Team member loses 90 pounds: "It helps when a lot of us are in it together"

posted on Monday, March 11, 2019

Kelli Bregar

Quite a few team members at the WesleyLife Network Support Center in Johnston have been working to improve their well-being over the past several months. A common motivational thread is Kelli Bregar, Home Health Intake Coordinator, who has been unwavering the last couple of years in transforming her health through weight loss.

"I had been up and down weight-wise most of my adult life, and I was ready for a way to lose weight that would be sustainable," Kelli said. "I wasn't ready to jump right into something; I wanted to do my research because I wanted something that would work for the rest of my life. I wanted to understand the science behind whatever I was going to do."

Kelli had lost weight previously through the popular Atkins diet, but found it difficult to follow and ended up regaining the weight. Her research into low-carbohydrate nutrition plans led her to the Ketogenic, or Keto, diet* -- a low-carbohydrate, high-fat plan that places the body into a metabolic state called ketosis, allowing it to burn fat more efficiently.

"Keto is more about healthy fats, so for the first time on a weight-loss plan, I actually wasn't hungry," Kelli said. "I felt full and satisfied all the time. When that happens, it's not hard to stick to what you're doing."

The result of her dedication: a weight loss of 90 pounds -- a loss she has easily maintained the last two years.

"Maintaining is harder than losing, but I'm usually able to stay within five pounds of my goal," Kelli said. "I'm pretty vigilant about weighing myself and paying attention to how my clothes fit. It's easier to nip something in the bud and lose a few pounds than to get back into my old habits and have to lose it all again."

Kelli said in addition to the obvious benefits -- lower blood pressure and cholesterol, increased energy -- weight loss has led to emotional benefits as well.

"I'm in my late 40s and hormones are an issue, but I find that I handle everything better now," she said. "Before, I had a harder time dealing with my frustration. Now I'm able to reason things out a little better. I just consistently feel good."

After two years on Keto, Kelli said she can hardly remember what she ate "before." Now, her go-to snacks include avocados, vegetables roasted in olive oil, tomatoes, broccoli. cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Favorites are pepperoni, celery with cream cheese, and nuts.

"It's not magic -- I eat things I really like, but portion control is still really important," she said. "I have to be mindful all the time of what I'm eating. I'm human and there are times I spend a day or a weekend eating things I shouldn't. But one of the best things about Keto, for me, is it's never hard to get back on track right away."

Kelli said she believes success in weight loss is all about readiness; like many people, she wanted to lose weight long before she was ready to commit to doing so. She can't put her finger on what caused her to take the plunge, but she's grateful she was able to make it work. She also credits WesleyLife with helping her to stay on track.

"I get a lot of encouragement here, and the fact that we focus on health and wellness makes it easier to find things I can eat when we have food days or potlucks," she said. "My co-workers have also done really nice things like bring in cheese and crackers instead of cake on my birthday. Weight loss is hard, but so rewarding, and it helps when a lot of us are in it together."

To learn more about WesleyLife's health and well-being offerings, contact Shannon Draayer at or (515) 271-6766. 

*WesleyLife does not endorse and is not affiliated with any particular weight-loss plan or method. Before starting any weight-loss or exercise plan, please obtain approval from your healthcare provider. 

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