Kim Arnold, vice president of marketing and communications at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE), realized it was time to make a change when she started working in the building again last year.

“When I started coming into the office last spring, I started wearing real clothes again,” said Arnold. “Like a lot of women, my wardrobe for the last two years consisted of wearing comfy yoga pants most days.”

Her work clothes not fitting was evidence of the habits she had fallen into during the pandemic when everyone at BCBSNE transitioned to working from home.

“Yoga pants are very forgiving; they don’t tell you right away that you’re putting on weight,” Arnold said. “I was sitting a lot more than I normally would have, snacks were mere steps away and I wasn’t active as much.”

This was a problem that was affecting more than just her, and she knew she needed to get serious.

“My husband John was experiencing the same thing,” Arnold said. “We decided to do something together because when you’re living with somebody, if that other person isn’t watching what they’re eating and implementing healthy habits, it’s really hard to stay motivated. “

The Arnolds decided to search for a program that would provide structure and keep them accountable. But most importantly, that it was easy to incorporate in their daily lives.

“It’s important to pick a program or plan that is easy to follow, fun and enjoyable,” said Arnold. “We decided to try the Profile by Sanford program. It focuses on healthy carbs and proteins. Lots of veggies. You eat little meals throughout the day so that your metabolism stays up. You’re burning calories more efficiently.”

After starting the program, the Arnolds focused on healthy eating and being more active.

“It was one of the reasons why I came back into the office early,” Arnold said. “I needed to start using the Wellness Center again to get my cardio in.”

Kim has been with BCBSNE for more than 37 years and has seen how wellness has evolved within the company.

“When I first started, there was no onsite wellness facility,” she said. “I remember at some point we had a small room with some physical fitness equipment and some cardio stuff.”

That all changed in 2011 when BCBSNE moved into its new location in Aksarben Village and a wellness facility was created for all employees to use 24/7.

“I’ve loved how BCBSNE has invested more and more in employee wellness,” Arnold said. “Because it really does pay off for so many people, myself included.”

During the height of the pandemic, in-person workout resources weren’t available, but Arnold was able to take advantage of the Wellbeats app. Offered by the company as a substitution for in-person group exercise classes, she had access to over 1,000 fitness classes led by a team of certified instructors.

“During the pandemic, I really enjoyed the Wellbeats videos,” she said. “They carried me through. I’m not a natural exerciser, and I needed someone to help me.”

Kim appreciates the emphasis BCBSNE places on employee wellness.

“We don’t have an excuse not to try and take care of ourselves or get in shape,” she said. “It’s free, and not a lot of companies make so many employee wellness resources available for free. I just think that’s awesome.”

The Arnolds found success with their new habits and have lost a combined total of over 95 pounds together.

“I’ve lost almost 30 pounds since last June; it’s made a remarkable difference in my energy and outlook,” Arnold said.

New clothes keep Kim motivated to continue her journey with exercise and the Profile program.

“I had to buy a bunch of new clothes because of the weight I lost,” Arnold said. “I like the new size, and I don’t ever want to go back to the old clothes. This has been a huge motivator for me.”

Kim and John recently took a trip to Boston and hiked the 2 1/2-mile Freedom Trail without worrying about their stamina and ability.

“We realized that it would have probably been a lot more difficult if we had done it last year when we were both carrying more weight,” she said. “It’s stuff like that, that just gets easier when you’re at a healthy weight and getting regular exercise.”

For those thinking about making a wellness change, she recommends starting small to others who want to make a change in their health and well-being.

“When I started my renewed commitment to weight loss and fitness, I didn’t expect to hop back on the treadmill and start running right away,” Arnold said. “I started by walking and getting back to the elliptical. Once you see results you want to do more, because it feels good to feel good.”

To read more stories like this one, visit Health and Wellness.

*Wise & Well is a monthly wellness series highlighting BCBSNE employees and their dedication to health and wellness.