Healthy U class of 2013 participant Jamie Groshart, 37, set small goals for herself during the past year, such as rewarding herself with a charm for her charm bracelet for every 10 pounds she lost.
She ended up with eight new charms after losing 85.6 pounds, and found herself the winner of Healthy U 2013, losing 39 percent of her body weight.
Groshart was announced the winner during the Healthy U Night of Inspiration on Thursday, when all the 2013 students graduated from the program. As a group, they lost a combined 486 pounds. Chad Weis came in second place, losing 94 pounds, and Carla Halane came in third, losing 100.4 pounds. The winner was based on the percentage of body weight the students lost, and Megan Webb, Healthy Living Action Group Co-Chair, said it was a close race this year.
“It was a really close competition this year. Fourth and fifth place were close as well,” Webb said. “Jamie did an outstanding job, she worked really hard all year long and her weight loss was steady. She had the dedication and was ready to make a change. She also had incredible family support which means a lot.
“She was also very supportive to the Healthy U group and attended most of the meetings and community events that she could. For her to be so involved and be the winner, it really correlates that the more you put in, the more you’ll get out. And all of our contestants did that.”
Groshart won with the help of her fitness coach, John Maupins, and her nutrition coach, Leslie Hesse. Now that the journey of Healthy U is over for Groshart, she plans to continue what she has learned and will continue meeting with Maupins.
“I’m going to keep meeting with John, and now I have a routine for my meals,” Groshart said. “I’m also going to start being part of the community (weight loss support) group on Thursdays. And I post on Facebook a lot, to help with accountability.”
Healthy U has also affected the health of Groshart’s family, as she brought her nutrition and fitness knowledge home with her, learning to cook the comfort foods they loved while making healthier substitutions for ingredients.
“It was a lot of trial and error,” she said. “I think it was successful with my family though. My little boy will pick up the small weights sometimes and do squats with me, and my daughter cheers me on. And once my husband started eating turkey bacon, I knew he was in it.”
When asked about the overall Healthy U experience, Groshart said it has been “life changing.”
“It was hard, there were a lot of things that happened in my life, like a death and my husband losing his job,” Groshart said. “But I found different outlets that weren’t food. I started with small goals, like getting myself a charm for my charm bracelet for every 10 pounds I lost. When I started I couldn’t run across the room, and now I can run five miles.
“I learned about strength and self-discipline I didn’t know I had.”
Maupins, who will be a fitness coach again this year, said he was impressed with Groshart’s hard work.
“She has hurdled mountains. I won’t even say she climbed them, she hurdled them,” he said. “In the beginning she was extremely intimidated, and it was a bit of a struggle for her to get comfortable, but once she came out of her shell, she opened up and just went from there. It was an extreme pleasure to work with her.”
The night of surprises continued with the announcement of the class of 2014, which includes Kanesha Butler, Trisha Green, Carolyn Hatting, Erin Haulotte, Kelly Polley, Charlie Price, Sarah Siegel, Steve Sobaski, Cherelle Staten, Nicole Thomas, Dawn Williams and Zachary Wulf. They will begin their program with orientation Jan. 18.
New this year will be the addition of a behavioral health component to the program. Kim Ream is a licensed professional counselor and a licensed marriage and family counselor, and will meet with the group throughout the year to help them through the process.
“We got feedback from our 2012 and 2013 classes that they wanted to know why or how to change how they thought about themselves and about food,” Webb said. “It was identified as a missing component. Behavioral health is just as important to well-being as diet and exercise.”
The program also gained new fitness and nutritional coaches, while the structure has remained the same. Webb said there will, however, be some changes to the community events hosted by Healthy U, such as revamping the cooking school to get additional participation.
For more information about Healthy U, visit Facebook.com/HUPettisCounty.