Coni Cassity has worked for the City for 22 years. She started in Libraries, then went to Parks & Rec. For the past 10 years, she has worked at Water. Below is Coni’s successful story, in her own words, at weight loss.
“I’ve been obese since I was a child. I can’t even count the number of diets I’ve tried over the past 40+ years. I’ve always been able to lose weight fast but keeping the weight off was something I always failed at, gaining it back even faster. This down and up cycle continued until I was well over 300 lbs. My Nurse Practitioner agreed that it was better to remain a constant weight than continue the yo-yo dieting so I stopped trying to lose weight and just accepted myself as I was. I managed to remain a stable weight for nearly 10 years but as my 50th birthday approached, I starting having more difficulty moving. Climbing a single flight of stairs would leave me breathless and light headed.
In March of 2017 I started having a lot of trouble walking due to arthritis in my knees. I was in such pain that I thought surgery was my only option but because of my size, surgery was dangerous. In June 2017 I received a disability placard and began physical therapy to prepare for what we all thought was inevitable surgery. At that time I was 288 lbs., pre-diabetic, had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and trouble breathing. I signed up for Omada* and started the program in July 2017 in desperation to get healthy enough to have the knee surgery. The weight started to come off slowly, but part of me was still expecting to fail because I had so many times before. While the coaching seemed “corny” and all the lessons were things I’ve heard over the years, it was different this time. I wasn’t trying to lose weight anymore, I was just trying to stay alive. It was hard to make changes at first, but by starting slowly and building healthy habits and routines one week at a time, it’s no longer a struggle.
In June of 2018 I saw my Nurse Practitioner for the first time in a year. She was speechless. At that time I was 202 lbs. (I’d lost 86 lbs. in 1 year). While still obese, my bloodwork was all within healthy ranges.
I have added years to my life. All it took was making the decision to not give up on myself this time. I managed to take control of my self-destructive eating habits. With the encouragement of my Omada coach, the support of my family, co-workers and a promise to myself to not let myself down, I have continued to lose weight and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. I no longer need knee surgery since eating healthy, drinking more water and increasing my activity has reduced my pain to nearly non-existent. I walk at least 10,000 steps a day and have participated in six 5k runs. I have promised myself to bike into work once a week (3 ½ miles each way) during good weather. As of today, I have lost 115 lbs. I am continuing to eat healthy and remain active and will continue to lose the excess weight, but since losing weight is not my goal, it will not be a struggle. The more weight I continue to lose, the slower I will lose it until I reach a balance point. I’m excited to find out when that will happen.
*The Omada program is free to employees insured under the City’s Medica health plan. Visit www.omadahealth.com/saintpaul for more information and to take the quick, three question survey to see if you qualify. Employees new to Omada qualify to earn 75 points for completing the first nine lessons.