Powerlifting helped channel despair, helplessness after loss to domestic violence

When Rachel Tineo’s 24-year-old niece was murdered in a domestic violence incident by the father of her three children, Tineo didn’t know how to fathom the depth of her loss.

Tina Soto had been like a daughter to her – and that someone intentionally and senselessly took her life in front of her young children in June 2013 left Tineo full of rage.

“It’s not something you have a coping mechanism for,” said Tineo, a senior business systems analyst at Tucson Medical Center. “I would go home, talk to my husband, play with the dogs and get up and go to work again the next day – but it wasn’t enough. I had all these built-up feelings, including sadness, anger and depression.”

Something had to change.

Tineo had already been health-conscious. She was a runner. She ate clean.

A part of her thought she should just stick to her kettlebells and running routine. Another part felt it was time to jolt herself out of her comfort zone. She went to her trainer and explained, “I want to bring more to the table because I need it to get through every day.”

“It wasn’t until I started powerlifting that I was able to control the feelings I had. Whether I was deadlifting or bench pressing or squatting, I was taking all those feelings and putting them into buckets in my brain. And I would fill those buckets up with positive energy and that energy would eat up all of those negative thoughts. When I lift, I pick up that bar and I let it take everything away from me.”

Over the course of 6-8 months, she started feeling better.

By November 2014, she had enrolled in her first competition. In that first competition, she bench pressed 110 pounds, did 245 pounds on a deadlift and squatted 120 pounds.

“Powerlifting made me a stronger person physically, emotionally, mentally and intellectually.” It also gave her a ready-made support group, ready to cheer her on to challenge herself to bigger and better accomplishments.

After she started lifting, she started sharing her story publicly, hoping to raise awareness about domestic violence and help erase stigma. Tina had been too ashamed to tell anyone about what had been happening to her for the previous three years.

Serving as an advocate helps give her purpose, even though it is emotionally exhausting each time she relives the story. “I felt I really needed to do this for Tina.”

She will have her seventh competition on Saturday. She’s set a goal of squatting 231 pounds, bench pressing 145 and deadlifting 308.

To this day, Tineo still relies on powerlifting as a form of therapy to get through life’s everyday stresses, as well as the knowledge that Tina is gone.

She’s also kicked up her running program, signing up for a half marathon in March 2018.

Tineo said she’d love to eventually lift with her grandchildren. In the interim, she’s teaching them about respecting themselves – from what they put in their mouths to the activities they do and the way they treat others.

“It’s important to be nice to each other and not say mean things to hurt each other. It’s important to respect boundaries. Ultimately, domestic violence is a learned behavior. If it’s learned, it can be unlearned.”





Rachel Tineo- Just a walk a day can keep the doctor away

rachel1This month readers learned about the incredible wellness journey of Rachel Tineo, a senior systems analyst at TMC. Over the last couple years Tineo has transformed from being overweight and and at risk for diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension to an enthusiastic proponent and example of healthy living.

These days, it only takes one look at Tineo to see that she has made some very big changes to her lifestyle. As a matter of fact, she has changed practically everything about her lifestyle and that of her family as well.

Tineo now spends up to 6 days per week in the gym—and lifts loads well into the triple digits under the direction of her personal trainer. She has also made sweeping improvements to the foods she eats, controlling her portions and her calories.

At TMC, this is becoming a much more common story among employees, thanks to an expanding wellness program that incentivizes, encourages and provides opportunities for better, healthier choices. And while Tineo’s choice of workouts is charged with heavy weights in a gym setting, it is certainly not the only way to hit fitness targets.

Even something as simple as walking can do the trick.

DorothyAs a matter of fact, the U.S. Surgeon General recommends 30 minutes of walking (or other physical activity) each day. And as another TMC employee, Dorothy Larson, found out, regular exercise, including walking, decreases your risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, some cancers, osteoporosis, depression, anxiety and obesity. It also improves overall health, helps osteoarthritis and diabetes, boosts HDL cholesterol (that’s the good kind) and can improve your mood.

Larson, a financial analyst, would have the Surgeon General’s stamp of approval since she has been walking the TMC campus for much of the 26 years she has worked for the hospital.

She had a scare about 20 years ago when doctors suspected she might have cancer in her leg. After surgery gave her a clean bill of health, the once-occasional walker became an avid fan.

Larson tries to walk every day, with her lunch periods providing some downtime from crunching numbers.

“I feel more energized when I come back, Larson said.

When it’s hot, she can walk the halls, which also gives her an opportunity to interact with folks in the hospital, since she works in an outlying building. And in pleasant weather, she can walk the trail system that largely encircles the hospital grounds and enjoy nature.

Larson said walking has helped her stave off weight gain, but said remaining active has also helped her maintain strength and agility.

She also likes the variety. She can walk briskly, to get her heart rate up. She can walk at a lower speed for relaxation. And she can walk with colleagues and reconnect with their lives.

“It’s fun and it’s enjoyable and you don’t need any equipment – just a good pair of walking shoes,” she said.

“What you do for exercise doesn’t have to be crazy. The main thing is, you need to find some way to move your body. It doesn’t matter how. Just find something that you can sustain and incorporate into your day. Even that one change can make a big difference,” said Tineo.

Rachel Tineo- Eating well with the whole family


Last week, readers learned about the incredible wellness journey of Rachel Tineo, a senior systems analyst at TMC. Tineo, overweight and swiftly moving toward health complications that included diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension, was told by her physician that if she didn’t make changes—she might not be around to see her children grown up.

Since then, Tineo has made huge strides in her wellness journey. And a big part of that came down to nutrition. She learned that physical activity wasn’t enough—even if you could dead lift 300 pounds. Another huge challenge was un-learning a lifetime of bad habits and developing new ones that she could sustain.

Just as importantly, Tineo realized that her own health wasn’t the only issue. As she turned her own life around, it was up to her to also teach her husband and kids how to live healthier lives. She worried that her previous bad habits might have had a lasting effect on them.

Tineo wasn’t alone in her concern. Rampant childhood obesity and poor nutrition are major factors placing children at significant risk for a myriad of health problems in adolescence and adulthood. From 1976 to 2002 the prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity has more than doubled. And childhood obesity is one of the main health concerns in Pima County. Children who are overweight are at greater risk for health problems like diabetes, heart disease, depression and sleep apnea—something Tineo could testify to.

In fact, obese children face these health threats while still in adolescence. Sadly, this generation of children may be the first generation to have a life expectancy that is less than their parents!Healthy_Meal_230x230

Despite those sobering facts, keeping up with a nutrition plan over the long haul for a family is no easy task, especially for busy families. Tineo relied on her trainer’s advice, and turned to TMC nutrition experts and friends for help. She was able to pick up some simple guidelines for her menus:

1. limit salt

2. keep bad fats (saturated) to a minimum

3. add more vegetables, fruits and grains

TMC dietitian Laurie Ledford said most adults should aim to restrict salt intake to 1500 mg a day on average, with the Institute of Medicine recommending an upper limit of 2300 mg a day. That upper limit is essentially the equivalent of one teaspoon of salt.

The majority of Americans consume at least twice, and even triple, that amount, she said, and that’s because it’s not just about what comes out of the salt shaker. The bigger culprits are processed food and fast food.

Limiting saturated fats is also important. These are the ones that harden at room temperature and mostly come from animal products – think butter, chicken skin, and fat on steak.

Steer clear, too, of trans fats, which do all the items above, but also lower good cholesterol. There’s less of it around, with a push to eliminate it from cookies, snacks, and other processed foods, but it still lurks in fast food.

On the other hand, nuts and avocadoes are full of what’s considered “good” fat, which may be high in fat and calories, but which can be taken in moderation. A  serving of nuts can be a great substitute for potato chips and crackers.

Luckily, eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring or drab and you don’t have to avoid your family’s favorite foods.

Take the kiddie favorite cheese, for example. It is full of saturated fat and sodium. But you don’t have to pull it out of the lunchbox altogether. Instead, pick a strong-flavored cheese, such as goat cheese, that will allow smaller portions. It’s all about moderation.

Another piece of advice? Don’t try to overhaul your family’s diet all at once.

Pick one area and start there. Once you get a handle on salt, for example, then it might be time to start reducing fat. Even that can come in stages. If you drink whole milk, for example, try 2 percent. Then blend 2 percent with 1 percent. Maybe you can get to 1 percent or even skim at some point.

Gradually, too, build up to the recommended 4 to 5 servings of vegetables and 4 to 5 servings of fruits a day.

“Choose one that will be the easiest to do for you, and then move on the next. None of us can change 100 percent of what we do overnight and then expect to stick with it. It’s all about developing better habits.”

Another resource that is available to other parents sharing Tineo’s concerns is TMC HealthCare’s Recipes for a Healthy Family. The online cookbook helps parents and their children lead healthy lives and have fun cooking. It promotes healthy food choices, at-home meal preparation and family dining—things that pay huge dividends in more than just physical health. Parents and children learn important nutritional information about the food they are eating and helpful safety tips for preparing meals at home.

Visit https://www.tmcaz.com/TucsonMedicalCenter/Food_and_Nutrition_Services/Recipes to access the cookbook.

Recipes were taken from credible sources such as U.S. Department of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Dairy Association, Arizona Beef Council and National Pork Council. All recipes were tested and surveyed before inclusion in the cookbook. The cookbook also has an interactive piece for families, allowing parents to consult a registered dietitian via email for specific questions.





Rachel Tineo – ‘Living Well’ in the workplace and beyond

Tineo_Blog_ImageA lot of co-workers at Tucson Medical Center have come to consider Rachel Tineo the poster child for workplace wellness.

Tineo, a senior systems analyst at TMC, was overweight several years back, and had begun developing weight-related ailments such as diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and even bouts of depression. Her “aha!” moment came three years ago when her doctor challenged her to change her thinking and get on the path to a longer, healthier life.

Long story short: It worked.

Face with the possibility of dying early, Tineo improved her diet, increased her activity level, brightened her outlook, and lost about 80 pounds in the process.

“The more I exercised, the more I wanted to eat right, and the more I wanted to help others make good choices of their own,” she said.

Rachel - Before

Rachel – Before

Tineo hooked up with a personal trainer and learned how to safely push herself to get results. Little by little, she made fitness an increasingly large part of her routine. Now, it’s something that is so a part of who she is, she couldn’t live without it.

It wasn’t only Tineo that was changed. As a mother and wife, her lifestyle began to have an effect on her family as whole.

“My whole family is getting active. Instead of eating bad foods and sitting on the couch watching TV, we workout as a family. I’ve learned to cook, healthier meals. As a result, my children are learning how to eat well. I am changing their future ,” she said.

Her story resonates in the workplace – even more so now that TMC has launched its Live Well initiatives for employees, using Tineo as an example of a successful lifestyle change. She shared the story of her journey toward better health during employee Town Hall meetings last year.

“If I’m helping even one person around me, then I’m doing a lot of good,” Tineo said.

Rachel - After

Rachel – After

She enjoys the fact that employee wellness has become more of a workplace priority.  “If I don’t bring healthy snacks from home, I know I can rely on the TMC to have healthy items available in the Cafeteria, or Higher Grounds, or Peppers Café,” she said. “I rely on healthy fuel, and we have the pre-made food, the power drinks, the salads to choose from.”

Tineo exercises six days a week, and her mantra – Move Your Body! – guides her journey toward long-term health.  Now she has influenced others in her extended family and among her co-workers to make healthy changes.

“I used to sigh and cringe when faced with a challenge.  Now, I feel I’m ready for anything.”

livewellWhile TMC’s Live Well program is an internal program for staff, there is a public seminar available to the public to get on the right track. The 2.5 hour seminar includes discussions and resources about physical activity, nutrition and mental/emotional well-being. To learn more or submit registration, click here.

Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461