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Body challenge kicks off, more than 600 sign up for chance to win $5,000

Turtle Mountain Star of Rolla, North Dakota

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It was a busy week for the organizers of the Total Body Fitness Challenge as hundreds of participants signed up for the six-month long endeavor for fitness and better health.

Eric Dionne, a tribal diabetes program educator, was one of the many individuals doing intake, measuring body mass indexes and informing participants of the educational aspects of what is both a competition and a motivator toward better health for anyone who is serious about improving their lives.

Dionne is part of a group from the tribal diabetes education program who have been at the forefront of the marketing and coordination of the Total Body Challenge, along with the staff of the tribal health education program.

"It's been a lot of fun, but we sure have been busy getting people signed up," said Jessica Ferris, also from the diabetes program.

Dionne said the goals of each individual vary greatly but the common goal is usually to become healthier, and in many instances, the reason for participating is family-oriented.

As of 8 a.m. Friday, the competition had officially signed up 610 participants with their minds made up to do what is necessary to lose weight and become a healthier individual. That morning, the fitness center where the weigh-ins and body mass index and body fat measurements were taken, there were already several more people filling out all the necessary medical release and information forms.

"It's probably going to be a real busy day for us, but the more people we get in this, the better for the community. Everybody's a winner in this, in my opinion," said Donna Lunday-St. Claire, who has been working throughout the intake process for the Total Body Challenge, which is being sponsored by the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. Eligible entrants were tribal members and/or their spouses. Lunday-St. Claire is the director of the tribal health program. She sees the challenge as an opportunity to educate people on the need for better diet, regular exercise and the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.

Two female participants are keeping a daily journal on their triumphs and struggles and will share those experiences with the community at the mid-point of the Total Body Challenge, which falls during the first week of April.

"I'm doing this for my family and I want to be able to enjoy my golden years and not develop diabetes which runs in my family," said Loretta Day-Houle, who is one of the women who is keeping a daily journal. Her best friend, Kristina Poitra, will also keep her own journal and her main goal is to improve her health and feel good about herself. If one or the other wins one of the top prizes, that would be even better, Poitra noted.

There are two grand prizes of $5,000 each for the best overall transformation in both the male and female categories and there are second place cash prizes in the two categories of $1,000 each. There are also cash prizes for the six different age and gender categories.

Each individual who signed up for the Total Body Challenge was given a six-month Turtle Mountain Wellness Center membership.

Copyright 2010 Turtle Mountain Star, Rolla, North Dakota. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: January 18, 2010

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