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You've lost weight — now what?

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Check out UNMC's five tips for a healthier lifestyle.

KEARNEY, Neb. — After you’ve lost the weight, then what?

Kelsey G’Schwind, a personal trainer in the wellness center at Kearney’s Good Samaritan hospital, has an answer that makes a perfect New Year’s resolution: Stick with healthy eating habits and get adequate exercise.

She’s heading a program that will begin at the center in February. The program’s focus will be developing healthy eating habits — including ample fruits and vegetables — and tips on how to live a healthier life.

Registrants will get regular one-on-one time to talk about nutrition with G’Schwind.

“It’s not necessarily about counting calories,” G’Schwind said. “I will suggest healthier options in place of members’ favorite foods. I’m not a registered dietitian, but with this program, people will get nutrition information and the help they need.”

While this nutrition program will be separate from the center’s personal training program, members of the wellness center who already are working with a fitness expert will get a small discount on it.

Members can join one or both programs, G’Schwind said, but “we really want clients to pair the nutrition and personal training programs to get healthy and stay healthy.”

G’Schwind, who has worked in the wellness center for a year, graduated from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where she majored in health sciences with a minor in nutrition.

A certified personal trainer, she knows how the body functions and how its major muscle groups work. She is eager to work with people who want to lose weight, tone their muscles and stay physically fit.

“I know the ways to help people get the body they want,” she said.

The nutrition program won’t be an actual class but personal sessions with G’Schwind. Those who sign up will meet with G’Schwind in her office to discuss what they eat and how to create healthier meals. “We’ll talk about substitutions, fruits and vegetables, even sizes of meals,” she said.

“People should generally limit eating out and include lots of fruits and vegetables. They need to watch how many calories they are taking in versus how they are expending those calories, mainly with exercise,” she said. “Nutrition and activity go hand in hand.”

The cost has not yet been announced.

G’Schwind knows about struggles with nutrition firsthand. Growing up in Lexington, “I wasn’t taught about the right amount of food until high school,” she said. “One day a week, our athletic trainer taught us about proper nutrition and proper hydration in order to be successful and reach our top performance goals.”

Those sessions left an imprint on G’Schwind, who is an active athlete. She played softball for 10 years and dabbled in track, volleyball and basketball.

She went into personal training “because I was once a beginner, too. I had to learn what I should do to meet my specific goals,” she said. “I felt like this was a field where I could help people fall in love with their bodies and find joy in exercise like I do.”

She enjoys her work at the Wellness Center, a place that she thinks has “a family feel. From the moment you walk in,” she said, “the members always say hello and never make you feel like an outsider.”

G’Schwind thinks this is the perfect time to launch her new program.

“I believe this will help people live a healthier life, especially now, during the COVID pandemic. Some people don’t realize their bodies need so many fruits and vegetables to be healthier and to stay heart-healthy,” she said.

“People look at healthy food and say, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to spend more money,’ but if you plan ahead, you don’t. A lot of people buy unhealthy foods because they think they’re cheaper, but they’re not,” she said.

Even those who are physically active or join a gym want to know what foods to eat, she said. “Not a lot of people have that knowledge. I get questions.”

In the past year, G’Schwind has seen the improved fitness and health in many clients. “People tell me, ‘I can do this. It’s much simpler.’ Or, ‘I don’t have as much knee pain going up stairs.’ People realize that movement is so much easier,” she said.

Good Samaritan’s wellness center closed last spring because of COVID-19, but it reopened in June. Capacity has been reduced, and some equipment has been rearranged so members don’t work out too close to one another. If COVID cases continue to decline, G’Schwind thinks more people will return to the gym.

In the meantime, she is excited about the new program. With that and the COVID vaccines that came out this month, a healthier 2021 could be within reach of many people.

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