Sarah Barger

Sarah Barger with husband and son portrait

Taking Back Control of My Health

Sarah Barger, Former Employee, IU Southeast

Two years ago, a string of losses left IU Southeast former employee Sarah Barger and her husband, AJ, with overwhelming stress. AJ’s father passed away on Father's Day in June 2018. Then, on January 7, 2019, Sarah gave birth to their twin sons at only 26 weeks — and sadly, they lost one of the twins shortly after birth.

“After that, we truly just gave up on our health as we were basically living at the NICU. We ate out all the time and were sleep deprived from stress — we literally had no energy,” says Sarah.

However, when they brought baby Layton home from the NICU after three long months, something sparked a change in Sarah and AJ. “We needed to take back control of our health . . . for us and for our son.”

Sarah soon joined Weight Watchers (WW) (offered at no cost to all benefits-eligible IU employees, and spouses covered on an IU medical plan), where she learned skills around healthy eating, physical activity, and positive mindset, all within a supportive community.

In the fall of 2020, Sarah also participated in Healthy IU’s Wellness Coaching program at IU Southeast, where staff and faculty are paired up with an IU Southeast nursing student to receive wellness coaching.

As of winter 2020, Sarah has lost 65 pounds. AJ, who has been alongside Sarah on her wellness journey, has lost 70 pounds. Now, after forming healthy habits to take care of her mind, body, and spirit, Sarah says she has more energy than ever and feels great. “I work better now and focus more because of it, too,” she says.

We needed to take back control of our health . . . for us and for our son.