SPOONER -- Today we're sitting down at our favorite coffee shop, The Dock, talking to a life-long Spooner resident, Heather Salquist.

You might know her from the Spooner schools where she worked for fourteen years, or you might recognize her from posts on Facebook talking about her dramatic weight-loss.

Today she's drinking The Dock's Minnesota Mudd coffee which she now takes black instead of the very creamy brew she used to drink.

So, Heather, share your successful venture into losing so much weight.

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had issues with my weight. It’s been a pretty sensitive subject for me. If anyone said anything to me about my weight, I would really take it to heart. In high school, I remember someone important to me saying something about me being fat, I went home and decided that I was just not going to eat anymore. I would go 3-4 days without eating anything, only drinking diet pop. My friends, teachers, coaches, and family would tell me I looked anorexic. It wasn’t until I passed out a few times and was found lying on the floor after hitting my head pretty badly, that I went the other direction. It was from one extreme to the other for me. I started packing on the pounds. I eat when I’m happy, sad, or mad, you name it! I swear I’ve tried every diet under the sun. Couldn’t even begin to tell you how many times I was starting my next diet on Monday. In 2008, I had gastric bypass surgery, I lost 118 lbs. But when you go back to eating the same way you used to, that weight is going to come back. I gained back 46 lbs. I was miserable. My friend, Dr. Brenda Reidt, has been talking to me for a couple years about a program called Ideal Protein. It seemed a little spendy, so I just disregarded it, saying I couldn’t afford it. But then in August 2016, I’d had enough. I was just plain sick & tired of being miserable all the time. I made up my mind. This is it. I’m going to do it and I’m going to stick with it. I called Brenda and got set up with the Ideal Protein Program. It has totally been a life changer for me. It has been the easiest plan I’ve ever been on, I feel in control, and am learning to eat better and make better choices. To date, I have lost 162 lbs, hit my goal weight in 45 weeks, less than one year – an average of 3.6 lbs/week!

It's been said that a good support system is a key to not only losing weight but staying on the program. Who was yours?

Dr. Brenda Reidt, my coach and more importantly, my friend, has been the biggest support through all of this. She is amazing. Shortly after I started the program, she was diagnosed with colon cancer, she continued to worry about coaching me. After beating that, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, still – she was right there supporting me. My dad was also a huge support system for me, cheering me on the whole time. I checked in with both of them each week to report my weight loss. There is also a group on Facebook that I belong to that is a great support system by answering questions, no matter how silly you think they are, sharing recipes, sharing their stories, before and after pictures, and discussing the changes we are all going through. One woman who had been on the Ideal Protein even created a cookbook using the Ideal Protein foods, so you can eat bread, sweet desserts (made with vegetables).

There are always rough parts along the way with any weight-loss program, so where were they for you?

Ideal Protein is a ketogenic diet. So basically it is normal protein and low carb diet, not high protein. I had to cut out major foods that I was used to eating. Sugar, fruit, dairy, bread, and alcohol. Had to learn not to look at the just the nutritional facts on food labels, but to look at the ingredients. Did you know there are over 60 different words they use for sugar? There is even sugar in table salt! Instead of eating out or grabbing take out, I cook my meals at home. I could still eat out once in a while, but cooking my own food, I knew what I was eating. After not eating sugar for a while, that sweet tooth actually goes away. Not saying that I didn’t crave some chocolate every once in a while.

Obviously losing over half your size you've had to deal with clothing issues and comments pro and con from friends and family. How have you handled these and how has your life changed because of your weight-loss?

Clothes. YouTube was a great resource for me. I learned how to take in jeans. Shopped at consignment/ second-hand shops. Shopping is still strange for me. My entire adult life, I shopped in the plus size section of the stores. Even today, I still head for that section. When I go into the regular section, I feel as though people are looking at me and thinking, “Why is she over here?” My head hasn’t caught up with my body yet. It still amazes me that instead of looking for a 3x/4x, I’m looking at M/L. Most of my friends and family have been very supportive through this. There are a few that tell me that it’s not a healthy diet, but I can’t remember when I felt this good. My doctor was shocked when I went in for an appointment, she walked in the office, stopped and stared at me with her mouth open and then said, “Oh my gosh Heather, I need to give you a hug!” I am a lot more active now, and I attend bootcamp, go snowshoeing, go walking/running, and am more willing to try new things.  This summer I’m hoping to work up the courage to go zip lining.

Because so many people followed your progress, you mentioned that you have a following of sorts and what is your challenge for them, and you this year?

Back in December, I was thinking of some ways to save some money. So I thought that I would set a goal on walking 1,000 miles in the year 2018. For every mile that I walk, I’ll put $1 in a bucket. If I walk more than 1,000 miles, even better! So I just posted that idea on Facebook and people really reacted to it. Had a couple of my friends tell me to start a group on Facebook. So I did! The group is called “1,000 Mile Challenge – 2018” and we have 140 members. It’s just a page where we can keep each other motivated, give ideas, and support each other. You don’t win anything, but you’ll have a little extra spending money at the end of the year. Anyone can join, there isn’t any type of fee involved. You can either walk/jog/bike – anything where you can keep track of miles. You don’t have to do 1,000 miles, maybe you only want to do 500 miles, whatever works for you. It’s been very fun so far!

If anyone wants to talk to me about the Ideal Protein program, or feel like you’ve gone through the same struggles as I have, please contact me at hsalquist@gmail.com. I love sharing information about the program. It’s easy to follow. It’s completely changed my life for the better. I’ve had a few friends start the program and have also had great success. In our area (Spooner, Shell Lake, Cumberland & surrounding areas) – there are 2 clinics that sell the products and support you with the program.

  • Shell Lake Chiropractic Clinic – 17 5th Avenue, Shell Lake, WI (715) 468-2275
  • Cumberland Chiropractic Clinic – 1175 Elm St, Cumberland, WI (715) 822-8989
  • Or call Dr. Brenda Reidt for any questions at 612-280-6932

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