The Jamestown and Lakewood YMCAs have announced the New Year's Challenge wellness and weight loss campaign that will run for all of 2014.
This yearlong fitness program is available to existing members or new members joining the YMCA on New Year's Day, Wednesday, Jan. 1, from 10 a.m. to noon at the downtown Jamestown branch.
The program is based on completing weight goals throughout the year and includes monthly weigh-ins.
The Jamestown Area YMCA recently awarded free one-year memberships and a 50-inch big screen television to Lennart and JoAnn Liffner, who won the 2013 YMCA New Year’s Challenge. Mark Eckendorf, YMCA CEO, congratulates the Liffners, who lost a combined 127.6 pounds in less than a year. Jan. 1, 2014, is the start of the fourth annual contest.
"The YMCA is encouraging healthy weight loss that people can sustain over a year and more," said Mark Eckendorf, YMCA CEO. "This is the perfect program for those wanting a lifelong commitment to health and wellness and not just a quick fix."
This year, in addition to participants entering the challenge as individuals, participants will have the option to enter as a two-member team.
For JoAnn and Lennart Liffner, the winners of the 2013 challenge, the difference between staying the course and giving up was having a partner to support and motivate.
"Having someone with you, to motivate you and to hold you accountable, makes all the difference," JoAnn Liffner said. "If I didn't have (Lennart), I wouldn't have made it to the end."
JoAnn and Lennart lost 62.4 and 65.2 pounds respectively, and both agreed that the yearlong goal made the weight loss more manageable.
"Our goal was just to keep going, and the monthly check-ins kept us accountable for the entire year," JoAnn said. "We had less pressure on us to lose weight quickly and were able to make real lifestyle changes."
The entire experience and transformation has been very rewarding for the whole family.
"Near the end, we kept saying, 'Even if we don't win, we won,'" JoAnn said. "The Y gave us a sense of community. Everybody there becomes your support system and cheers you on."
One piece of advice offered from this year's winners: "Eat real food," Lennart said. "Don't snack, limit your sugar and eat food that you make yourself rather than something you pull out of a box."
For those participants who lose 10 percent of their body weight by Dec. 7, 2014, they will be entered into a drawing to win an iPad. If both members of a two-person team lose 10 percent of their body weight by Dec. 7, they will be entered into a second drawing for a pair of Kindle Fires.
Registrations for the 2014 program will also take place by appointment Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Jan. 2-4, at the Jamestown and Lakewood YMCAs.
The cost for the challenge is $30 for all YMCA members. To be eligible to participate, registrants must be 18 years of age or older.
During the month of January, the joining fee will be waived at the Jamestown and Lakewood YMCAs for all memberships.
For more information, please contact Meg Pickard at the Jamestown YMCA at 664-2802 or Donna Garvey at the Lakewood YMCA at 763-0303 or visit jamestownymca.org. The YMCA is a United Way agency.