The annual Lighten Up East Texas regional weight loss challenge encourages people to enter for various reasons.  For some, they decide to enter because they want to eat healthier, become more active and live a healthier lifestyle. Others may register so that they can reduce my blood pressure, get off medications or to keep up with their kids and their activities. Earlier this year, several participants were asked why they chose to enter Lighten Up East Texas, and to share their success stories for everyone who is planning to enter the 2018 version of this weigh loss challenge.

1) Why did you decide to 'weigh-in' and enter "Lighten Up East Texas"? 

 

“I have been making life changes over the past 2 months and it all started

when I entered this contest in 2015” - Carrie Turner

 

“It was time to lose some pounds for a healthier me.  Not knowing my

family medical history was a motivating factor" – Wendy Ewing

 

2) Please describe the ways that you changed your daily habits? 

 

“I concentrated on portion control and trying to add exercise.” - Carrie Turner

 

“I was much more aware of what I put in and started cutting out Dr. Pepper

and Doritos.  I spend 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours per day in the gym lifting and

doing cardio.  Many days, that's tough since I'm a junior high assistant principal, but I decided I just have to make the time.  I have so much more energy than I used to” – Chad Miller

 

“I completely stop drinking sweet tea and sodas. Instead, I started drinking water all day and with my meals too (8-10 cups a day). I eat a breakfast bar in the morning and If I have a craving for a snack during the day, then I eat some fruit.  For protein, I eat either grill chicken, salmon, or tilapia with steamed vegetables or a salad for lunch.  For dinner, I eat a fruit salad or veggie salad” – Vanessa Vicente

 

“Portion size eating.  A much healthier diet including baked fish, chicken.  Lots of spinach.  Cottage cheese and kiwi fruit.  No fast foods anymore!!!!” – Wendy Ewing

 

3) Has your participation influenced any family members or coworkers

to change their lifestyle habits and choose to make healthier decisions? 

 

“Several members of my family have reduced their weight through healthier

eating habits.  My coworkers are also making great strides because we talk

about food prep and ways to curb temptations” - Carrie Turner

 

“I was able to use our school as a weigh-in location for Lighten Up East Texas,

so I put it out for all of our school district teachers and staff to participate.  

As a district, we lost 336 pounds.  That's amazing!” – Chad Miller

 

“Yes, I’ve been told by family and friends that I’m an inspiration to many. 

So winning the gift of losing weight has made me healthier and I can share

this with my friends and coworkers.” – Wendy Ewing

 

4) If your ‘current self’ could give words of encouragement to your ‘past self’ before you entered Lighten Up East Texas, what would you tell your ‘past self’? 

 

“Don't stress over one bad workout.  Just keep motivated and continue to push yourself.  Keep away from those sugary soft drinks!  You don't need them.” – Chad Miller

 

“The journey of getting up and working out early mornings, doing Zumba in the evenings, and walking the park has been very rewarding and not tough at all.  It’s a great feeling in seeing the results now and I don’t want to stop.” – Wendy Ewing

 

5) What advice would you like to offer to anyone entering the next Lighten Up East Texas? 

 

"Start with your worst habit (mine was drinking soda)! Stop doing that and

replace it with something healthy (water). Give yourself small goals

along the way.  I started with giving up soda, then giving up added sugar,

then pasta and high carb foods.” - Carrie Turner

 

“Just start.  Once you do, you will not regret the results.  The first week is

always  the hardest, but get through that soreness and keep pushing yourself

to improve.  And EAT RIGHT!” – Chad Miller

 

“Don’t give up on a healthier you!  Keep pushing and the reward of

a healthier you will defeat any excuse!” – Wendy Ewing

 

“Don’t try to change your entire world in a day." - Carrie Turner 
 

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