Friday, April 19, 2013

A Deeper Look at the Lose-a-Ton Challenge

Sometimes being labeled the biggest loser is a goal to strive for. The title, while often used to convey a negative connotation, can also be positive, courageously earned through a hard-fought, tough as nails challenge to completely change your life. Recently, over one hundred people participated in the Middlesex YMCA’s Lose-a-Ton of Weight Challenge with the hopes of doing just that. Ed Curello and Shannon Hodge set themselves apart from the rest of the hard working participants and were honored as the individual winners in the weight loss challenge.

Their individual reasons for taking part in the Lose-a-Ton challenge may have differed, but their goals and measures taken to reach them ran parallel. Shannon, a mother of two children from Portland, sustained a back injury that restricted her ability to exercise for six years. She underwent a spinal fusion in May and shortly after began her much anticipated return to working out. Her first foray back into the world of fitness included the Hip Hop class held here at the Middlesex Y, and she immediately found herself in love. With the help of the Lose-a-Ton program, Shannon progressed from there, joining more classes and feeling more comfortable with each one. Her new workout schedule not only helped her to reach her healthiest, most fit state, but also virtually eliminated any remaining pain in her back and legs.

Ed found himself wanting to take part in the challenge because of his self proclaimed “love for eating”. He came to the realization that he needed to make some lifestyle changes and Lose-a-Ton was the perfect opportunity to do so. With the support of his wife, he connected with Coach Lee and became a proud member of his Lose-a-Ton team. His first love had always been biking, completing many long distance charity rides, including his first 100 mile ride last year in Chester to benefit the Special Olympics. During the Lose-a-Ton challenge he decided to explore incorporating running into his workout plan in addition to his cycling and has worked his way up to running 6 miles.  He found himself in a routine he enjoys; staggering cardio and aerobic exercise with racquetball and other group activities with the Y’s other “early risers”.

The benefits Ed, Shannon and all the other participants worked so hard to attain extend well beyond the visible weight they shed. Both are now in consistent exercise routines they enjoy and look forward to every day. They are happier, more energetic and feeling physically great. They both stressed how crucial it was in their weight loss journey to be part of a team, to have a coach and group of people with the same goals, and to hold each other accountable. The underlying beauty of why the Middlesex Y’s Lose-a-Ton challenge was an overwhelming success is summed up perfectly by the words of Edmund Lee; “surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself”. Losing weight is a daunting challenge when you try to take it on alone, but when people come together it is amazing what they can achieve. Congratulations to Ed, Shannon, and all of the other participants that took a positive step towards reaching their weight loss goals! 

Lose-a-Ton participants taking place in a special boot camp class together!

                                                             Hip Hop Dance Party!

Shannon and her biggest fan, Cassi!


                                                  Winner Ed, 30 pounds lighter!

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