Challenge sheds pounds, awards ‘losers’

ST. MARYS — Participants of the Grand Health Challenge and Grand Health Family Challenge are all “losers,” having shed more than two tons over the past six months.

Wapakoneta Daily News Publisher Deb Zwez announced Thursday night between the 51 teams in the Grand Health Challenge and the seven teams in the Grand Health Family Challenge that finished, 4,536.73 pounds were lost.

“If you do the math, 4,536.73 pounds were lost by the participants,” Zwez said. “That’s pretty darn awesome. Good job everybody.”

She applauded the work of all the participants.

“On behalf of the newspapers and the hospital, I do want to congratulate all of you for being a part of the Grand Health Challenge and for seeing it through to the very end,” Zwez said.

Shedding 163.6 pounds, or 19.37 percent of their starting weight, Tons of Fun — which included Kendra Stetler, Aaron Beougher, Carrie Gladhill and Doug Beougher — topped the list of losers in the Grand Health Challenge and took home the $1,000 first place prize.

“It feels great,” Stetler said. “We’re on our way to a new lifestyle, and we’re going to keep it up. Everyone has been walking and eating a lot better.”

Exercising is the key to the team’s success.

“One of the biggest things that everyone did was get out and move,” Stetler said. “Turn off the TV and get off the couch.”

The team walked and ran to keep active and leaned on each other for support. She said she hopes to continue her weight loss journey.

“I just want to keep on getting better,” Stetler said.

The Fabulous Four — which includes Christie Freewalt, Jeremy Freewalt, Jason Deitsch and Holly Anderson — took home a $500 prize for their second place finish in the Grand Health Challenge, losing 157 pounds or 16.98 percent of their starting weight.

Team members said they found success in maintaining their food intake and eliminating unhealthy items.

“No pop, no fat,” Deitsch said of what he eliminated from his diet. “Exercise was big, too.”

Christie Freewalt noted the journey had its challenging times.

“Around the holidays and Easter when there’s all the candy in the house from the kids,” Christie Freewalt said describing  the most challenging part. “We just threw it away.”

Beauty by the Bulk — which includes Fawn Sturwold, Jennifer Duterbaugh, Lisa Bontjes and Dawn Thrush — went home with $300 for third place, having lost 150 pounds, or 14.64 percent of their starting weight. The team members agreed that getting through the first month was challenging.

“Once we got that first month out of the way, it was smooth sailing,” Bontjes said.

The team took to phone conversations to motivate each other and shared food. They also weighed themselves on a regular basis.

“Every time you saw you lost a pound or two, it motivated you,” Sturwold said.

Of the 91 teams that started the Grand Health Challenge, 51 completed it, losing 3,924.53 pounds. Of the 20 teams that started the Grand Health Family Challenge, seven finished it, losing 612.2 pounds. The Carnivores — which includes Ron, Brigid, Aaron and Zach Hegemier — took home the $1,000 first place prize as the winner of the Grand Health Family Challenge.

Brigid Hegemier said the team was happy with the work they had done.

“It feels fantastic,” Brigid Hegemier said of winning the challenge. “It feels wonderful. Before we came today, we said ‘win or lose, we’ve won our life back.’ ”

Brigid Hegemier said her physician told her to get involved in the challenge for her health and her family joined with her. She noted the family began adding exercise to their daily routine.

“We added a lot of daily exercise,” Brigid Hegemier said. “I worked on the health food and gave it to them, too.”

The changes they made affected their way of life, Ron Hegemier

“It was a lifestyle change,” Ron Hegeier said. “We kept to the simple things.”

While the changes were challenging, Zach Hegemier noted the importance of pushing through.

“It gets easier,” Zach Hegemier said. “You just have to power through.”

The family plans to continue with their lifestyle change.

“We’re still working in it,” Brigid Hegemier said. “The journey has just begun.”

The Grand Health Family Challenge was possible through a grant from The Dannon Company, Zwez said.

“They presented a grant to the hospital, so Anne Larger and her team put together that program that allowed us to expand and adapt to the existing challenge to accommodate families,” Zwez said. “That grant allowed one prize of $1,000 given to the family that lost the greatest percentage of their starting weight.”