How a group of co-workers have lost 150 pounds together and kept it off.
Millions of Americans set weightloss goals each year. If you set a resolution to lose weight, make sure to do your research before starting. Know what makes up a good diet plan, how you will maintain the momentum, and determine at what point weight gain becomes a problem for you.
“This is a tough one because there is no single point at which weight gain becomes a problem for everyone,” Jason Crouse, MyHealth (Kootenai Health’s employee wellness program) health coach, said. “Of course, it’s not always easy to recognize that there is a problem (after all, weight usually creeps up on us pretty slowly). What the scale says should play a role, but you should also take into account other aspects of your life, such as your energy level, completing day-to-day activities, how your clothes fit, if it’s getting more difficult to do fun activities, stress, sleep quality, and how you feel about yourself. Our health affects every aspect of our lives. Why wait to start living healthier?”
A group of employees at Kootenai Clinic Neurology felt the same. Together, Carly Shelton, Samantha Cline, Cindy Peres, Chris Kennedy, and Deedee Koontz, have lost over 150 pounds combined thanks to the help of WW (formerly Weight Watchers) and moral support from each other.
“I was the first to join, about two years ago,” Cindy said. “I was visiting with a friend who suggested it. I had tried everything at that point and decided to attend a meeting. It seemed so great, and easy; and it is.”
According to the group, the most appealing part of the program is the variety of food and meals. While many diets have strict calorie goals or food groups, WW focuses on eating real food, in maintainable portions.
“It’s so much easier than I expected,” Samantha said. “I had tried all the ‘easy’ ways to lose weight – I even took diet pills – but didn’t see any long-term success. I saw Cindy’s success and how easy it was for her to maintain her weight loss and signed up about a year ago.”
When picking a diet plan, or making a change to your eating routine, both Jason and MyHealth registered dietitian, Whitney Stanford, believe if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. They suggest sticking to plans that:
- Use real food
- Are flexible
- Address the fitness and mental side of weight loss
- Provide a plan you can follow for the rest of your life
Try to avoid diet plans that:
- Require you to eliminate entire food groups
- Make promises that sound too good to be true
“There is no miracle diet,” Whitney said. “If something sounds too good to be true, it is! It’s hard to think long term sometimes with weight loss, but it’s super important. Ask yourself, ‘What can I maintain for the rest of my life and still be healthy and happy?’”
One of the benefits of joining WW at work, or doing another program with friends or co-workers, is the constant support to stay on track and share new menu ideas. When you’re not dieting alone, you have a higher likelihood of success.
“When I was doing it on my own, it was definitely harder,” Cindy said. “It’s easier now. We have a group text thread, share meal ideas, eat lunch together when we can, it makes it fun.”
With new tools online and with the WW app, meal planning and grocery shopping are now much easier. In addition, WW participants can earn discounts and reimbursements for signing up and meeting goals.
“I tell people about it all the time,” Carly said. “Because Kootenai reimburses so much of the cost, it’s extremely affordable. I use the app to scan food at the store and save my favorites to make grocery shopping easy. But beyond those things, just meeting with the health coaches was eye-opening for me. It was a good wakeup call and got me motivated to do more than just change my eating habits.”
“WW at work is amazing because we bring this proven program directly to our employees and were very happy to help pay for it,” Jason said. “We endorse the WW program because it’s one of the few out there that teaches you how to change your daily behaviors, and make those changes permanent so you can work toward your goals, but also be able to enjoy holidays, vacations, birthdays etc. We have weekly meetings for support and Whitney and I are here to meet with participants one-on-one for free. It’s everything you need to succeed.”