‘New Year, New You’ challenge to help residents shed pounds

by Zacch Estrada-Petersen

Contestants from Chick-fil-A Mountain Island’s Summer Slim Down Challenge worked with area health-related businesses to develop healthier lifestyle habits. The restaurant is accepting applications for its “New Year, New You” challenge until Jan. 14. (Courtesy of Chick-fil-A Mountain Island)

For 12 seasons now, NBC has aired the hugely popular reality show, “The Biggest Loser,” where contestants from around the country vie to lose the most weight to win a hefty cash prize.

Meanwhile, in the Mountain Island community, the local Chick-fil-A, 9731 Callabridge Court, is aiming to do the same thing – on a much smaller scale, of course. The team of four area ‘Partners in Health,’ which also includes Mountain Island Fitness, Omni Wellness Center and Life Spring Chiropractic Clinic, is gearing up for the fitness competition ‘New Year, New You,’ a follow-up to last summer’s Mountain Island Summer Slimdown Challenge.

The summer competition featured five individuals competing on their own. The winter version features four teams of two participants each.

“We decided to do the winter event in teams so the participants will have a built-in support partner when the event is over,” said Jodi McKay, Marketing Director for Chick-fil-A Mountain Island. “We want them to view this as an opportunity for a true lifestyle change – not just a short term diet or weight-loss effort.”

To support the contestants, The Partners in Health have added an interactive Facebook element, where contestants update their progress daily with posts and pictures and receive feedback and encouragement from the community.

“People loved the online component that the Facebook page offered,”
McKay said. “They enjoyed cheering on the participants and watching their success. Residents of Mountain Island were able to surround the participants with a community of support. It was awesome.”

There are also bonuses for the Facebook followers. Each week during the challenge, the area partners post special offers for the community on the page, including free food from Chick-fil-A, free classes at Mountain Island Fitness and free wellness support at Omni or Life Spring.

The contestants’ weight loss and body mass changes will be monitored throughout the challenge; however, there is no specific winner or loser. Although they will receive support and products from area partners, the biggest prize is less tangible.

“They all win an opportunity to learn how to live a healthy lifestyle,” McKay said. “A chance to be supported through the changes needed to create a lifestyle that embraces good wellness choices.”

The challenge has a deeper purpose though.

“What we hope is that we bring awareness to health in our community,” said Dr. Darcey Ladner, founder of partner Omni Wellness Center, which specializes in chiropractic care, acupuncture and nutrition. “We want us to have the healthiest community possible.”

Ladner has been practicing in the area since 2004 – long enough to see disturbing health patterns that can easily be addressed.

“There is such a pandemic and epidemic of obesity,” she said. “We want to educate people that the body can totally take care of itself and heal itself once it’s put into the position to do so.”

Applications to participate in the ‘New Year, New You’ challenge are now available at any of the Partners in Health, and will be accepted from Jan. 2-14, with the teams being announced on January 21. The challenge runs through the month of February.

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