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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MINOCQUA - Every year thousands of kids go hungry. 

On Saturday nearly 600 volunteers from the Northwoods decided to help feed some of those children. 

The "Food for Kidz" organization, invited people to Lakeland Union High School, to help package non- perishable goods.

 The packages will be donated worldwide and to nearby food pantries.

Within the past eight years volunteers have packaged one million meals.

 Last year was the first year the organization started donating to local food pantries. 

This year volunteers will give 30,000 meals to the Northwoods community.

"It's just the recurring exuberance of the people that come in and do the packing we have many, repeat people that come year after year," said "Food for Kidz" Co-chairman John Breiten. 

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BOULDER JUNCTION - Nearby Fire Departments often rely on each other when they need extra man power. 

On Saturday firefighters from around the Northwoods came together as one. 
"It's vital to have that community bond between the fire departments," said Arbor Vitae Fire and Rescue Chief Mike VanMeter.

The bond between local departments led to a rare training opportunity. 

"Being able to share an opportunity like this is vital," said Boulder Junction Fire Department Chief Matthew Reuss. 

A donated house in Boulder Junction was lit on fire so that the fire departments could practice structure training.  

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Attorney General Brad Schimel said more people die from accidental drug overdoses in Wisconsin than from car crashes.

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MINOCQUA - By the time most of us finish breakfast, we already start planning what to eat for lunch.

For some kids all around the world, that next meal sometimes never comes.

The Food for Kidz Minocqua committee will lend a helping hand to change that Saturday morning.

Lakeland Union High School's common area will transform into a full-blown assembly line.

Food for Kidz volunteers will pour and pack ingredients into plastic bags.

The goal is 175,000 packed meals.

Food for Kidz needs more volunteers by tomorrow to meet that goal.

"If you haven't experienced this, come out and try it and you'll go away with just a great feeling," said Food for Kidz co-chair John Breiten.

Kids and adults of all ages are welcome to walk in to volunteer.

The food packages will be shipped off to anywhere from Honduras to Mozambique.

Some special meals will be set aside and sent to local communities in the Northwoods.

"It's just a great, fun community event. I think the kids especially take something away that they are giving beyond themselves," said Food for Kidz sponsor and Lakeland Union High School Spanish teacher Karen Roerich.

Walk-in volunteers are welcome to attend either packing shift tomorrow morning.

The first shift is from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The second shift is from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

If you can't make it out to Lakeland Union High School Saturday, donations are always welcome.

Call John Breiten at 715-686-7570 for more info.

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