ST. MARYS –The newly expanded 2023 MEGA Grand Health Challenge will double the time available for those wanting to lose weight and get fit, according to Grand Lake Health System organizer Stefanie Westgerdes.
The MEGA version runs for ten months beginning the week of January 9. During the period, participants will do monthly weigh-ins and participate in planned activities, with the greatest losers gaining cash prizes.
But the deadline to apply, Jan. 4, is fast approaching. Complete information can be found at their website, grandlakehealth.org, or by contacting Westgerdes either at 419-394-6132 or sloweryjtdmh.org. The information is also on their Facebook page. The cost is $5 per person.
Westgerdes explained, “Our new MEGA health challenge, which lengthens the program from five to 10 months, will help participants maintain their weight and fitness almost all year, with a two month break at the holidays.” She added the original five month period is now the SEMI Finale. Grand Health has been running the five month program for 16 years.
For those who want to go for the entire 10 months, maintaining the weight loss can result in a MEGA Finale grand prize of $1000 for the first place team. The SEMI Finale first place team will receive a $250 grand prize. Several other team and individual awards will be given out for men and women.
“And yes, you are eligible to win in both Finales,” said Westgerdes.
In order to get started, each participant forms a two-to-seven person, self-named team, registers by Jan. 4 and comes for a mandatory weigh-in the week of Jan. 9.
Thereafter, Grand Lake Health has planned in-person educational meetings, starting with the Jan. 10 Kickoff meeting at the St. Marys Theater at 6:30 p.m. The speaker for event is Jordain Pauley, Human Resources administrator at the Dayton YMCA.
“Jordain will be sharing about his amazing weight loss journey, his plan for the future and how he got to where he is now!” said Westgerdes. Weigh-in’s are available there from 6 to 8 p.m.
Other educational meetings include a March 14 cooking demonstration and meal prep, a May 23 SEMI-Finale celebration recognizing winners for the first five months, and an August 8 St. Marys Kroger Tour to learn tips about healthy shopping. The Oct. 3 MEGA Grand Finale at the St. Marys high school auditorium will recognize top losers.
Mandatory weigh-ins will happen in January, May and September at a number of Auglaize and Mercer county locations, including Grand Lake Rehab & Wellness Center, Mercer County Health District, Wapakoneta Medical Center and YMCA’s in Minster and Celina.
On the other months, a person can do a weigh-in at home and report their weight via email, the ourweigh.in app or phone. People can also choose to come in-person to Grand Lake Rehab or Minster or Celina Y’s.
“Either way,” said Westgerdes, “Weights must be reported each month to qualify for prizes.” She said they no longer accept vouchers.
“Also,” said Westgerdes, “People may want to sign up for the 2023 Road To Fitness Challenge, which offers 15 walks and runs January to December to help with weight loss. Participants can earn up to a 190 points she said. The events range from an April Showers Walk to the Grand Lake Half Marathon to the Walk With Nature annual Fall hike.
The points can be applied for prizes like a water bottle for 50 points, 80 points for a T-shirt and entry into a prize raffle, or 120 points, which earns a pullover and entry into the prize raffle.
Westgerdes said there are some restrictions on who can participate in the MEGA program. Those who are pregnant cannot join and those with recent bariatric surgery are discouraged from participating. Children under 18 must have parental permission to enter.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.