lot of people don’t realize the simple changes they make in their diet can have years of consequences for their health,” she said.

nport. While they are not related, there are similarities in their efforts to lead healthier lives. Significant changes in diet have not only led to weight loss, but they also have ended the use of some medications. In Jennifer’s case, she no longer has headaches and her blood pressure has fallen. Evelyn no longer takes drugs for high cholesterol.

Jennifer’s story

A 2009 trip to Las Vegas led to Jennifer’s “aha” moment regarding her body. She weighed 230 pounds, and pictures taken on that vacation showed how large she had become.

“My husband loves me no matter what, and people around me didn’t say anything or comment on my weight,” she said.

But she had to buy size-15 pair of capris, and that propelled her toward a Weight Watchers program, which she began following in late 2009, right before the holidays.

She lost 50 pounds in six months and was able to adopt a new approach to food along with the diet. She no longer eats red meat or snack foods such as chips or soda. She does eat fish, chicken and turkey, beans, fresh fruits, vegetables and a low-calorie drink to which she adds fruit slices.

Jennifer is the mother of two children, 11 and 8 years, and is employed full-time helping persons with disabilities at the Individual Advocacy Group in Moline. She also attends St. Ambrose University in Davenport and plans to earn a master’s degree in social work.

Now weighing 155 pounds, her goal is to lose 10 more and stay in the 145-pound range. She is a size-5.

Jennifer works out about 10 hours at week at the Two Rivers YMCA in Moline and says that is her new comfort zone. Before, she was “addicted” to the Lifetime cable television channel, she said, and loved to watch a movie with a big bag of Doritos and a bottle of Pepsi.

“I would drink two liters of Pepsi a day,” she recalled.

She’s dropped cable television and even had the home telephone line removed to increase meaningful mealtimes for the family. She and her husband have purchased new bikes for themselves and the children. They also enjoy roller-skating together at a nearby rink.

Jennifer was diagnosed with uterine cancer last year. That disease was related in some ways to her weight problem, she said, calling it a traumatic and trying experience.

“But I’m OK now,” she said, adding that the cancer surgery and health implications have helped her keep on track with her fitness.

Jennifer’s connection to Davenport is through St. Ambrose University, and her mother and sisters also live in the city. She endorses the Live Healthy Iowa program and the Blue Zones Project.

“I appreciate that my efforts are part of a bigger picture,” she said, noting her increased awareness of good health through the programs.

Evelyn’s story

About three years ago, Evelyn Wallace had a dreadful day.

“I call it my ‘double-whammy’ day,” she said of the difficult day when she found out she had breast cancer at one doctor’s office and uterine cancer when she went to another doctor’s office.

She endured about six months of treatment for both diseases. She was in stage 1 for the breast cancer, but stage 3 for the uterine cancer. She was very tired during the treatments, but continued working at the job she enjoys — in the bakery of the Hy-Vee Food Store on Rockingham Road in Davenport.

“I can’t say enough about how I was treated,” she said of her employer and her health coverage provider. Colleagues at work supported her, and she got medical advice and support from the health insurance company to learn how to deal with the cancer treatments. Evelyn also enjoyed support from Gilda’s Club Quad-Cities.

“It was a very serious situation, but it was also a very positive experience,” she said.

Evelyn realized she needed to change her diet. She quit frying foods immediately and looked into the nutrition program offered at Hy-Vee.

She consulted with Chrissy Mitzel, the Hy-Vee dietitian in Rock Island, and took a series of classes that Mitzel conducted. That gave her information about food portion control and the nutritional value of various food items.

She did not immediately begin doing regular exercise, but now she swims two days at week at the Scott County Family Y in downtown Davenport. She also walks her dog several times each week and has an exercise bike.

“I just feel so much better,” she said.

As for her basic health, she used to worry about diabetes, which runs in her family, and she had a blood sugar level of 116. It’s now in the 80s. Evelyn no longer has to take cholesterol medicine, and she hopes to be able to drop her blood pressure medication soon.

She’s lost about 40 pounds to date.

And she is able to play with her grandchildren. She and her late husband raised six boys and one girl in Davenport, and her extended family remains in the Quad-City area.

She and a granddaughter spent a lot of time at the swimming pools last summer. Grandma Evelyn would pack healthy drinks and snacks, and then they’d stay all day at the pool, taking breaks from swimming with the food she brought along.

“I do like to play with my grandkids,” she said. “Before, I just couldn’t!”

Evelyn thinks the Live Healthy Iowa program and Blue Zones Project both make sense, especially since she sees many retirees at her supermarket job on the city’s west side.

“I think it’s amazing that a lot of people don’t realize the simple changes they make in their diet can have years of consequences for their health,” she said.

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