A good maintenance plan is key for weight loss success

Americans are bombarded by trendy diets, weight loss supplements and other products that promise an easy solution to weight loss. Kootenai’s own Jennifer Reider, Human Resources records specialist, is proof that the recipe for weight loss is simple, but it’s not something you can purchase off a shelf.

“Losing weight isn’t hard,” she said. “It’s science, burn more calories than you consume. It’s the mental game that makes it challenging.”

In 2009 Jennifer started on a journey to find a balance of health and happiness. By changing her diet and counting calories, she lost 96 pounds over the course of three years and has successfully kept it off.

“Maintenance is the hardest part about losing weight,” she said. “It’s challenging to consistently make the healthier decision but I don’t let that get me down. You can’t let one food choice ruin your day, things in life happen and you have to want your goal bad enough to stay on track.”

Jennifer still relies on calorie counting to maintain her success and now incorporates exercise like hiking, Pilates, spinning and walking to help reach her future goals. She now also uses fun challenges through Kootenai’s employee wellness program, MyHealth, for motivation and accountability. Her favorite MyHealth programs include Maintain Don’t Gain, Biggest Loser (through Peak), and the free nutritional and exercise counseling.

“It’s great working for a company that supports health and wellness,” she said. “I think the more you talk about wellness and share your goals with others, the more likely you are to follow through.”

Small steps to weight loss build a foundation for future success

Jennifer offers the following tips for those looking to start losing weight and keep it off.

  • Start Small
    “If you start out with goals that are really big and hard to reach, you’ll burn out,” she said. Instead, take baby steps with smaller, more attainable goals. Meeting goals will help keep you motivated and help you stay positive.
  • Find Things You Love
    “Find activities and foods that you can get excited about,” she said. “For me it’s Pilates, I really enjoy that. But if there’s something you really love to do or eat, stick with it. It’s easier to stay on track when you get to incorporate some of your favorite healthy choices.”
  • Sweet Doesn’t Have to Mean Sugary
    Jennifer suggests finding alternatives to sweet treats that still satisfy your sugar craving.
    “Dessert doesn’t have to be cookies or candy,” she said. “It can be a banana and peanut butter or strawberries and yogurt.”
  • Make Substitutes
    You don’t have to give up all your favorite things in order to lose weight. Jennifer said she finds alternative, lower calorie ingredients to treat herself every once in a while.
    “I switched up my coffee order from a high-calorie latte to an Americano with just a little bit of flavor. It’s still a treat but won’t cost you a lot of calories.”