My name is Janet Cassidy and I moved to Bozeman almost 4 years ago.  When I moved to Bozeman I weighed 330lbs and was a type II diabetic.  I didn’t struggle with my weight, I just lived with it.  I was never a yo yo dieter I just enjoyed food too much! But as time went on I realized I was going down a road that would shorten my life.  About a year ago I noticed that the School District wellness department offered discounted memberships to local gyms.  The thought of going to a gym terrified me, I thought gyms only catered the already in shape, and let’s face it Bozeman has its share of healthy in shape citizens – very intimidating.  A friend of my convinced me to try the Ridge, I joined and was extremely impressed with the friendliness of the staff, the level of professionalism and the amount of equipment available.  When you are overweight living in a society that views you as “less,” entering into an exercise environment is scary; I was afraid of what people would think and how they would treat me.  I started just going every other day and using the treadmill.  After my first work out on the treadmill, I was proud of myself for walking for a ½ hour at 2.3 miles an hour.  Now I am capable of climbing Sacagawea Mountain and did so at the end of last summer.  I choose to work out that first day, but the Ridge was the reason I continued. I was amazed at the welcoming attitude and that gave me the confidence to keep going.   I am almost grateful that I got to experience life at my heaviest; I now get to be amazed everyday at what my body is now capable of.

As of today, I have lost a total of 137lbs from my heaviest weight and I am off all diabetic medication. I still have more to go, but I never dreamed that I could be this person, the person that goes to a gym every morning at 5:15am and every afternoon.  The one constant throughout my journey was going to the Ridge, I am shocked at how many of the Ridge employees and members have noticed my journey and have given me many words of encouragement.  As a society body image is so important to us, but we need to remember so is kindness.  It has taken the support of many people to get me here – friends, doctors, fellow employees, nutritionists and trainers, as the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, but in my case it took a village to make me healthy and for that I am grateful.

Way to go Janet!!!!!