BY TANA SUGGS
We received an incredible number of responses to participate in Suwanee Magazine’s Get Fit Challenge, and as everyone shared their compelling stories, the selection was a tough one. A big thank you goes to all who applied. The decisions have been made and we are happy to introduce to readers the winners of the challenge, who during the year will be making positive lifestyle changes right before your eyes. In addition to the overwhelming response from those wanting to participate as challengers, many area businesses have stepped up and will be contributing throughout the year. Follow the contestants journeys online at SuwaneeMagazine.com and in future issues of Suwanee Magazine.
Meet the six challengers you will get to know and
follow along with during the year as they strive to
reach their healthy lifestyle goals.
Michelle McShane Click Here to Follow Her Blog
Michelle will be working out at Gold’s Gym & Go Performance
Current weight: 200 lbs
Goal weight: 130 lbs
Georgia native, Michelle McShane is a new resident to Suwanee. A mother of two who works from home part time said she has battled her weight her entire life, but it really got “out of control” with her first pregnancy.
“Before my first pregnancy, I was in a size five,” McShane said. “I was somewhere in the range of 120 to 125 pounds.”
But due to some complications during pregnancy, McShane gained more weight than one would expect. And since gaining the weight, McShane has also had other health issues arise that doctors tell her can be alleviated with weight loss. After trying several diets, McShane still hasn’t found the solution and is looking to Suwanee’s Get Fit Challenge for help. She is calling 2012 to be a year of change for the better and has committed 100 percent to the program. She is motivated by the positive example that being a part of the challenge will have on her children and said her positive attitude will see her through.
“Being a part of the Get Fit Suwanee Challenge will truly be a life-changing experience for me,” McShane said. “From the moment I picked up an issue of Suwanee Magazine and saw the Get Fit Suwanee Challenge on the front cover, I knew that I had to be a part of it. I am so excited to join in on this wonderful opportunity. I’m anxiously awaiting the transformation of my health and my fitness level.”
Divya Desai Click Here to Follow Her Blog
Divya will be working out at Gold’s Gym & Go Performance
Current weight: 272 lbs
Goal weight: 150 lbs
Divya Desai said she felt like an angel showed her the way to the Get Fit Suwanee Challenge.
Wanting to lose about 122 pounds, Desai said she is in desperate need of help.
“I have tried many attempts in the past to lose weight but failed because no one was holding me accountable,” she said. And the challenge is just what she feels she needs to get her life back and to point her health in a new direction.
Desai said she has felt trapped and has avoided activities, people and even family, after having been subject to rude comments and ridicule by both family and friends.
Desai pointed out, “Would someone tell a cancer patient they will die in five years? Then, why me? I want to be cured.”
She said if selected for the challenge she would dedicate herself in order to change her health, to gain confidence and begin a new chapter in her life.
Now that she is a challenger, Desai said she feels being selected as a Get Fit Suwanee Contestant is probably the best thing that has ever happened to her.
“I finally feel that the dreams I have seen in past of losing weight, being healthy and living a normal lifestyle are finally going to come true with the help, the support, and the tools that Get Fit Suwanee is offering. I am very excited to begin this challenge and discover the new me.”
Bill King Click Here to Follow His Blog
Bill will be working out at Fit Forward
Current weight: 335 lbs
Goal weight: 240-260 lbs
Bill King is a 47 year old Suwanee resident who said he is ready to get rid of the belly and get healthy.
After growing up as a skinny kid, King said the weight started creeping up about 21 years ago when his wife was expecting their first child.
Now standing at 6 feet 4 inches and 335 pounds, King said the extra weight is wearing him out and affecting his quality of life.
He said that being a part of the challenge would help him set the example he wants to be to his sons and give him the energy to enjoy a shared passion for dirt bikes with his 14 year old. He also said he feels like his participation would be a positive influence for his wife as well.
When King sent in his submission to be a part of the Get Fit Challenge, he said he really didn’t think he would be chosen.
“When they meet me, they will see that I’m really not that big,” King said.
But King was surprised when he met with the selection team, and not only was he a serious candidate, but that he was asked if he thought he could lose 100 pounds.
“I was devastated,” he said adding that he has since come to grips with the fact he could lose the weight and has resolved to work at it every day until it happens.
“…I’m thankful for this opportunity.”
Erika Beckwith Click Here to Follow Her Blog
Erika will be working out Fit Forward
Current weight: 180 lbs
Goal weight: 120-125 lbs
Erika Beckwith, a mother of three, a professional development coordinator, a blogger and a host of an Internet radio show, leads a very busy life.
After the birth of her youngest child, three years ago, Beckwith said she has had a difficult time losing the 50 pounds she gained during pregnancy.
Having tried various diets with no success, she turned to Suwanee Magazine to be a part of the challenge.
“…I’ve tried shakes and pills and wraps,” she said in her video submission. “You name it, I’ve tried it. And I just haven’t been successful. So I need your help. I need to get my sexy back.”
But she also said it’s not about losing weight and wearing a smaller dress size. It’s all about getting healthy.
She called the Get Fit Challenge her last hope.
Now as a challenger, Beckwith said she is excited, and with help, she is looking forward to developing a fitness plan that will allow her to lose the weight and help her adopt a healthier lifestyle.
“I know that it is going to be a lot of hard work, sweat and maybe a few tears, but in the end I know it will all be worth it,” she said.
Ginny Wurttemberg Click Here to Follow Her Blog
Ginny will be working out at BLAST
Current weight: 215 lbs
Goal weight: 175 lbs
Ginny Wurttemberg said before her triplets were born, she was running two to three half marathons each year.
“I have never been skinny,” she said. “But I was at a very healthy weight, exactly where I needed to be.”
And she continued staying healthy and keeping her weight in check for the first two years of the kids’ lives, back down to her pre-pregnancy weight and keeping it off. Then life got in the way.
“Managing life with three 2 or 3 year olds was tough,” she admitted.
On top of that, Wurttemberg has Multiple Sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system.
Wurttemberg said she is ready to take on Suwanee’s Get Fit Challenge because of her need to be healthy for herself and her family.
“I want to show everyone no matter the circumstance, you can be healthy,” she said.
Not only would a change in her lifestyle help her manage MS, but she said her children are the main reasons.
“I want them to have a mom who loves to exercise and play with them,” she said. “I want them to have a healthy example. …I am already the most blessed person in the world. Now, I just want to get healthy again.”
Lacey Hester Click Here to Follow Her Blog
Lacey will be working out at BLAST
Current weight: 315 lbs
Goal weight: 145 lbs
The end of 2011 was a busy time for our next challenger. Lacey Hester, 21, graduated from college, got married, moved and started a new job all in one month. Sounds like a gal with everything going for her. But in her initial email, Hester said along with all the busyness, she carries around about 300 pounds of what she calls low self esteem and pain.
“This is the most I have weighed in my whole life and it consumes everything about me,” she said realizing it more than ever as she looked at herself in a mirror about 15 minutes before walking down the aisle in what she called the most heartbreaking moment of her life.
“I have always used food to make myself feel better,” Hester said. “Needless to say, I eat when I’m sad, happy and every other emotion in between.”
Hester saw the Suwanee Get Fit Challenge and reached out to us.
“I need someone on the sidelines cheering for me and pushing me to do what I know I’m capable of doing,” she said. “That is precisely why I think this program would be beneficial to me.”
After trying to lose weight on her own and failing, she said it’s the ongoing support of the community that will make the difference.
“Everyone can see and hear my story and know that if I can do it, they can do it.”