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CMH Making a Real Difference: Personal Stories

“I like what I see when I look in the mirror. I definitely have more energy and endurance,” said Jason Reed, a busy line cook at Smokey Joe’s Grill in Chesapeake Beach after losing 9 pounds and 2.4 percent body fat as part of the KeepWell@Work program through Calvert Memorial Hospital.

The 33-year-old Dowell resident made major lifestyle changes after participating in the hospital’s wellness program at his worksite. Today, healthy eating and regular exercise are a vital part of his daily routine.

Calvert Memorial started the KeepWell@Work Program in 2006 to help local employers promote healthy habits among their workforce. Since its inception, the innovative program has continued to grow and each year more companies – large and small – are choosing to partner with the hospital. Last year, over 1,100 participants took advantages of worksite wellness services that ranged from biometric testing and health risk assessments to weight loss education and stress management lectures.

“The program really helped me stay motivated,” said Reed, who participated in a 12-week weight loss challenge with 24 co-workers at the Chesapeake Beach Resort & Spa. The worksite wellness program included weigh-ins once a week at shift change along with a nutrition and exercise presentation by CMH health educator and trainer Theresa Moran followed by an open discussion that allowed time for personal questions.

“We learned a lot through this as well about how to keep our employees happy and healthy,” said Human Resources Manager Evelyn Seamen. “We started doing healthier meals and now offer a salad every day. In addition, we opened up our fitness center for employees Monday to Thursday.”

Incentives were offered for weekly participation along with a $250 prize to the top female and male winner, which Reed claimed along with Donna Klein. At first, Reed said he was focused on winning the prize money but quickly became excited about how he started looking and feeling.

Before starting the program, the 5’11” Reed weighed in at 205. As a high school athlete he’d run cross country and played basketball but gaining 30 pounds left him winded and short of breath after spending eight hours on his feet.

What was the key to his success? “I start with a healthy fiber cereal with fruit for breakfast,” he said, “and I exercise in the morning before I go to work. It’s part of my daily routine.”

He also gave up coffee and quit smoking, after smoking a pack a day for 17 years. At lunch he has a salad with grilled chicken or fish. “I also bring fresh fruit for a snack when I get hungry and drink a lot more water.”

Now, Reed is paying it forward by inspiring his two younger brothers to start exercising.

CMH can design and implement a worksite wellness program that meets your organization’s needs and optimizes your employees’ wellness potential. For more information, call 410-535-8233.

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