It isn't very often when the biggest losers are the biggest winners, but that was certainly the case in the 2013 Lifestyle Challenge, co-sponsored by the Regional Wellness Center and Avera Holy Family Hospital. They were assisted by the Emmet County Wellness Coalition.
The top winners in individual percentage of body weight lost were:
n Ronald Ziemer, first.
n Abbi Nitchals, second.
n Mike Nieland, third.
n Lori Keeler, fourth.
n Pat Johnson, fifth.
Ziemer received an Adidas gym bag and extras plus a $100 RWC gift certificate while Nitchals received a gym bag and extras and $75 RWC gift certificate.
Nieland received the same prizes along with a $50 gift certificate and Keeler and Johnson received $25 gift certificates.
Top winners in exercise minutes, and all winning an Avera bag and entry fee to the 2014 Lifestyle Challenge, were:
n Lynn Trompeter, first.
n Bob Brunskill, second.
n Pam Caboth, third.
n Abbi Nitchals, fourth.
n Elaine Prust, fifth.
Johnson, Ziemer and Stacey Nelson, of Team Johnson, took first in team percentage weight loss, each earning an Avera bag and Planet Heart gift certificate.
The Ladies of Leisure, consisting of Carrie Anderson, Julie Anderson, Rhonda Hansen, Margaret Loock and Sue Tostenson, placed first in team exercise minutes with each team member receiving an RWC bag and free class in the Spring II session.
So what was the secret to the winners' success?
"Diet and exercise," said Johnson. "And the motivation of the team. It's a good support system. I went down a few sizes."
Johnson said she will definitely participate in the 2014 Lifestyle Challenge.
She found the timing of the Lifestyle Challenge good too - starting right after people made their New Year's resolutions. She's also glad for the continuing weigh-ins, but also wishes the Challenge could have continued for another 12 weeks, or, "where you had to answer to that scale every week."
"You watch what you eat and you exercise," said Ziemer, who lost 79 pounds - over a pound a day. "I watched what I ate and I exercises almost every day."
Ziemer agreed that the team helped.
"You had people there for moral support," he said.
Nitchals, a member of Waist Removal, said it helped to count calories, making sure that what was going in was equal to or less than what was going out.
"I'm a firm believer that I'm not going to deprive myself," she said, noting that she kept a food log.
As an RWC instructor, Nitchals had the opportunity to work out every day except for weekends - which helped. She also agreed that the team helped.
"It's fun to go through stuff with people who know what you're dealing with," she said.
Keeler said the team Waist Management gave a lot of support too. She said they used an online website to track exercise and calories.
She said the RWC classes helped a lot too.
"Their support this year was just wonderful," she said.
Keeler's advice to 2014 Lifestyle Challenge participants is "to really use the RWC and all the resources out there" and to rely on team support.
The top five teams in percentage of weight lost were:
n Team Johnson, 14.08 percent.
n All I Do is Gain, 10.42 percent.
n Waist Management, 10.02 percent.
n Waist Removal, 7.80 percent.
n Gonna Be loser, 7.70 percent.