Employees get Energized: Kristie Ching

Basin Electric’s Intranet features several blogs written by employees. One, called “Energize,” is written by Nicole Perreault, graphic designer and multimedia specialist II.

She just featured Kristie Ching, an administrative assitant III at Deer Creek Station in Brookings County, SD. Read about what is motivating her to get fit.

Kristie Ching

Kristie Ching, Deer Creek Station.

When did you start incorporating wellness into your life?

I started in January of 2008 and then “restarted” in September 2013.

What motivated you to make your health a priority in your life?

In 2008, my motivation was the fact that I hated seeing myself in pictures. I often would make sure I was the one behind the camera, not in front of it. And my “fat” clothes were getting tighter and I refused to buy bigger clothes! My sister-in-law was working towards getting her certification to be a fitness trainer so I asked her for help, took my horrible “before” pictures and started doing what Angie told me to do. Six months later I was down 22 pounds just by exercising and changing my eating habits. Then life started throwing curve balls and I thought I could maintain my weight loss on my own. Well, that didn’t work and over the past three years I’ve slowly been gaining the weight back. I had done it before, so I knew I could do it again and this fall I decided to regain control and make permanent lifestyle changes.

How has your health, weight, energy level, etc. changed since you started living a healthier lifestyle?

When I’m exercising and eating healthier, I am much more active and I feel better mentally and physically. Someone recently said their morning workout was their “coffee.” This is such a true statement for me. If I get in my morning workout I’m mentally and physically ready for my day. When I miss that morning workout, I’m tired and I tend to make non-healthy food choices all day long, which just makes me more tired.

What was the most difficult part of changing your lifestyle?

The most difficult part was changing my eating habits. I have always been a very picky eater and I do not like vegetables, especially green ones! I love pizza, pasta and diet soda. I’ve learned that change is all about taking baby steps and for picky eaters like me, meal replacement/protein shakes are a must. I went from drinking three to four pops a day to one a week, if that. I’m slowly incorporating veggies into my diet and have found that celery is pretty good with peanut butter. I even tried broccoli a few times, but decided there are just some things I’ll never like. I use myfitnesspal.com to track my eating habits and have found there are many foods out there that say they are “healthy” but are loaded with sugar. The key is to find what works for you and stick with it, even if it takes six years.

Why do you feel it is important to eat healthy and workout?

I want to be here to see my kids grow up and have families of their own. Over the past few years I’ve lost two uncles to heart attacks, my aunt had a pacemaker put in at age 60 and my mom has had her share of stints put in. Very recently I lost my stepdad to a massive stroke. Losing someone close really pushes home how short life really is and we need to take care of ourselves so we can enjoy life. That can be difficult when you’re tired, have a lack of energy, or are dealing with health issues. Healthy eating and exercise are key components to living a happy life and being around to spend time with loved ones.

Describe your weekly workout routine.

I start every morning with a 30-40 minute workout in my home. I follow pre-designed workouts by various fitness trainers (Holly Rigsby, Insanity, P90X3, Jillian’s Body Revolution, Angie’s Fat Blasting Boot Camp, Turbulence Training). I live and work 16 miles from the nearest gym so it’s essential for me to have all I need in the comfort of my home. I also walk a mile during break at work (yes, I put on the hard hat, steel toe shoes and hearing protection just for a walk!). I use my Fitbit to help keep me moving and get in 10,000-20,000 steps a day.

What is your favorite workout?

P90X3 is definitely my new favorite workout. Holly Rigsby is also one I always go back to because her workouts are designed for busy moms.

Do you have a family? Any children? Pets?

My husband and I have two boys ages 10 and 15, a German Shepherd named Murphy and a handful of barn cats.

How have they responded to your healthier lifestyle?

My dog Murphy is my biggest support. We go for walks and bike rides and she is always in the basement with me when I do my workouts in the morning. If I don’t get up she will walk around the bedroom making noises until I get up and then she leads me to the basement! My husband is happy that I’m incorporating more veggies into our meals and he’s recently started watching what he eats and giving suggestions for healthier meals. My youngest son has turned into a label reader asking how much sugar is in the different foods he eats or he’s asking if something is good for him. My oldest son? He’s just as picky as me, if not more, so it might take him a little longer.



Are you involved in the community, hobbies, clubs, etc.?

Right now my time is focused on the kids’ activities and finishing my master’s degree at South Dakota State University. In the summer I enjoy camping with friends and playing golf.

How did you find time to incorporate exercise into your schedule?

I had to make it a priority. In the beginning, I scheduled my workouts in my planner and checked them off like I did all to-do lists. Over the past five years there were many times when life got in the way and I didn’t exercise. One year ago a friend invited me to participate in a Facebook slimdown challenge. At the time, I only wanted to lose five pounds so I decided I didn’t need it. Well, 11 months later I was another seven pounds heavier. So, I joined the fall slimdown challenge and it really helped hold me accountable. The support from the group was amazing. Most recently I joined the P90X3 challenge led by a few Beachbody coaches, including our very own, Jeremy Woeste. I have found the online support groups are great and just what I need to help keep me on the right track.

What is your advice for other employees looking to improve their overall health and wellness?

Just pick one thing you want to change and start there. Small changes now will lay the groundwork for bigger changes tomorrow. Find a support network, whether it’s an online support network or a group of friends to work out with, having someone to share in the journey helps keep you on track. Just keep moving!

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