After Weight Loss Challenge, man continues healthy lifestyle

BOISE - National Running Day is coming up this Wednesday, June 3.

To celebrate the day, the organizers of FitOne will open registration for the September race with a 24-hour special event at The Village in Meridian.

FitOne benefits the St. Luke's Children's Hospital in Boise.

As the FitOne campaign gets under way, the St. Luke's $10,000 Weight Loss Challenge is coming to a close.

This year-round program is designed to help participants achieve a healthy weight and lifestyle with the chance of earning some cash.

Craig Nelson took the challenge two years ago and has been able to keep the weight off ever since.

He'll be the first one to tell you that some weekly walks have changed his life.

"Two years ago I was 303 pounds and had diabetes and was crawling back and forth to the bathroom," he said "I couldn't even walk."

That's when he got together with clinical psychologist Dr. Amy Walters to help him get on a path to healthiness.

"We got together with the St. Luke's program ... got eating the right foods," Nelson said. "So far I've lost 96 pounds and have been able to maintain that for two years."

Walters started the "Walk n Talk" group about three years ago as a way to help those wanting to make a lifestyle change.

"We meet weekly, we spend the first half an hour talking about health, food choices, talking about ups and downs that they've experienced - and then the last half an hour we go for a walk on the Greenbelt together," Walters said.

The group will talk about what they've eaten over the past week and a possible healthier alternative.

For example, let's say you eat some Pop Tarts. Each pastry has 200 calories - so 400 in one package.

For the same amount of calories you can have a little bowl of non-fat yogurt, and about three and a half eggs.

"Just eating alone isn't the thing, it's a combination of things," Nelson said. "Amy has taught us that between exercise and eating changes you can make a big difference in your life."

Those just beginning the program can start small. For example, stopping at various park benches along the Greenbelt.

"This helps people get the jump start and start moving," Walters said. "They do that with a group of people and the encouragement helps them keep going."

And there is some added incentive to strive for that next benchmark.

"If they maintain the weight the weight that they've lost over the year then they can be entered into a drawing for some keep-it-off cash," Walters said.

But in the end, everyone wins.

"The real winner is the fact that you lose the weight," Nelson said. "So everybody that comes to the program, no matter what, it's a win-win scenario," Nelson said.


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