Julie Ritzman, U.S. Venture, Client Systems Analyst
Julie Ritzman has made some big changes in her life, thanks to support at work, a new bike, and determination.
In 2012, Julie was motivated to make lifestyle changes after being diagnosed with prediabetes. She saw what the disease did to her father and the challenges her husband faced, and thought, “I am not going there. Literally it’s like I drew a line in the sand and it was like I’m not going back, I can’t go back.” Julie said that is what keeps her motivated to eat healthy and exercise, even in winter.
Worksite wellness programs can also make a big difference in staying motivated. Julie is employed at U.S. Venture as a Client Systems Analyst. Unlike her former employer, U.S. Venture has tools to support wellness and the ability to purchase equipment. Every year, employees at U.S. Venture can get 50% back on purchases (up to $500) made on behalf of wellness goals. Julie said, “I started riding my old bike in the National Bike Challenge in 2012. In July, for my birthday, my husband brought me a new bike.” When Julie’s husband bought her a bike, Julie received $250 back from her employer. U.S. Venture has also created their own jerseys for employees to wear. Julie likes to get the U.S. Venture jerseys out in the community as much as possible, especially at events that U.S. Venture supports like the annual gourmet bike tour for Best Friends of Neenah-Menasha. Julie discovered, “Biking takes on a life of its own.”
Julie makes sure she is staying on track with her goals in a variety of ways. She packs a healthy lunch for work. She walks and exercises every day. She mostly cooks whole foods. Her philosophy when shopping for food is clear: if it is not a whole piece of food or if it is in a box, it stays at the grocery store.
To make things easier during the busy weekdays, Julie prepares her meals on the weekends. On Saturdays or Sundays she cuts up all fruits and vegetables. She then makes a few different types of proteins and quinoa, brown rice, or sweet potatoes to grab at mealtimes. The system works well for Julie and her husband and the variety of ready-to-go food helps them to mix and match meals throughout the week.
Julie knows that a big lifestyle change, like exercising and eating healthy, is a very personal decision. “You have to want those changes and decide. Because I know I used to use all the excuses like, ‘I don’t have time,’ or ‘I can’t get to the gym.’ At the end of the day you’re accountable for yourself.”