BCBSND Employee Loses 120 Pounds With Diet, Exercise And Determination

Duane Eckholm had been overweight most of his life, tipping the scale at over 300 pounds at his heaviest. Not anymore.

After changing his diet and exercise habits, he’s down a total of 120 pounds – the weight equivalent of a small person.

Making changes
Eckholm, a web project coordinator at BCBSND, had lost weight before, but it crept back on when his motivation waned. This time he had the help of his wife, Casie, who’s lost 80 pounds herself.

“Doing it together made it easier,” he said. “She’s the one who actually wanted to lose weight more than I did, so I was doing this more to support her.”

Together, the couple came up with a plan: Each chose a daily caloric goal and vowed to exercise every day except Sunday. They started with walking, then added push-ups and crunches. For the past few months, they’ve been taking classes at the Fargo Orangetheory Fitness.

While he’s building muscle in the gym, Eckholm still makes sure he gets his daily steps in. He can be seen walking around the BCBSND headquarters building during his morning and afternoon breaks.

“I went from like, no working out at all, to now I routinely will get anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours of physical activity a day,” he said. “At least half of it’s walking.”

The Eckholms stopped picking up fast food for dinner and started eating grilled chicken and potatoes. They found new, healthier ways to eat their favorite foods – hamburgers, pizza and pasta. They celebrate their milestones with non-food rewards like buying new clothes or video games.

“We were very adamant that we should not have ‘treat’ or ‘cheat’ days,” Eckholm said. “It’s a very slippery slope. One of the things we’ve always heard is that you shouldn’t reward yourself with food… I mean, that’s how we got here in the first place.”

Now that he’s got his routine down, he no longer tracks his food intake, but he does use a Fitbit fitness tracker to track his steps and heart rate. The data from the device syncs to both the Fitbit and HealthyBlue websites.

‘Just do it’
Duane’s advice for others?

“Don’t wait for the perfect time, because there’s never going to be a perfect time,” he said. “Whatever the change is – whether it’s losing weight or trying something new – just do it.”

Here are his other tips for reaching a weight-loss goal:

  • It takes motivation.
  • Make a plan and stick to it.
  • It takes continued determination.
  • When things stop working, change them up.
  • Find friends working toward the same goal.
  • Don’t forget to have fun!