Issue 450: 2 / 18 / 2013

Employee Wellness Fitness Challenge Third-Place Winner Profile

Kathy Reel

Kathy Reel

This is the last installment of the four-part Southwest Employee Wellness Program Holiday Fitness Challenge series featuring a profile on third-place winner, Administrative Secretary for Police Services/Public Safety Kathy M. Reel. 

Southwest's Employee Wellness Coordinator, Cheryl Green, gave a rousing challenge for beating the holiday “trap” of over eating, poor nutrition, yet high calorie choices. I considered the four-week weight loss challenge and made my appointment for a biometric profile and weigh in.

 I made a goal to walk more, and to complete two one-hour workouts and one half-hour ab lab class each week.

I have date nights with my husband, Mark, and we support the NBA Memphis Grizzlies. On three occasions, I’d attended a fitness class at the Union Avenue Campus, changed clothes and met Mark at the Grizzlies game.

To attend my niece’s Christmas choir program, right after working at the Macon Cove Campus, I walked 45 minutes in the Nabors Gym. On my way out, I passed my fellow employees as they were coming in for Cheryl’s workout class.

I sing in worship choir at my church and we rehearse at 6:45 p.m. on Wednesdays. I made all of the boot camp classes, cleaned up and went on to rehearsals. Our Christmas musical had extra rehearsals which I made, and still did the boot camp class on the Macon Cove Campus. So priorities can be planned for; and exercise class was my priority from 5:15 – 6:15 p.m. I went to rehearsals more relaxed for having been in the fitness classes!

One of my goals was to increase my water intake. My challenge was to drink 8 glasses at work. I filled a 64 oz. pitcher with water at work each day to remind me to drink often.

As a lifestyle commitment, I take the stairs, not ride an elevator. I strived to walk more in the course of my day, i.e., part of my lunch break. I even walked to pick up food for lunch rather than driving there. At the Union Avenue Campus, a nearby scenic place to walk is Forrest Park, where I walked in tandem with another employee. A varied group of employees walked together briskly down Beale Street to B.B. King's Blues Club and back in 35 minutes! Another walking path was indoors – the Yellow Arrow path that Mary Nell Cook laid out several years ago. In pairs, employees have lapped the Vertie Sails Gym floor, while at other times walked on the tennis courts.

Knowing, I was in this weight loss challenge, pushed (encouraged) me to add more walking to my day and to evaluate the fat content of food choices I made. Having the boot camp classes was beneficial to my success, not only for the good workout of my entire body, but also for the camaraderie of classmates/ fellow employees. We encouraged each other and Cheryl kept us motivated in class and via emails.

 Words from Employee Wellness Coordinator, Cheryl Green —

"Kathy’s experience represents a unique diversity that should motivate everyone from the professors to the administrative staff to participate in employee wellness in some way. I admired the way that Kathy would have professional reports, projects and deadlines that often overlapped with the start of employee wellness class times, or family or church events that required her to leave a fitness class a little early, and yet she stayed consistent and did what she could. Kathy's story is an excellent example of how consistency wins the battle!"

"I am grateful that the administration e-mailed the four-week fitness challenge opportunity to all Southwest employees. The purpose of the fitness challenge was to motivate all Southwest employees, whether they chose to take the group fitness classes, workout privately, or exercise in other ways to increase exercise and watch their nutritional habits during the holiday season. I increased the number of group fitness classes offered during the four-week challenge to seven-days per week so participants could have more options from which to pick and choose their desired exercise formats. Furthermore, I taught all of the classes in an effort to show by example that it is possible to exercise enough to lose weight during the busy holiday season.”