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Health Matters Hero-DRAFT

A Health Matters Hero inspires those around them and contributes to a culture of well-being for fellow State of Idaho employees.

Health Matters Hero: Darren Furman
December 2020

Congratulations, Darren!
Darren works for Region 7 Behavioral Health at the Department of Health and Welfare in Rexburg and was anonymously nominated by a co-worker to be this Health Matters Hero who said, “Darren is a positive role model for how small changes can improve your health…He is a good cheerleader for his team and is always willing to help those around him. Plus he is just a super nice guy!” By educating himself on nutrition and making realistic and sustainable changes, Darren has been able to improve his emotional, mental, and physical health.
Darren in December 2020, looking and feeling great!

“Overall, I feel better about myself and I feel more confident…It’s not about the weight, it’s about being healthy!”

-Darren Furman
Darren in 2011
Darren in June 2020

My motives have changed since beginning my lifestyle changes. In June I was going through a difficult time in my life. I had lost my appetite, which is unusual for me because I am an emotional eater. At the time I was drinking three liters of Mountain Dew a day, jelly doughnuts and cupcakes for breakfast, and frozen burritos for dinner. Being sedentary I weighed 280 pounds and I was taking three different medications for my high blood pressure. I was a walking heart attack waiting to happen. Despite my desires to lose weight and eat healthy, I lacked education. Diets were so confusing for me.

As such, it was educating myself and a lot of trial and error to find what worked for me. I didn’t want to be confined to eating just this food or that food the rest of my life. I wanted lots of food choices. I don’t cook much; I microwave. Many of my foods were convenience or ready-to-eat foods. I ultimately chose a low-calorie diet. I also take a multivitamin. My diet now generally consists of a banana or berries (of any kind), and scrambled eggs for breakfast, an apple or turkey jerky stick for mid-morning snack, a pre-made salad for lunch, fruit for an afternoon snack, and turkey, fish, or sometimes beef, or beans and broccoli for dinner. And most importantly, I drink lots and lots of water, but not more than 64 oz. While I do try to incorporate fiber (bran cereal) and some good carbohydrates, I do so sparingly. I do eat fun things like a bite of a brownie, a piece of dark chocolate, or few spoons of ice cream. And yes, I get hunger pains, but I choose healthy snacks and foods to quench my hunger. It’s very important that I never go or feel hungry. I never starve myself. I try to stop eating by 6 p.m.

And for icing on the cake (pun intended) exercise is an important component as well. During the summer I worked up to walking three miles or a 5k each day at the park.  Now I sleep much better. I am not dragging through the day because of a lack of energy or erratic blood sugars. My blood pressure is back to normal, so I no longer take the three blood pressure medications. Overall, I feel better about myself and I feel more confident. Consistency is the key, but I go easy on myself if I have a slip now and then (Thanksgiving). Since June 3 I went from weighing 280 lbs. to 199 lbs.  However, it’s not about the weight, it’s about being healthy!


My Region 7 Behavioral Health co-workers and friends who are also working hard to make lifestyle changes and losing weight. 


Having more energy, sleeping better, being able to walk a 5k, feeling emotionally, mentally, and physically better.


Being consistent.


I take my 15-minute breaks. I stretch at my desk and get up from the desk and go outside for a few minutes to change things. I try to practice mindfulness.

A Health Matters Hero…
  • Leads by example and is a model to other employees.
  • Consistently exhibits behaviors that support physical, mental, and social well-being.
  • Actively supports the well-being of those around them.

Any state employee can nominate a colleague who is making a positive impact on health and well-being within their workplace. One Health Matters Hero will be featured every month.

See Past Heroes

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