By Natalie Conrad
Herald Staff Writer
People across the country are trading in fast food for protein shakes and putting down their remotes and heading to the gym in an effort to start the year out right, just like the beginning of every year.
A new year brings new resolutions like exercising more and eating healthier.
Those hoping to make some big lifestyle changes can look for support and guidance from local businesses and organizations.
Both the local YWCA and Hy-Vee are driven to help members and customers to achieve their goals for 2013. YWCA members can sign up to take the New You Challenge and customers can stop by Hy-Vee to get a discount on the Live Healthy America 10 Week Wellness Challenge.
The New You Challenge, an eight-week program, starts and ends with body fat and weight measurements. This program includes a free goal assessment planning session with Health and Wellness Director Stephanie Sommers, an online food journal and a chance at winning a cash jackpot.
“It’s a way to get people on track and reach the goals they’ve been wanting to reach,” Sommers said.
There is still plenty of space open for the challenge, and registration will likely continue into next week. This challenge is only open to YWCA members and cost is $15 per person.
“We want to give our active members the best results we can get,” Sommers said. “A lot of people have good intentions, they just need help with the knowledge and equipment necessary.”
For those looking to improve their nutrition, they need look no further than the Hy-Vee Health Market and guidance from dietitian Beth Freehill. A slew of new health and weight loss products will be making their way to the market in the next few months, according to Health Market Manager Angela Dykstra. There is something for everyone, from the disciplined dieter to others looking for a quick fix.
“We have new 10- and 30-day diet pills and a lot of Slim-Fast coming in,” Dykstra said.
“We also have Nutrisystem and just about something to fit any healthy diet and help those trying to make a change for the new year,” she said.
With more than 10 milk alternatives, it can be an overwhelming place, but Freehill offers one-on- one shopping consultations to help point shoppers in the right direction.
“It really depends on the person, but the best thing to do is keep it simple,” Freehill said. “The Nu-Val scores are a really great resource and a great way to pick out healthy foods without being a nutritionist.”
Freehill also recommends following the United States Department of Agriculture Choose My Plate movement. The national program focuses on balancing meals by getting specific portions of key ingredients, including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, dairy and oils.
For more information on the campaign visit choosemyplate.gov.
Hy-Vee employees are also taking action to improve their own lives by forming teams for the Live Healthy America 10 Week Wellness Challenge as well as encouraging customers to take part.
This challenge incorporates teamwork, healthy recipes, weight loss, food and activity journaling and setting and achieving goals.
“We are making a big push to promote this wellness program,” Freehill said. “It’s a great incentive to encourage physical activity and weight loss.”
Teams of two to 10 can sign up to not only improve their health, but also get rewards. Participants receive free health magazine subscriptions, videos and workout plans, discounts on food and a workout T-shirt.
The entry fee is $20 per participant.
A $5 coupon for registration can be picked up at Hy-Vee or online.
For more information on the challenge visit livehealthyamerica.org.