Fort HealthCare is in its sixth year hosting the county-wide Slimdown Challenge. With each year, more and more people are inspired by the progress they see within themselves and that of others. This year, we highlight a 2016 winner, not only winning a prize during last year’s Challenge, but also achieving personal health goals. To Amanda Price of Fort Atkinson, the Slimdown Challenge was the spark she needed to bring her from a state of unhappy and lethargic to strong and healthy.
“I am one that always knew what I ‘should’ do, but also felt intimidated to get started,” says Amanda as she reflects on how she felt exactly one year ago. What you may not know about Amanda is that she was just shy of starring in the Biggest Loser, and after following directions by gaining 25 more pounds, she still did not make it on the show.
Feeling defeated and depressed, Amanda "felt like she was wearing her disability on her sleeve" and was engulfed by her bad behaviors: fast food every morning before work, mindless eating while driving, guilt piling up after overeating, and thinking that none of it would ever change. She felt the need to rebuild her confidence. So, she set out to participate in the Slimdown Challenge.
The Challenge is designed not only to track weight loss in the short term, but also promote positive change long-term. “The length of the challenge is what really helped me stay on track,” Amanda recalls, “as I kept thinking ‘this is the week I am probably going to give up,’ I didn’t give up. I was proud of myself and then didn’t want to stop, I just kept going and kept feeling results.” Eight weeks of the Challenge provides enough time to form a habit with the likelihood of sticking with it by the time it comes to a close. At that point, the participant has the ownership, education, and skills to be consistent thereafter.
Along the way, Amanda learned to love the process with the help of her tools like the MyFitnessPal app. “I never felt like I was on a diet. I didn’t restrict myself; instead I planned for it and accounted for it. It was all about making small changes and working towards a lifestyle change.” She became more aware of the effect that foods had on her and the options that were better for her. Looking up the fat and calorie content of her food before she ate it and ordering extra vegetables instead of extra cheese soon became habits. She treated exercise not as a punishment, but as something that made her feel better, leading her to explore weight lifting and later a motivation to beat her personal record each time.
Since April 12, 2016, the first day of the 2016 Slimdown Challenge, Amanda reports a total weight loss of 125 pounds, over 4,000 miles logged on her bike, and 324 days of tracking her food - and counting. She feels more energized, happy, and especially grateful for the support of her communities. “If I could write a love letter to the city of Fort Atkinson, I would. I was out on the bike paths every day last summer, logging 20 miles on my bike per day, and even got to know others who were out there being active too.”
Price also gives credit to Anytime Fitness and Two Rivers Bicycle & Outdoor of Fort Atkinson, fellow Jefferson School District employees, the MyFitnessPal app, and Fort HealthCare for her continued motivation and success. "I have found myself planning my life around physical activity rather than fitting activity into my life; now it's non-negotiable. Instead of sitting and wishing, I am doing the work and enjoying it."
The Slimdown Challenge is just one tool, with many more out there to inspire you to find what will work for you. After the Challenge, Amanda continued weighing in on her own once per week and remained accountable for eating right and exercising even over the holidays. “Today I overeat and that’s ok, but tomorrow I work harder and eat better,” proving that her mindset has experienced a vast difference within the past year. Amanda wants others who are struggling and uncomfortable to know that the journey can be challenging, but the tools are out there, and every bit is worth it.
The 2017 Slimdown Challenge runs from Tuesday, April 11 through Tuesday, June 6. Amanda will be participating again this year and truly hopes that everyone will take advantage of the free opportunity. “I want to motivate more people and help them realize what they are capable of. Of course I struggled at first and it was hard on my body to work out, but I learned how amazing our bodies are and how easily it can adapt. Once you get a taste, you’ll keep wanting more.”
To learn more about this year’s Challenge, visit FortHealthCare.com/Slimdown.