Karen and Joe: An inspiring portrait of health and wellness

The ride out to Karen and Joe Gossman’s house was long. Maybe it was the construction on M-14 or that it was my first testimonial interview or that the couple lived in Parma, MI, and we were coming from Southfield. But whatever it was, I was happy to finally spy their mailbox along the peaceful and wooded country road.

I’d read about Karen prior to reaching out to her, about her impressive weight loss. Karen had lost sixty pounds within a year’s time through Weight Watchers® as a member of Healthy Blue LivingSM (HBL), one of Blue Care Network’s health plans that reward members for making healthier life choices. Having a body mass index of less than 30 is just one of the requirements needed to qualify for HBL enhanced benefits, meaning that eligible members earn a lower deductibles and copayments.

When initially reaching out to Karen, I was thrilled that she was receptive to spending some time with us. We opted to conduct the interview at her home, allowing for Joe, her husband, to participate as well. Joe, also an HBL member, joined Karen at Weight Watchers and, as a result, has lost nearly sixty pounds as well over the last year.

As we pulled up to the house, there was a pervasive sense of peace and order that surrounded the log cabin home. Karen greeted us warmly and invited us into her home. It was more than that though; Karen was inviting us into her life, her experience and I thanked her for that before even crossing her threshold.

I was eager to learn exactly how they did it, how they managed to lose over 100 pounds combined in just over a year. I wanted to know what inspired them and I wanted to be sure that they knew that sharing their experience would in turn inspire others.

Karen and Joe shared much in the two hours we were with them. But, in a nutshell, this transformation was made possible by:

  • Increasing their physical activity
  • Changing their diet
  • Providing support and encouragement to each other
  • Ability to earn enhanced benefits

It was clear to see that the shared experience between Karen and Joe was another strong facet of their commitment to each other. There was one point, when I asked Joe what inspired him, where I was truly touched. He smiled, looked at Karen and said “She does, she inspires me.” The sincere and heartfelt grin on her face caused me to smile. I couldn’t help myself…

See, that’s what happens when transformation and positivity abounds. It’s catchy, it’s moving and it reveals so much about our shared similarities as people. Throughout the last year or so, Joe and Karen have been inspiring and inspired by many. The people they work with have inspired them, their children have inspired them and their desire to feel the best they possibly can has inspired them. What inspires you? What drives your desire for continuous improvement? If you’d like to share, please visit the HBL 5 year anniversary page and tell us what inspires you.

The ride home seemed to fly by as I left feeling rejuvenated and optimistic and eager to share Karen and Joe’s story with others. They serve as an amazing example of what can happen when inspiration and motivation intersect. Karen and Joe’s story doesn’t end here though – stay tuned for the soon to be released Gossman video testimonial. Thanks again to Karen and Joe Gossman for sharing their story!



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