Success Stories

Looking for a little healthy motivation? Search no further!
  • Julie Ritzman
    Julie Ritzman 2016 Life Changer Award Winner

    “My journey to a healthier lifestyle and better well-being began in the fall of 2012. My first health screening at US Venture showed that I need to make improvements – I was close to 100 lbs. overweight. Then I was diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, a precursor to diabetes. I was afraid that I would become diabetic and follow in the footsteps of my parents, who are limited in their ability to walk and can’t travel well because of complications from diabetes. I realized that if I wanted to live a long healthy life, I needed to make changes – immediately.

    I needed to have a long-term plan that I could sustain for the rest of my life. I eliminated all processed foods and soda from my home, and on weekends, I prepare fruit and veggies and proteins for the upcoming week.  Then, I got active. A co-worker at US Venture convinced me to join the National Bike Challenge.

    I can still remember how long and painful those one- to five-mile rides were during the first few weeks. But by the end of the challenge, I led the US Venture team with the most miles ridden! Every morning, my day begins at 4:30 am with an hour-long bike ride, and since U.S. Venture offers a flexible workout schedule, I can also ride during the workday. I encourage others to join me on lunch rides every Wednesday.

    Today, I do a lot of long-distance cycling and will be completing my first bike across Wisconsin (SAGBRAW) in August. I’m in better shape now then I was when I was in my twenties, and I’m grateful to US Venture for offering a well-structured wellness program that provides the tools and resources to make healthy choices. Using the Healthy Associate Reimbursement program at US Venture, I’ve been able to purchase two new bikes over the last four years. In addition to biking, I also work with a personal trainer to build a program for both cardio and strength training. I’ve used multiple trainers and continue to train over the winter, when I am not outside cycling.

    At the start of my journey, I was close to 100 lbs. overweight. Within two years, I had lost more than 90 lbs., and have maintained that weight loss. I am now focusing more on building stronger core muscles to sustain my fitness.  My new healthy habits have influenced my family members, as my husband has also successfully lost 50 lbs. and both my son and daughter have joined gyms and workout on a regular basis.”

  • Al Tiu
    Al Tiu

    My activity tracking device is a game changer. Ever since I started counting my steps and logging my activities, I have been inspired to do what I always wanted to do. I became more proactive, taking every opportunity to challenge myself, visit different places around the globe, and experience new adventures. Just to name a few, I have braved and finished the Honolulu marathon in Hawaii, crawled in the caverns in Shenandoah Valley, run around the paths in New York City’s Central Park, explored the Acropolis in Athens, toured the ruins in Pompeii, walked the streets of Paris…. And we’re not done yet, no sir! This year, I am going to climb Mount Fuji, walk the Great Wall of China, and explore the base camp of Mount Everest. We all strive to live better every day with less stress, to smile more, and to have a happy life. So why not pick up an activity tracking device and start living like a rock star?! And don’t leave home without it.

  • Cal Wood
    Cal Wood

    Three years ago, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I suspect my story is not much different than many others afflicted with the same disease. It was quite a shock to say the least. The doctor said I would have to be on medication and perhaps insulin the rest of my life and I would have to make some pretty severe life changes. I was overweight, but not obese. I met with a dietician and they recommended a 75-carb-per-meal restriction and at least 10,000 steps per day. I took this on as a challenge – that’s just my personality. I started to shed pounds and after one year I lost 60 pounds. With my newfound health and overall wellness, I decided to train for the American Birkebeiner, a 32-mile crosscountry ski race. With perspiration and determination, I finished in 6.5 hours, batting snow and cold temperatures. As the snow melted, I decided to participate in the Minnesota Ironman bike ride a few months later: 100 miles on the bicycle. It turned out to be another tough race, as weather conditions were not favorable, but I managed to ride the entire distance in 6.5 hours. It is a delicate balance of monitoring glucose levels and carb intake but my healthy life style has kept me off medication and insulin for 3 years now. I continue to eat healthy, workout daily, and look forward to the next adventure.

  • Ruthie Leavy
    Ruthie Leavy

    Starting out at over 200 pounds, I didn’t think much about my weight when I first joined my company’s well-being program. When I discovered I was diabetic, I knew I had to do something to make both a physical change and a lifestyle change. So I started a weight loss journey. I was told I had to start taking meds for diabetes and that I had high blood pressure. I knew I had to be serious about getting healthier, so I started going for walks and building up endurance. I also started eating lots more fruits and vegetables, drinking more water, and cutting out soda. I was told I could have a wellness coach who would give me suggestions and help me monitor my weight loss. After a losing a few pounds, I kept telling myself “YOU CAN DO THIS!” And I was well on my way. Weight started coming off and is still shedding. Because of such a drastic change in my eating and my determination to stay focused on my end goal, I have reversed the diabetes and high blood pressure and am no longer on those meds.  Not only that, but I am 55 pounds down with about 20 more to go. It’s so great hearing people say, “Wow you are looking so good!” I am very proud of myself and thank the school district of Beloit for joining this wonderful program that has not only changed my life, but the lives of others as well.

  • John Begin
    John Begin

    My father died from colon cancer at age 63 and had been living with diabetes for 7 years before he died. I was 27 years old and not yet a father. My children (17, 14, and 12) are growing up without ever knowing my dad. After years of physical inactivity and a diet full of carbs and sugar, I chose to make a change this year – more, regular exercise and a healthier diet. My company’s well-being program and have been instrumental in keeping me on track, motivated, more active and living healthier. Since I started using my activity tracking device, I have lost 15 pounds and have seen my blood pressure improve significantly. I feel better, sleep better and am much less stressed than I was before. My family has noticed the difference and has encouraged me to keep making positive gains. I am motivated to continue on my journey – and to be healthy, active and alive for many years for my wife, my children and, someday, my grandchildren.

  • Tracy Buro
    Tracy Buro

    Seven months ago, I had a baby, was working in a stressful and intense environment, and found myself too busy to make time for anything. When I joined my current organization and enrolled in it’s employee well-being program, I found a renewed sense of motivation and inspiration to better myself. The program influenced me to pay attention to areas in my life that I was neglecting, mainly my diet and exercise, but also things like stress and sleeping patterns. I was an avid yogi and cyclist pre-baby and the well-being program has motivated me to get back into it! I now do yoga daily (sometimes twice a day!). I returned to bike commuting, I’m eating better, and all of these things have had an immense impact on my overall wellbeing and happiness. I have more energy to play with my daughter and I’m sleeping better at night. I’m a happier person to be around both at home and at work! I get points for participating in fulfilling and healthy activities, and my points give me the opportunity to keep doing them! Win / win! Overall, I feel great and my company’s well-being program is to thank for all of the positive changes I’ve made and continue to make. Thank you!

  • Mike Stehno
    Mike Stehno

    As I continue to be active with work in the healthcare vertical, I have had to prioritize my busy schedule. Assisting my aging parents has been a top concern, as well as my health and my relationship. I have added many valuable cardio, fitness, and better eating habits to my regimen. I have managed to lose ten pounds this month. I have cut out sugars, baristas, cookies, chips, and others, and have found I have a stronger desire to eat healthier, bring home flowers, walk the dog, go to the gym, run, cycle, rollerblade, hike, row, and use the stairmaster. I even sleep better, which gives me that extra boost and energy to stick to a plan. The results are easy to obtain and it gives me the drive to stay on course. Even my vision has improved, along with my blood pressure and cholesterol. Now I move with more energy and gusto, which enables me to get more done each day.  I have always gone to the gym, but I now know there are others ways to be healthier, too.

  • Dana Reinhart
    Dana Reinhart

    When I first started tracking my steps, I was shocked by how little activity my days actually contained. I set a daily step goal and participated in all of the challenges that encouraged me to go even farther. Since that first week using my company’s well-being program, I have run a 5K race and two 10Ks (under an hour each!) and it now feels weird to run fewer than 10 miles a week. I have put most of my newfound energy to work at the local non-kill dog shelter, exercising the dogs who need it most (those who need to lose weight and those with really high energy). Five of my favorite canine running partners have been adopted, and the others are living much healthier and less stressed lives at the shelter while they wait for their forever homes.

What People Are Saying:


  • "When my family, friends and co-workers ask, how did you do it? I say to them, get rid of the idea of this being on a diet.  It's a life change.

    - Daniel Enriquez
  • “I feel stronger than I have in years and people have noticed. I think my increased fitness and health is even lighting the fire in my family and friends.”

    - Tracy Lemieux-Bartz
  • "I have made many positive changes at home as well. We make healthier choices. We eat a lot of vegetables and use coconut oil to cook with now.”

    - Cristie Rhoades
  • "Not only have I influenced my family, but now my co-workers are taking the pledge to get into a healthier lifestyle.”

    - Ronnie Guest