Weigh and Win Honored with the City of Denver’s ‘Innovation’ Award

denvergov

On April 7, 2016, Mayor Michael B. Hancock joined more than 100 city officials, finalists and community partners to announce the winners of the second annual Denver Healthy Communities Awards. Weigh and Win was awarded the “Public and Environmental Health Innovation Award” by Denver’s Department of Environmental Health at the 2016 Healthy Communities Awards.

photos by Evan Semón                                         Weigh and Win team with Denver Mayor, Michael B. Hancock

Denver Healthy Communities Innovation Award: Designed to recognize individuals and organizations that employ innovative strategies, processes, or technologies to improve public health and/or the environment in Denver.

Launched by Denver Environmental Health in 2015, the Healthy Communities Awards are intended to recognize individuals, as well as public, private, and community organizations working to promote public health and environmental sustainability.

photos by Evan Semón

Additional Links:

Weigh and Win video

Event photos

Full award ceremony video

Other Online Mentions:

The Denver Post

DenverGov.org

Growing Denver

American Towns

*Photo credit: Evan Semón

Using Activity Trackers For Motivation & Accountabilty

Fitbit, Jawbone Up, Garmin, Pivitol Living, Striiv, the list goes on and on for the different types of activity trackers available on the market today. All of these devices are different and highlight their own features, but what really are the benefits of using them? Can they really improve our health and get us moving more?

activity trackers-01

More Than Just Step Tracking

Activity trackers can help you monitor your sleep, heart rate and physical activity. Some even can track food. The simpler versions will just track your steps while others will silently buzz on your wrist to wake you up or nudge you to move if you have been sitting too long. To get the most out of them, try wearing them to bed every night to see how much sleep you are actually getting. Most of the time, these trackers can help you to see the areas in your life where you can improve some habits to become healthier.

Social Accountability

Fitness trackers also bring groups of friends, coworkers and even family members together on the journey to be more active. Becoming friends with people through the tracker apps allows you to hold each other accountable toward achieving your daily goals. For instance, you can encourage each other to go on walks or if you see someone hasn’t walked much, you can motivate them to move more with you and keep the accountability up. Social acquaintances are some of the best motivators toward achieving a healthier lifestyle.

Friendly Competition

Need a little extra motivation to be more active? Make it a challenge! Utilize the Challenge-A-Friend feature on Weigh and Win to challenge your friends and family to get more active. You can challenge your co-workers to see who can get the most steps in one month or challenge a family member for the most weekly steps. The Challenge-A-Friend feature lets you create the challenge, set the rules and invite the competition. Do you own a Fitbit? Sync your Fitbit with Weigh and Win to create your own custom steps challenge.

 

Losing Weight, Gaining Confidence

In 2013, Sharla Williams found the perfect prescription to cure her ailments – running.

“It was a time in my life where I was overweight and miserable,” said Weigh and Win participant Sharla. “I just didn’t feel good about myself and I was depressed.”

That same year she signed up to run in the Corporate Cup Relay for her job. She decided to take it seriously and started to train.

“I began running on a treadmill, starting off at a very slow speed. Every couple of weeks, I would increase my speed. I’m not going to lie, it was hard, but I kept going.”

Sharla’s hard work paid off, she completed her leg of the marathon (6 miles) in less than one hour and gained the confidence and motivation she needed to commit to living a healthier lifestyle.

Sharla Williams
That same year, Sharla joined Weigh and Win, a free Colorado program that provides technology-based health coaching, progress tracking and cash rewards for weight improvement.

“Weigh and Win helped me achieve my health goals with meal and snack suggestions that were texted to me daily. I also love how the program tracks my progress with weigh-in photographs so I can see how I have changed over time.”

In 2014, Sharla signed up and ran a longer leg in the 2014 Corporate Cup Relay and still finished in less than one hour. In 2015, she ran the half-marathon, which she is running again this year.

“My ultimate goal is to run the full marathon at the 2017 Colfax Marathon for my 35th birthday.”

Sharla uses her love of running and new-found confidence to encourage others to get healthy.

“Running gave me a whole new type of confidence. Not to mention I have been able to motivate my friends and family to become more physically active as well.”

When Sharla first started running, she weighed 159 pounds and wore a size 12. A year later, she was thirty pounds lighter and down to a size 4.

Before (on right): May 2013 After (on left): August 2014
Before (on right): May 2013
After (on left): August 2014

“My advice for anyone who is starting their journey is that at the end of the day no one can push you or make you do it. You have to be willing to do it for yourself. Some days are going to be hard but you have to make the decision to keep pushing through.”

Reason To Run Contest Winner

reasontorun-emailheader-01

Weigh and Win asked for participants to share their reason to run for a chance to win a $75 gift card.  Thank you to everyone who entered – the entries were inspiring!

Congratulations to the Contest Winner:

AJ Benefield

“I started running to get in shape. In the running community I found friends that have turned to family. I believe that the health that I gained through running helped me to overcome a Breast Cancer diagnosis at 33 years old. I now still run to try and keep the cancer away.”
-AJ

 

Want to be inspired to move more?
See why these Weigh and Win participants run:

How to Live a Balanced and Healthy Life

Even though it may seem difficult to focus on personal health and well-being in our fast-paced society, living a balanced and healthy life is certainly well within your reach! Making small, attainable changes to your daily habits can help you to achieve the well-being you yearn for, and more importantly, deserve. Making a pact to take care of yourself is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your mental and physical health. In fact, researchers describe life imbalance as being a contributor for:

  • Mental disturbances
  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic stress
  • Elevated hormone levels
  • Chronic headaches
  • Sleep issues
  • Impaired immune system

While it may occasionally seem as though there is no way around these issues, there are ways to give yourself the attention you deserve—without taking away from family, friends, work and other important aspects of life. Curious about how you can improve the balance in your busy life and improve your health along the way? Let us help you!

Tip #1: Make sure to make “ME TIME” each day

This can be a 60 minute exercise class, a quiet morning coffee break, a brief walk around the neighborhood or just soaking up some sun during your lunch hour. It is important to take this time to appreciate yourself and how incredible your body and your mind truly are! Give yourself a few moments to reaffirm how grateful you are for what you’ve been given in life. Try saying “I appreciate what I do” or maybe, “I really am a hard worker” or “I am the best parent I can be to my beautiful children.” Whatever you tell yourself for, make sure it’s genuine. You deserve to be reminded of what makes you great!

Tip #2: Organize your priorities

With how hectic life can be, it is easy to lose track of time and to let tasks fall by the wayside. Create a daily list—either on paper, your computer, tablet or smartphone to plan out the day ahead. Include check boxes so that you can determine which items have been completed and which require more effort. It can be such a rewarding feeling to be able to check off items on a list once they’ve been completed and to end your day feeling accomplished. This can include not only work tasks, but even at-home chores, family obligations and even personal goals. This will also help to alleviate any stress that comes with trying to remember all the things you have planned for your busy day.

notepad-1192373

Tip #3: Expect and accept the setbacks

Life is never guaranteed to go 100% as planned and even the smallest of setbacks can become great stressors. Accepting that this is sometimes the case will help you to better adapt to surprises, both great and small. For example, let’s say that you have a family vacation planned and have really been looking forward to it for some time. At the last minute, your flight is cancelled due to poor weather conditions. While this can completely change your plans, try to envision the positive aspects of the situation. Maybe you are given a notable credit from the airlines for a future vacation. Perhaps this becomes a great opportunity for a ‘stay-cation’ and fun activities to try out in your city. Or maybe this just means that you get the opportunity to create a whole new adventure with your family. Even if it seems challenging to do, always try to seek out the positive nature in all things.

Tip #4: Speaking of adventure

Spontaneity is not an easy feat, but when you allow yourself to find randomness in your life, it’s incredible how your spirits can really lift! Try to think of an activity or skill you’ve always been curious about. Maybe you’ve considered hiking the Appalachian Trail, or maybe you’ve been wanting to learn how to sword fight, or maybe knit, or rock climb. What about watching orca whales off the coast of Victoria? Maybe it’s a new language you’ve been curious about. Parlezvous français? Regardless of what you find interest in, make sure you allow yourself an opportunity to seek it out and to fulfill your curiosity. You might just find something new to really excel at!

Tip #5: Allow joy

Always welcome the opportunity to smile. Whether it’s in knowing the love of a friend or spouse, the goofiness of a pet, or the beauty on the horizon, we all have things that warm our hearts and bring us joy. Don’t fight the urge to smile, to laugh, and to be grateful of these wonderful things. They are ultimately what we live for—what drives us to be human and whole. And if you feel you cannot find enough joy to fill your life, try seeking out new joys. Altruism through giving to others, whether volunteering time or energy, is one way to not only give joy to yourself, but also to others who too seek true happiness. Sunshine and fresh air are also especially effective for increasing those feel-good moments. Remember to breathe in the positivity in what’s around you and to breathe out the negative. What a difference this can really make on our stress levels and overall feelings of relaxation! Speaking of improving stress levels—exercise and healthy eating have a positive physiological effect on the body by improving hormones (did someone say endorphins??), energy, sleep patterns and more! And laughter…well who doesn’t enjoy a little laughter every now and then? Allow yourself to laugh out loud wherever possible.

Did we miss anything? Of course we did! Balance comes in so many shapes and sizes and that’s what makes us all uniquely special. Find your unique balance in life and always allow yourself the pleasure of knowing you are a healthier person for it!

Want to win an iPod Nano?

Congratulations to the March HEALTHpoints winners. They’re busy slicing and dicing with their new Wusthof Cook’s Knives.

  • Flora – Northglenn
  • Stephanie – Commerce City
  • Christine – Akron
  • Debi – Lakewood

HEALTHpoints image for blog apr16-01

Dance your way through your next workout with a new iPod Nano! Just earn 300 HEALTHpoints in April and you will be entered into a drawing to win one of two we are giving away!