Gothenburg Co-Workers Conquer the Scale Together

Journeys are always more fun with a friend, and the journey to better health is no exception.

Jess Schneider and Kim Russman work together as lab techs at Gothenburg Health, and together they have lost more than 250 pounds! And, they continue to support each other in their quests for healthier living.

For Kim, the journey began with a sore knee. She decided that losing weight may alleviate some of her knee pain. So in February 2017, she started the Ideal Protein eating plan. After one year, she lost 100 pounds. The next step was to maintain her weight loss, so she started exercising.

“I needed to find my new way of living,” Kim said. She started going to the YMCA at Gothenburg Health and doing light exercises. She has slowly increased her exercise, adding weight lifting and various cardio machines. Her true love is swimming, which she said helps her knee the most because it’s low impact.

“I have been maintaining my weight loss for the past 10 months with the help of the Y,” Kim said.

Kim’s co-worker in the lab, Jess Schneider, started her journey to healthier living three years ago and has now lost 155 pounds by exercising and making healthy food choices.

Jess originally started exercising at a community REFIT® class, and that gave her the confidence to exercise in public. She started exercising at the YMCA when it was “the center,” starting on the treadmill during her lunch breaks.

“I developed the habit that lunch break was work out time,” Jess said. “And I got comfortable with the regulars that were also in the Y during this time.”

With her changing schedule, she now modifies her workout times, some days exercising as early as 6 a.m. or as late as 8 p.m.

When the new Y opened, she tried out new exercise equipment, including the cross arch and the indoor walking track.

“I really enjoy the view and the feeling of going someplace while remaining free from the elements,” she said.

Kim and Jess also enrolled in the YMCA’s women’s only weight-lifting class and began exercising together after that.

“I had been wanting to get into weight lifting but had no idea where to start and perhaps, like many, was afraid I would hurt myself,” Jess said. “Working out with a friend made me not cancel plans. You can talk yourself out of anything but if you know someone is waiting for you, you feel more dedication to the work out. You also have someone to look forward to seeing. It pushed me not to miss a workout because I didn’t want to get too far behind in the progress either.”

From losing weight to becoming stronger, Jess said the YMCA has been a great help on her journey to better health.

“The Y helped me lose over 80 pounds and will hopefully help me with the last 30,” she said. “I am able to do so much more in my life from simple things like keeping up with friends when we go for walks or sitting in a booth at a restaurant to bigger accomplishments like staving off high blood pressure and making sure I have good lipid levels and that I am not developing early diabetes.”

Kim said the Y has been essential in helping her keep her weight off and continue on her journey to better health.

“And, it’s not just the physical part of exercise. It also helps your mood,” Kim said. “It’s a huge stress reliever. It changes your mindset while you are there.”

She is grateful that her employer – Gothenburg Health – encourages her healthy lifestyle by paying for her YMCA membership.

“I think it’s great for a community our size to have a YMCA, and I hope people take advantage of the opportunity we have,” she said.

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