Challengers vow to continue lifestyle changes

Friday, May 16th 2008, 12:25 pm
By: News 9


This year's Metro Fitness Challenge comes to an end with a win for the Byler couple after losing a total of 5.4 percent of their combined total body fat.

"It wasn't uh, just to do it for the money, or the exercise bike, because for so long we've been overweight and have had the health problems," said Joshua Byler.

Over the last 12 weeks, cameras followed April and Kevin McCurdy and Chrystin and Joshua Byler on their journey to lose weight and get healthy. But they weren't on the road alone; the couples got the help of INTEGRIS fitness and health professionals throughout every step of the way.

"In life there are times when you got your act together and you're eating healthy foods, and life's whole schedule is working out for you, but anticipate you'll hit rough patches," said Karen Massey, INTEGRIS nutritionist. "It's okay. You just make the most of the situation and realize rough patches come but they also go."

The couples learned from Massey to go from cooking fried chicken and cheeseburger dinners to learning healthier habits like eating more fruit and vegetables to fill up. 

Along with nutrition, the couples incorporated exercise into their regimen with Nancy Shidler, Exercise Physiologist for INTEGRIS Health's PACER Fitness Center, and INTEGRIS personal trainer Liz Meade.

"This is a lifestyle change for them," said Meade. "As far as body composition, both couples have lost a lot of body fat and gained a lot of muscle."

The challengers said they really noticed the difference having someone there to cheer them on. 

"When you are on your last two and you don't think you have the strength to do it, she's there to pump you up and tell you you can do it," said April.

Besides losing weight and gaining muscle, the challengers felt a difference in their overall well being.

"I've also seen increased self esteem, increased energy; also decreased glucose levels (in the challengers)," said Meade.

Some of the contenders were also noticing lowered blood pressure and cholesterol. Kevin McCurdy, a diabetic, said his disease was much easier to manage after changing his eating habits and activity level. Kevin's diabetes could become so easy to manage, he might not need any more outside daily help, said Dr. Mary Ann Bauman.

"If they continue to lose (weight), they can actually...get off of medications," said the doctor.

According to the Center for Disease Control, the benefits of losing weight and becoming more active are numerous. Risks for heart disease, stroke, gall bladder disease and certain cancers are all decreased significantly when the pounds start melting away. But a lifestyle change does not mean the weight will come off quickly. In fact it could mean just the opposite, said Bauman.  

"You have to remember; you didn't put all the weight on in 12, 14, 20 weeks. You shouldn't take it off in that time. It needs to be gradual. It needs to be a lifestyle change," said Bauman.

The slow progress was a little frustrating at first for some of the contestants, but each challenger has lost significant amounts of fat in the end, said Meade.

"At first I was kinda discouraged, because I probably only lost a total of five or six pounds through the whole thing. But when I went to my doctor he said that was a great thing, because losing a pound a week is the way you are going to keep it off; because it's a healthy way to do it," said Christyn.

The challengers all said they were happy with their results and each vowed to continue their endeavors to lead a healthier and more active life than before the contest.

"I feel like getting up and doing things now. I'm going to keep the regimen up," said Kevin.