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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EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River hosted its 36th annual Cranberry Fest during October's first weekend.

Organizers say the weather this year brought in many more visitors.

"People come to this whether there's good weather of bad weather," said Executive Director of the Eagle River Chamber Kim Emerson. "And with this year being great weather, we had above-average crowds and it was just spectacular. We're so happy about that."

By 3 p.m. Saturday, the World's Largest Cranberry Cheesecake had already been devoured. Sales of slices go towards the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin. 

Organizers said they also almost sold out of cranberries, but they said they would still have more to sell on Sunday. 

There were also dozens of craft vendors, food and wine and cranberry marsh tours.

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RHINELANDER - Harvest Hoedown started Saturday at noon at the Woodpecker Bar and Grill in Rhinelander.

The event had a hay maze, horse drawn carriage rides, food, and live music all afternoon.

"I think it's going great. We got a little sunshine right now. We got probably a couple hundred people here. People are buying food, spending money. It's what we're after," said Rhinelander Area Food Pantry Executive Director Guy Hanson.

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NEKOOSA - People in Nekoosa could go back in time this weekend.

Volunteers at Pointe Basse recreated a historical camp portraying lives of people from the 1700s and early 1800s.

Volunteers from all across the U.S. all had a piece of history to share.

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WOOD COUNTY - Two people who stole a UTV led police on a wild chase early Friday morning. Friday night, those suspects were still on the run.

The Wood County Sheriff's Office tells us a sporting goods store owner walked in as the burglary was happening, just before 7 a.m. The suspects took off in a red Dodge pickup truck pulling a trailer with the stolen UTV. They crashed through several gates to get out.

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MERRILL - Firefighters need to be prepared to rescue people from more than just fires.

People can get trapped in tree stands, water, or a tight spot. 

Local fire departments respond to those emergencies.

Merrill's first Citizen's Fire Academy learned about these specialized rescues Thursday night.

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RHINELANDER - A Wisconsin brewing company executive wants businesses to hire more veterans.

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RHINELANDER - Swiping your credit cards could soon be a thing of the past.

Businesses across the country are switching to a chip card reader for credit and debit cards.

Credit companies say the new system will help cut back on fraud.

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