Many city employees taking advantage of the city's Wellness Program

Diet plans and gym equipment are getting a workout these days, as many people try to stick to their New Year's Resolutions to get in shape.

For city employees in South Bend, there's an even better reason to stick with the program.

We have more on the city's Wellness Program, and how it's changing the lives of workers.

At 6 a.m., Mary Ann Myers hits the gym. It helps her stay trim after losing close to 110 pounds.

Mary Ann Myers, Lost close to 110 pounds, explains how hard it has been to lose weight, “I was pre-diabetic. The last time I went to the doctor I was 283 pounds. I figured the next time I went I’d be 300 pounds.”

IT Specialist Brent Hussung looked a lot different a couple of years ago too. He has lost nearly 100 pounds.

Both Brent and Mary Ann took part in the city's Wellness Program, and went through a series of health tests.

The results showed they were unhealthy and headed for trouble, unless they changed their lifestyles.

Meyers explains how much the program has helped him, “I feel so much better I didn't realize how bad I was feeling until I started feeling better. I can't say enough about the innovative program the city has I would not be here today were it not for the program.”

Connie Bryan, Nurse, explains how happy she is for both of them, “I am so proud of them.”

Nurse Connie Bryan works as a personal coach to hundreds of city workers enrolled in the program.

Bryan explains her philosophy of a healthy worker is a productive worker, “When you're feeling good you're energized and you're eating properly, exercising and seeing your doctor. You've gotten your high risk things taken care of, you feel better. If you feel better you're willing to go to work and do whatever you can to make that day productive.”

There's an incentive to join the wellness program. Workers get a break on their medical insurance premiums, and a free membership to Obrien fitness center. They can learn about healthy eating at seminars called lunch and learn.

Myers explains the many options they have at lunch,”We have so many great things the last lunch and learn we did healthy soups in the Crockpot.

Brent changed the way he eats, and exercises.

Hussung explains how his healthier habits have followed him to his work, “I actually use a stability ball as a chair for the most part. I wish more people would take advantage of what the city has offered. And take care of themselves so they can lead a better life.”

There are over 1,100 employees for the city of South Bend, and about 1,000 of them took part in the health tests and assessments last year.

Of that group, about 900 took part in the Wellness Program.

They're hoping their numbers will be even higher this year and, someday, South Bend can call itself one of the country's healthiest cities.

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