MARSHALL - Most people gain five to 10 pounds during the holidays - but around 50 Marshall area people have lost weight.
The eighth annual Get Into Fitness Today program started Nov. 7 at the Marshall Area YMCA. The program, sponsored by Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center, Pioneering a Healthier Marshall, Schwan's LiveSmart, Kmart, Anytime Fitness and the Marshall Area YMCA, ended Jan. 7.
The GIFT program is a community-wide program - they don't have to be YMCA members, said LaVae Anderson, the health and wellness director.
Photo by Karin Elton
Jeremy Wieland poses with fellow GIFT participant Sonya Kayser at the Marshall Area YMCA aerobics room. The two won prizes for being top losers.
"It benefits the whole community," she said.
The program encouraged people to complete 60 challenges in 60 days. The team and individual that lost the most pounds or inches received prizes.
Anderson said 152 people signed up, 100 were measured and weighed, and 46 or 47 came back to get weighed and measured. They lost a total of 160 pounds and 170 inches in two months.
"And that's over the holidays," said GIFT participant Jeremy Wieland of Marshall.
Wieland and his wife, Heidi, were YMCA members but needed to kick their fitness routine into a higher gear.
"We were working out, but not as much as we should have," Jeremy Wieland said.
In addition, he said, they were in the habit of watching a little too much TV. The GIFT program gave them the extra push they needed. With the program, they "ate better, were cooking better," he said.
Their oldest daughter naturally lost weight because of the healthier food choices her parents were making.
"The oldest lost six pounds," he said.
"You have to model good habits," Anderson said. "It has to begin at home."
Sonya Kayser had been working out since September but joined the GIFT program for the challenge and to try different exercises. Since September, Kayser has lost a total of 38 pounds.
Both Wieland and Kayser said they feel better after becoming more fit and losing weight.
"I have more energy and I have small kids to take care of," Kayser said. "I had knee problems and this helped my knees."
"Typically people sleep better, they're not as hungry and don't eat as much," Anderson said. "If you don't eat as much sugar and processed foods, the cravings go down. (A healthier lifestyle) also relieves stress."
Jeremy Wieland said the program made him try things he wouldn't have before including recipes such as turkey chili and different exercises. He joined in a Zumba class, something his wife will continue to do and bring their daughter as well, he said.
"At first, I decided to participate in the GIFT program in order to support my husband on his weight loss adventure," said Heidi Wieland. "Once I got going into the program, I really enjoyed the classes I was taking, particularly the noon classes."
"Heidi said to me 'I didn't even know you had these classes,'" Anderson said.
Jeremy Wieland lost 32 pounds and Heidi Wieland reduced her silhouette by six inches.
Another winner, Melanie Pallansch, lost 20 pounds. She "gave up all pop and alcohol," Pallansch said, and "started tracking calories I was consuming."
Anderson said it doesn't matter what the food is - "carbs, protein, fat" - if you eat more than you burn, you'll gain weight.
"The bottom line is calories in, calories out," she said.
The Wielands stayed on their regimen not only through the holidays but on vacation too. They traveled to California where the calorie content is right on the menu, Jeremy Wieland said, making it hard to avoid.
"I'm a big burger fan," he said. "But when it said 1,200 calories for ground beef and only 500 calories for turkey or 600 calories for chicken - that was eye-opening."
Getting in shape is only half the battle - staying in shape requires dedication too, something Heidi Wieland is continuing to do - and involving her co-workers at Wells Fargo as well.
"I will be continuing my workout journey having created a 'Biggest Loser' challenge at my work," she said. "There are a few of us that are doing weekly weigh-ins, working out together and swapping recipes."
Pallansch also joined a wellness team at USBank to "bring nutrition and fitness education to other employees" and she has joined the Y to "stay on my journey," she said.