GLENNIS CADLE was depressed, overweight, and stressed.
At the time, she refused to see it.
An uncanny series of events led Cadle to the Canyon Ranch Institute Life Enhancement Program (CRI LEP) in Savannah, a holistic health and wellness program focused on underserved communities. Cadle spent 13 hands-on weeks in the program and surfaced as a healthier and calmer woman.
One year later, Cadle is still active in CRI LEP fitness activities and encourages her friends and co-workers to join her in becoming more active. But perhaps the greatest benefactor of the program is Cadle’s teenage daughter Tikiha, who also is experiencing a healthy life because of her mother’s journey.
In March 2013, Charles H. and Rosalie Morris and Connect Savannah provided the funds and partnered with Canyon Ranch Institute and Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Care to launch the first CRI LEP in the southeastern United States.
The objective is to graduate 100 Savannah residents from the CRI Life Enhancement Program to become emotionally, psychologically and physically healthier, and who then will help spread the healthy changes to their friends, families, and the Savannah community.
The CRI Life Enhancement Program is active nationwide, and advances health literacy, improves prevention, honors cultural diversity and applies integrative health to eliminate health disparities. It does all that for people from all walks of life in Savannah.
Glennis Cadle can vouch for those positive changes. Cadle had lived in New York City for more than 35 years when she got the sudden feeling she should move to Savannah, a place she had never been. Following her gut, Cadle and her 17-year-old daughter Tikiha moved to Savannah less than five months later.
Tikiha had health issues, prompting Cadle to schedule her daughter an appointment at Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Care, a primary and preventative healthcare center in Savannah.
Tikiha’s nurse practitioner Chris Ferrelle informed both mother and daughter about the CRI Life Enhancement Program, the holistic health and wellness program that had recently come to Savannah, and that it was totally free to community members.
Today, Cadle says with utmost confidence, “I didn’t know it at the time, but this program is the reason why my daughter and I moved to Savannah. It changed our lives forever.”
In April 2014, Cadle decided to join Savannah’s CRI Life Enhancement Program—not because she personally felt that she needed or wanted to live healthier—but instead because Cadle knew the information would be valuable to her daughter Tikiha, who was too young to enter the program.
“I joined the Canyon Ranch Institute Life Enhancement Program out of my love for my daughter,” Cadle says.
Over the next 13 weeks, Cadle met with behavioral health experts, nutritionists, physicians, and other health and wellness professionals who had been trained by Canyon Ranch Institute to deliver the program in Savannah.
Every Wednesday, Cadle attended meetings with other participants. In the sessions, they ate healthy, local, well-proportioned meals.
They also participated in discussions about mindfulness, growing fresh vegetables, and stress management.
Also, the group learned and participated in physical activity of all kinds, with certified fitness instructors and yoga teachers.
Cadle explains that changing her lifestyle was not just about diet and exercise; it was about accepting her past and her present. It required her to be aware of sleep patterns, stress management, and a balanced lifestyle.
“The program instructors give 100 percent, and when the professionals who are volunteering their time give 100 percent, it inspired me to give 100 percent too,” Cadle said.
“The atmosphere at CRI Life Enhancement Program is like a family. They gave me the family I needed in Savannah to make me like being here even more. The group accepted me for who I am and didn’t judge me.”
Cadle realized that it wasn’t just her daughter who needed a change in lifestyle. By experiencing the program, Cadle realized that she herself was depressed and in need of a healthy change.
Cadle’s home became much cleaner, and her cooking changed too—she started shopping for and preparing healthier, fresher, and lighter meals.
“We used to eat a lot of fatty stuff,” she said. “When you get hands-on demonstrations, you can go home and do it yourself. We cut out a lot of fried chicken.”
Cadle lost 20 pounds. She also began a yoga routine.
“I never saw myself doing yoga,” she said. “Yoga is now the biggest influence on me because I was very stressed and depressed. Yoga really helped me. I was having a tough time at work. Now I feel calmer and more accepting.”
She began walking, too.
The program schedules downtown Savannah walking groups at 9:30 AM on Saturday mornings at Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Care. There is an instructor-led walking class for both beginner and intermediate level walkers.
At 52 years old, Cadle now runs 5Ks.
“I just ran a 5K,” she said. “I loved it. It was a big challenge; I did it in 46 minutes back in the winter. And last weekend, I did it in 39 minutes! I used to run a little then walk a little. Now I can run a mile without stopping!”
As for Cadle’s daughter, Tikiha lost more than 20 pounds over the summer and now does yoga and dances. She also eats healthier, mainly because of what her mother is cooking, but also because she’s making her own wiser choices.
“I stopped eating cake,” she said. “I’ll bake it, but I won’t eat it. And I won’t eat candy that’s really sweet anymore.”
Tikiha was also recently invited to the prom.
“My goal is to be a size 12,” she said. “I feel happier now. I’m thankful for what my mom has done with going through the program. I’m always thankful for my mother.”
Tikiha’s nurse practitioner at Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Care, Chris Ferrelle, sees major changes in both Tikiha and her mother, as well as other participants in the program.
“It’s amazing to see how one person can affect the whole family,” Ferrelle said.
Ferrelle is also one of the integrative health practitioners on the CRI Life Enhancement Program core team. She also participates in yoga and attends the gardening sessions (open to the public) at Trustees’ Garden the first and third Saturday of every month.
“I have to be able to practice what I preach,” explains Ferrelle.
Cadle’s walking instructor has noticed the difference in Cadle.
“My walking instructor at the program says she can see a change in my smile,” Cadle said. “I don’t know if they realize how much they’re changing lives: it’s happiness, it’s how to live better, and not to be scared of success. I’ve had tremendous growth with this program. I hope to continue it the rest of my life.”
For those interested in learning more about the impact CRI Life Enhancement Program had on Cadle and about the inspiration and effects CRI Life Enhancement Program has on participants, Cadle may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.