DAYTON - Amber Graves has helped organize the Live Healthy Iowa initiatives at Iowa Central Community College the past several years, but this year Graves has been selected by the Live Healthy organization to become a part of an elite team.
Graves, of Dayton, a school nurse at Iowa Central, was recently selected to be part of the 2013 Live Healthy Iowa "Dream Team." The team is a select group of individuals who want to participate in the overall initiative to help Iowa become a healthier place while improving their own health and fitness routines.
"I have participated in Live Healthy Iowa through Iowa Central for a couple of years," said Graves. "As I was preparing things for Iowa Central's project I saw something in an email about applying for the Dream Team."
Graves submitted her Dream Team application in December, and was notified last week that she had been selected as one of 10 people from across the state to be part of the group.
"I really was surprised," said Graves. " I know they had quite a few people apply."
As a busy mother of five children with a full-time job, Graves said she wants being part of the team will help her to make changes to her diet and exercise routines.
"I hope to make changes that will also make others healthy," she said. "I feel like the more people who are watching you, the more likely you are to do it."
As part of the 10-week Dream Team challenge, Graves will attend three meetings in the Des Moines area with nine other participants and a trainer, check in and track her progress and personal reflections on the Live Healthy Iowa website's dashboard, and undergo health assessments before and after she completes the program.
Debra Atkinson, owner of Des Moines-based Voice for Fitness, will coach the team, offering tips and support throughout each team member's journey.
"Her job is to help you incorporate healthy choices into your daily routine," said Graves.
Personally, Graves has set a goal for herself to exercise for 30 minutes at least three times per week, increase her water intake and decrease pop consumption, and to try to lose up to 20 pounds.
"I want to make it be something I can maintain," she said. "I thought those goals were ones I would be able to accomplish. I'm really looking forward to it."