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Published: Thursday, August 28, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Chris Walster of Stanwood (Contestant)

  • Sailing in Anacortes.

    Sailing in Anacortes.

Winner of Healthy Challenge


Congratulations Chris!

Week Twelve - FINAL

Starting Goal: Hold myself accountable for what I know I need to do, and maybe inspire players along the way. Do you feel that you accomplished your goal? Absolutely and I'm not embarrassed to say that I'm actually “proud of myself.” Frankly I don't know if I've ever said out loud that I'm proud of myself about anything, but this is it! I've done what I needed to do to lose weight, I've reshaped my body, and I've become a “healthier, happier” person in the process. Sadly I think I always knew what it took to make this positive change, but I either told myself ; “I didn't look that bad,”,or “I'm in my 50's so who cares”, I basically made excuses. Even better than being proud of myself, I'm proud that I've inspired a few others to start their own healthy challenge. What are your goals for the future? My goals for the future are to continue just what I've been doing as I prepare to run a half marathon with my girl's basketball team in November and to be a healthier and happier person through the rigors of a long basketball season and beyond. I'm sure the high school referees will appreciate a “happier” version of me. What would you tell someone starting their own Healthy Challenge? “You can do it”. If I can, they can, but it's a marathon and not a sprint. You don't get over weight and out of shape over night, so don't expect to fix the problem over night. And don't expect it to be easy, if it was then everyone would be fit and trim, healthy and happy. But it gets easier as you go, and it's well worth it in the end. You just gotta start!

Week Eleven

The most challenging aspect of this week was finding the time to work out with a heavy work schedule slowing things down. The start of the school year took it's toll on workouts, but the weekend allowed me to get back on track and put in more time at the gym. I was most proud of my new healthy eating. When going out to dinner with my wife I've found a whole new part of the menu that I never knew existed...they're called "salads", and there are a bunch of variations that are really good. I'd recommend them to everyone. My goal for next week is to try some morning workouts prior to the start of the school day. Those 5:00 a.m. workouts may "kick my rear" but I'm giving it a shot. To sum things up I've decided that if this new life style of working out and eating right is going to work, and I have all the confidence in the world that it will, and be a life long change, I'm going to have to put all of the things I've learned over the last few months together. The most important thing is to "weather" the small storms and the big storms, but get right back on course as quickly as possible. You can't just choose a different destination because something blew you off course a little.

Week Ten

The most challenging this week was just trying to find a good balance between daily chores and workout time. It'll be a lifelong challenge, but what makes me feel better is that I've been able to do it. Some days a little less workout and a little more work, the next day just the opposite. It all seems to be working and that's a positive feeling for the years to come. Making the whole workout vs. work schedule work is what I'm most proud of. Also the fact that this is starting to feel like a "way of life" versus a "short term fix". I'm excited for the "full life challenge." The goal for next week is to develop some "alternate" sources of exercise. The cardio and weight room at the "Y" has been great, but I've yet to enter my first exercise class...next week I vow to spend some time hanging out with the cycling folks! To sum it up, it's been a challenge for the past ten weeks, but it's a new set of challenges each week as I suspect it will continue to be from here on out.

Week Nine

The biggest challenge this week was finding time to work out with the start of a new school year and all of the extra work that goes into getting classes going. I had to cut my workout time down in order to keep my "already understanding wife" happy with the amount of time that I'm gone. I talked with the people at the "Y" about trying to do split workouts, (cardio in the morning and weights in the afternoon) so we'll see how that works out next week. Now that I've gotten into a system of how I do things I hate to change, but life will always throw things at you that cause a disruption in my workouts so it's a good thing to figure out ways to be flexible. I was most proud of staying consistent with my healthy eating while I was faced with a crazy schedule of workshops, meetings and "well intended but not so healthy food" provided by our school district. It would have been easy to start back into the habit of "fast food" and bad snacks, but because I knew these things were coming, I pre-planned snacks and meals and kept moving forward with healthy eating. I actually think I might be able to continue with this as a life long way of doing things, and that's pretty exciting. My goal for next week is to try a "split workout" and if that doesn't seem to work, find additional activities that I can do outside of the gym that can give me the same results. The healthy challenge, I can honestly say has been the start of a life long change. I've not only started thinking about exercise, healthy eating and a healthier lifestyle as a way of life and not just a "contest" to try to win, but the people around me have started thinking about doing the same, and that's a very good feeling. I'm really looking forward to seeing how things go in the next three weeks and the next season, and the next year, and so on, and so on...

Week Eight

My most challenging aspect of the Healthy Challenge this week was two fold, first the closure of the Marysville "Y" for a little remodeling, which limited my workout opportunities a little, and another trip to the walk-in clinic to look into a sprained back. If I'd just been at the "Y" I never would have been on a friends sailboat that caught a wave and caused me to twist my back. I really had to step up the healthy eating to counterbalance my inability to work out much. That's always been the toughest thing for me because frankly, I love to eat! But these things happen and finding a way to "balance" calorie intake with calorie burning is something that's a part of life, but I'm getting lots better at it. On a good note I was most proud of the comments I received while at the walk-in clinic. The doctor referred to me as "in shape" when he said I should be able to bounce back and get back to my workouts quickly and the nurse who took my blood pressure was complimentary of the fact that my blood pressure was 110 over 70, a pretty good drop from our initial challenge check up. I was also able to run for two days early in the week (prior to sailing) without any hip pain so I'm looking forward to resuming everything on Monday when the "Y" reopens and my back pain eases up. My goal for next week is to be back at full throttle in terms of exercise at the "Y" and reinstate my running at night as I get back on track to prepare for a half-marathon in November. It'll be interesting to see how being in school and eating on someone else's schedule works for the weight loss. To sum things up for this week, I feel better, look a little better and am excited about returning to my exercise program so that I can continue on this "journey to a better lifestyle". If I had to give one tip, thought, or comment it'd be to "hang in there" on whatever program of fitness you've chosen to undertake. It sounds cliche' but this really is a "marathon and not a sprint"! It took me quite a while to get into the "less than stellar condition" that I'm in, and it's going to take myself or anyone else time and patience to get into better shape...but it will work over time, just "BELIEVE IT!" That's it, hope everyone is feeling positive through the bumps, bruises, hurdles and challenges of this experience.

Week Seven

The most challenging thing this week was trying to work in gym time as the new school year is set to begin and meetings and time in the classroom start taking up more and more time. It's probably good that this is a gradual transition because I need to learn how to keep up the workout time as I'm doing my "day in and day out" work routine. I have to admit that I've become a little spoiled by beginning this challenge as a guy on an extended vacation. Now finding the time is going to take some work. I was most proud this week of my workouts at the "Y". Because I knew that the Marysville branch was going to be closed all of next week for renovations, I wanted to make sure that I was taking full advantage of the last few days that they were open. I proudly logged six days of workouts. On Saturday afternoon they were literally unplugging the treadmills and removing the fans from the walls as I finished my last few minutes of cardio work. I never believed I would be sad to know that I couldn't get into the gym all week. In the past I would've loved the excuse of the gym being closed as a reason not to work out. I guess this is the big push that gets me back on the asphalt jogging and on the road to the half marathon in November. My goals for next week are to adjust my workouts from the opulence of the "Y's" many cardio and weight lifting machines to the somewhat more austere confines of the Lakewood High School weight room. I want to continue working the same muscle groups, it'll just have to be done with a little more imagination and dumbbells. For cardio it's a good old fashioned jump rope, stadium stairs and jogging with the dog. In summation, it's slowly occurring to me that this is truly a "life style" and not a twelve week sprint through the challenge. I'm now constantly thinking about what I eat, looking for ways to get exercise and worrying if I don't get in some form of heart pounding cardio. I was initially focused on the end of the challenge and a half marathon in November, now it's stretched out to getting and staying fit for a basketball season that ends with March Madness, the Summer of 2011 when I'll really feel like going without a shirt, and a tux for my son's wedding next July! Who'd have thought that getting, being, and staying fit would be a long-term thing.

Week Five

This week my biggest challenge was staying away from all of the "great" but fattening foods at fairs, festivals and summer nights out with friends. Reminding myself how hard all of the other contestants were working kept me on track, for the most part. I'm most proud of my "Y" workouts. This is the first week where I found myself in the gym on six of the seven days of the week, and on a couple of those workouts spent two hours trying to get healthier. My goals for next week are to continue the days and times in the gym but to add running back into the mix if God and my hip will allow it. Thanks to Dr. Black at the Everett Clinic branch in Stanwood, my hip sprain was diagnosed and along with exercise and anti-inflamatories feels pretty good. I'd sum up week five by adding that although on a day to day basis it may not seem like I'm seeing much change...I know the steadiness of the program and sticking to it is really the secret. Thinking about my eating and physical activity has been the biggest change. So many times we don't "think" about what we're putting into our bodies and "whether or not" we're getting much in the way of "heart racing" exercise. Now I'm thinking all of the time.

Week Four

The most challenging aspect of this week was getting through that time between 8:00 P.M. and bed time without snacking. Working out more definitely increases the old appetite and staying away from old/bad eating and snacking habits can be tough. I didn't always succeed! I'm most proud of two hour workouts on Monday through Friday. It's gotten to the point where there's a real "knawing" feeling if I don't get into the gym and work out. My goal for next week is to slowly get back to running. After a trip to the doctor and a diagnosis of a "sprained right hip", I'm hoping the anti-inflamatories and specific hip exercises will get me back on the road. After four weeks I know that the program I'm on will work, I just have to get past the psychological thought pattern that what I'm doing is something special that will end at a certain point, and start to deal with the idea that this is a way of life that needs to continue forever. Smaller meals, better nutrition, lots more exercise and finding the time to get it all into the day..."A life style?" YES.

Week Three

The most challenging aspect of this week was staying to my diet after two weeks. It's surprising how quickly things like fast food want to start creeping back into my meal planning. I was most proud of my workouts. Even though I was away from the "Y", I was still able to keep working out while attending a team basketball camp. My goal for this week is to step up the workouts and get back to being vigilant with the dieting. After reading about the progress of the other competitors I'm really starting to feel challenged to do better, not only because of the challenge but for myself.

Week Two

My biggest challenge this week started in the middle of a three mile run on Monday. Some type of hip injury left me not running for the rest of the week and finding different ways to get in exercise and calorie burning. The hip actually made all exercise including walking up stairs difficult. I'm proudest of the fact that I persevered with working out and got in four days at the "Y" including the treadmill which didn't aggravate the hip as much, although I was reminded by the staff that my goal is to "run" a half-marathon, not walk it. My goal for this week is to try and work in my workouts while I'm spending the week at basketball camp at Western and away from the "Y". That along with sticking to a diet while faced with "college food" for a week. In summation, the injury (which I never even considered would happen) really threw me off and I feel as if I need to really get back focused on exercise and proper diet. A family reunion and housewarming for friends didn't help in the diet area either. Focus, focus, focus is the mantra this week.

Week One

I found finding time to get in my exercise was the toughest thing. Or maybe it was more so finding a time when I was the most motivated with time available. I'm proudest of sticking to my "new" healthier eating plan. Eating healthy and forcing myself to run each day is something I really wanted to do, and so far I'm doing okay. My goals for next week are to workout at the "Y" three or more days and to try and lose a little more weight than this week. Overall I think this week showed me I can make it through the twelve weeks of the Healthy Challenge, but that if I'm going to be successful in getting where I'd hoped to be physically, I'm going to have to "step up" my diet and exercise. What I thought would be good enough, isn't! I've found getting older has a couple of disadvantages, and jumping back into shape is one of them.

Beginning of Challenge:


Goal: Hold myself accountable for what I know I need to do, and maybe inspire players along the way.
Age: 51
Weight: 245 lbs
Height: 5' 11''

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