With January slipping by, is it getting harder to keep that New Year’s resolution of moving more and eating less? If so, the new GET FIT! LAKE CHELAN challenge may provide the boost you need.
Lake Chelan Community Hospital (LCCH) is partnering with Ben Higgins of Chelan, who started GET FIT! LAKE CHELAN last year, as well as other local businesses, to expand the community weight loss challenge. This includes nutrition and fitness workshops, weekly raffles, blogs, cash prizes and the opportunity to collect GET FIT! points by participating in fun fitness activities.
The challenge isn’t just about losing weight, said Brad Hankins, LCCH Chief Operating Officer. It’s about being healthier and more physically active. When participants have their initial weigh in and measurements at LCCH, they will also receive a free blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol screening. They will receive another screening at the conclusion of the challenge. Those tests, combined with weight loss, body fat reduction and participation in GET FIT! activities, will determine the winners.
“But all participants will be winners,” said Hankins. “The medical screenings will uncover important health information, and the nutrition and fitness workshops will provide tools to success.”
The GET FIT! LAKE CHELAN challenge begins in February and has three start dates, each ending 90 days from the initial weigh-in and screening. People can participate as both an individual and on a team of four.
Everyone who completes a screening will receive a GET FIT! LAKE CHELAN t-shirt and those who lose five percent of their weight or body fat (either as an individual or as a team) will win a sports pack. GET FIT! LAKE CHELAN also encourages friendly competition between area businesses and community members.
“Partnering with LCCH is going to take the GET FIT challenge to a new level and make it more available to the public,” said Higgins. About 50 people participated in two sessions of the program last year, and the GET FIT team anticipates an increase in 2012.
The team has invited local health and wellness businesses to participate by offering free or reduced-rate activities to GET FIT participants. They hope the free screenings, workshops and friendly competition will spark a community interest to lead a more active and healthy lifestyle.
We’d like to get local restaurants involved too, said Higgins, so that people could choose GET FIT healthy options when they dine out in Manson or Chelan – or even take healthy cooking classes.
Higgins’ fitness journey became eight years ago, when he had a serious medical scare. His cardiologist told him that he was lucky to be alive and that he could either change his lifestyle or die. “I was a very bad example at the time,” said Higgins. “I ate way too much, and I ate food that was bad for me.”
Higgins took his doctor’s advice to heart. He started walking. The first day he made it around one downtown Chelan block. The next time he tackled two blocks. Before long he was walking three to four miles a day three times a week, which crept to five days, and now Higgins walk every day. “I haven’t missed a day in over seven years,” he said.
When Higgins went back to his cardiologist a year after his medical scare, the doctor didn’t recognize him; he had lost so much weight! Higgins felt better too. “I enjoy life more,” he said, “and I can do things I couldn’t do before. Being more fit made life better for both me and my family.”
After enjoying his improved health and energy for a few years, Higgins decided he needed a little extra motivation. He also wanted to help others get healthier. “I’d seen the show the Biggest Loser,” he said, “and I thought it would be fun to start something like that here, but with no one getting thrown out.”
Higgins bought t-shirts, put up prize money and paid for participants’ first month gym memberships. The program was a success. Not only did participants lose weight, but the motivation helped Higgins stay fit. When he went out, people asked him how far he had walked or how much he had eaten that day. He got on the radio every Monday morning and reported his weight. “Good, bad or ugly,” he said. “And it made me more accountable.”
While participants in GET FIT! LAKE CHELAN certainly won’t be expected to report their weight in the media (all information is confidential), Higgins hopes the challenge will encourage them to eat better and move more. He knows from experience that physical health makes a big difference in life. “When I feel good physically, it makes everything else seem better too,” he said.
Lake Chelan’s hospital is excited to partner with Higgins and looks forward to promoting wellness in the community. If you are interested in joining GET FIT! LAKE CHELAN, you can register for a free screening time at LCCH by calling 682-3300. The first screening dates are Feb. 15-16, followed by Feb. 22-23 and Feb. 29 – March 1. They will be held between 7-9 AM, and participants must be fasting for 12 hours prior to screening. There will be both men and women screeners available.
Visit www.getfitlakechelan.com for more information, recipes and blogs by community members. You can also visit the challenge’s Facebook page at facebook.com/getfitlakechelan.
Organizer and sponsors of GET FIT! LAKE CHELAN so far are Chelan Realty, Yogachelan, Heartfelt Fitness, Chelan Red Apple, Manson Red Apple, England Chiropractic, Take Shape for Life, Lake Chelan Network, LCCH, KOZI, Chelan Printing & Signs, Chelan Fruit, and Chelan Fresh. Other area businesses who would like to participate are encouraged to contact Agustin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 682-3300.