Weight loss contest, services look to spark new healthy lifestyles

Weight loss contest, services look to spark new healthy lifestyles

by Sean Kimmons
U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public Affairs

CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Jan. 20, 2022) – It’s a new year to be a new you, and maybe even a leaner version of yourself.

The Yano Fitness Center plans to host its annual “Biggest Loser” competition, geared toward helping community members maintain a healthy weight and body composition through health education and behavioral change.

Starting Jan. 31, the seven-week competition will introduce up to 40 participants to weight-management strategies. The contest is free for active-duty military members to join, but costs $10 for all others. Prizes will be awarded to the winners of the male, female and active-duty categories.

“I think the real takeaway is just learning how to do things a little differently,” said Shannon Vo, lead health educator at the Army Wellness Center and contest organizer.

Participants will have full access to the AWC, including the “bod pod” system, a body composition test that determines the ratio of body fat to lean mass. Virtual classes and appointments with health educators will also be offered.

“Anything that we can do with tracking and monitoring helps us stay accountable and also helps us see the changes in the progress that we’re making,” Vo said.

Even when there isn’t a competition, AWC services are available to all Military Health System beneficiaries looking to improve themselves. Classes typically center on sleep, activity and nutrition as part of the performance triad, in addition to stress management and tobacco education.

For those hoping to trim down this year, Vo encourages them to have realistic goals and stay the course when results do not come quickly.

In last year’s competition, the top three winners lost 44 pounds all together, while 37 other participants lost a total of 60 pounds as some of them did not finish the entire journey, she said.

“They say it takes three weeks to build a habit, but it really takes longer to build a lifestyle,” Vo said. “Changes take time, and so within three weeks if they’re not seeing results then they might start seeing them in the fourth, fifth or sixth week.

“The idea of this program is to kick off a healthy lifestyle for the year, and there’s many more weeks beyond seven weeks,” she added.

Being health-conscious may now be even more important with the ongoing pandemic. Those who are healthy tend to fare better against the COVID-19 virus, Vo said.

“There’s not really a whole lot that we have control over right now, but what we do have control over is our own bodies,” she said.

While much of the competition will be held virtually due to safety measures, it can still provide the opportunity for participants to socialize and motivate each other, she said.

“We hope that [the participants] will find camaraderie amongst each other and build a support group to keep going after this competition ends,” Vo said.

Those interested in the competition can sign up at the Yano Fitness Center’s front counter by 9 p.m. on Jan. 30. For more information, call 263-4664/7980 or 046-407-4664/7980.

For appointments and additional details on AWC services, call 263-4073 or 046-407-4073.

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