Northwoods Residents Compete To Lose Weight To Gain A Healthy LifestyleSubmitted: 05/13/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray

Photos By Shardaa Gray

EAGLE RIVER - The Eagle River YMCA sponsors a program called "Y-Weight" every year.

Participants have trainers to teach them about good nutrition and exercise.

They also have each other for support... and a little competition.

Sounds a lot like The Biggest Loser, except the point of this program is slow, steady weight loss that lasts.

"I got into the program because I wanted to change for me." said winner of Y-Weight Competition, Debbie Heller.

Changing for the better are these people's goals.

"I didn't like who I looked like, what was taking place," Heller said.

"So I wanted to feel happy with myself and when you're happy with yourself it kind of leaps over into every aspect of your life."

"During this past year my husband became ill and had lost a lot of weight," Y-Weight competitor, Bonnie Kegley said.

"I was very proud of him and pleased with the progress he had made and decided I needed to do something as well."

But it's not an easy task when you're first starting out.

"You have to change the eating. You have to change the exercising," said Y-Weight competitor Dave Sadenwasser.

"You have to change the portion control and you really have to change the way you think and the way you go about everything. It's a total commitment of every asset."

Even though this was a competition to see who would lose the most weight, Heller says it wasn't about winning.

"It was about doing something for us. And that was the big difference," Heller said.

"You have to change too and want to change for yourself. You can't do it for somebody else or you ultimately aren't going to succeed."

You may not be doing it for somebody else, but having somebody else's support is important.

"You're going to build your friendships. Certain people are going to click with other people and I've seen friendships being built here that I think will last a lifetime," said personal trainer, Mandy Rottier.

"It's so important to build those friendships with people that are also on that healthy lifestyle journey."

The YMCA of Eagle River runs the 10 week program once a year.

But they are looking into expanding it for the summer time.

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