Journey to a Healthier Lifestyle

Six months ago, Rick Hovey would never think of walking to the post office. Or the grocery store. Or anywhere, for that matter. That was before the Dixon resident took NorthBay Healthcare’s seven-week Journey to Health course and changed his life forever.

Now 40 pounds lighter, Rick, 48, is walking five times a week, leading discussions about health and fitness online with kindred spirits and trying out new, healthy recipes. He’s even taken up hiking —for fun! “Now I think more about my health and doing things,” he explains. “I don’t take the easiest way, but the way that will keep me moving. I ride my bike to pick up prescriptions. Anything, just to keep active.”

Rick was recommended to the program by his primary care physician, Dr. Shanaz Khambatta. He was overweight, had high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. He said the class provided a lot of good information in a short amount of time. “Some of it was stuff I already knew, but it was good to hear it again. And it brought out my competitive nature. I wanted to do better than anyone else.”

So he challenged his classmates to join him for an evening walk. Even after the course concluded, he still meets another classmate for hikes in Lagoon Valley once or twice a week when the weather allows.

He also set up a chat room on, a site he has found really helpful because he journals and tracks his food intake, to ensure he has a good mix of fiber and nutrition. “I make very different food choices now,” says Rick. “I did away with most of the common carbs and now go with whole grains. I’m more experimental in my cooking, and I eat a lot more straight vegetables and lean protein.”

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