Sign-up underway for ‘Lose weight in 8’ challengeHelp is on the way if your New Year’s resolution involves more exercise and better eating habits.
By: By Jeff Holmquist, New Richmond News
Help is on the way if your New Year’s resolution involves more exercise and better eating habits.
The New Richmond Vitality Initiative, in conjunction with JA Counter & Associates and HealthPartners, is offering a low-cost wellness challenge program for 2012 that individuals, families, businesses and organizations can get involved in. Called “Wellness Counts,” the effort is designed to provide access to online tools that will help individuals achieve their goals for weight loss, increased activity and eating right.
“Wellness Counts is your one-stop wellness shop,” said Linda Skoglund, owner or JA Counter, a New Richmond-based investment and insurance agency. “Everything is ready for someone or an entire business to participate.”
Wellness efforts can often be found in some workplaces, Skoglund said, but smaller businesses may not have the time or energy to get a program started. The Wellness Counts program will be perfect for them, or for families and friends who want to work together toward a healthier future.
“The hope is that you change the culture in your workplace or your home,” Skoglund said. “When you’re all in it together, you get encouragement to continue. It’s pretty tough to do it sometimes without the support.”
The year kicks off Jan. 22 with the “Lose Weight in 8” challenge. The program goal is to help each participant to lose one pound a week for each of the eight weeks.
For just $15 per person, participants can form teams of two to six people to sign up for the community-wide challenge. Registration is now open at www.jacounter.com for teams interested in being involved. The registration deadline is Jan. 13. Click on “Events” and follow the directions for signing up and paying for your team.
Each team will have access to an online tracking tool that is provided by HealthPartners, through its “JourneyWell” initiative. You don’t need to be a HealthPartners customer to take advantage of the program.
The tracking tool helps individuals follow their calorie intake each day, and also allows them to determine how many calories they are burning on any given day. There are also healthy recipes on the website, along with helpful health tips.
“The key is to burn more than you eat,” Skoglund said.
On March 17, after eight weeks, the team that loses the highest percentage of weight will win the $1,000 grand prize. The individual who loses the highest percentage of weight will go home with a $250 prize.
“I’m really excited out this,” Skoglund said. “We hope this helps a lot of people and helps us create a healthier community.”
Organizers hope to sign up at least 20 teams of four or more people to participate in the community effort.
“I think that’s pretty doable,” Skoglund said.
Even after the eight-week challenge is done, individuals who signed up will be able to continue their online tracking for all of 2012.
The second quarter challenge revolves around drinking more water and eating more fruits and vegetables. There will also be various mind and body challenges designed to promote individual wellness and fitness.
The third quarter challenge revolves around walking and will also be an online program. The “Walk to Key West” challenge will again be a team effort. Teams will keep track of their daily walking mileage and the first team to arrive in Key West (almost 2,000 miles) wins another cash prize.
Skoglund said the hope is that more people begin walking as a way to stay fit. Walking not only helps you lose or maintain your weight, it also helps you relax.
The fourth quarter challenge is called “No Guilt Eating.” Local workplaces will be encouraged to promote monthly potlucks where people will hopefully bring healthy dishes. Each participant will also be asked to provide the recipe for their dish. By the end of 2012, the recipes will be compiled into a “Vitality Initiative” cookbook and the sale of the books will help support the local non-profit organization.
For more information on the Vitality Initiative, visit www.nrvitality.com or visit the group’s page on Facebook.