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Courtesy Intermountain Medical Center The 2012 My Heart Challenge participants show off their healthier selves at the awards dinner for the 100 day competition. From left: West Jordan Councilman Ben Southworth; South Salt Lake Mayor Cherie Wood; Murray Mayor Dan Snarr; Midvale City Attorney Craig Hall; Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon; Riverton Mayor Bill Applegarth; Salt Lake City Councilman Carlton Christensen; Cottonwood Heights Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore; Taylorsville Mayor Russ Wall; NOT PICTURED: Herriman City Manager Brett Wood; South Jordan Mayor Scott Osborne.
Midvale official named the healthiest in 100-day challenge
Lifestyle changes » Eleven mayors and city officials put their bodies to the test in the My Heart Challenge.
First Published Aug 02 2012 10:57 am • Last Updated Nov 30 2012 11:30 pm

One hundred days is all the time that Utah mayors and city officials were given to prove they were the healthiest competitor in Intermountain Medical’s My Heart Challenge.

But it wasn’t just about losing weight. The challengers also had to eat right, track their calories, report their exercises and measure changes in health markers like body mass index.

At a glance

All together now

The mayors and city officials collectively lost 179 pounds.

Total cholesterol dropped by 14 points.

Triglycerides dropped by 40 points.

Blood pressure went down by 13 points systolic and 7 points diastolic.

Body fat dropped by 3 percent.

Waist circumference went down by 2.6 inches.

Source: www.myheartchallengeblog.wordpress.com

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In the end, Midvale City Attorney Craig Hall, who lost 12 pounds, came out the healthiest, and Salt Lake City Councilman Carlton Christensen, who lost 43 pounds, was the most improved.

Both Hall and Christensen were awarded $1,000 checks from Intermountain Medical to be put toward improving the health of young people in their cities.

So, how did they do it?

"It was not as difficult as I thought it was going to be because it turned into a lifestyle change instead of something I have to do," said Hall, who is 62.

He wasn’t overweight to start with, and he’s always been an active person. But when the competition began, his stress levels were high and he didn’t enjoy running, he said.

Now, at the end, he looks forward to getting on his treadmill and his bike.

To put it simply, he won because he was consistent.

Christensen also learned the value of consistency.

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"You can’t let yourself go even for a day," he said.

When the competition began he was "frankly a little bit depressed" about improving his own health, so he jumped at the opportunity to participate in the challenge.

"Finally I resigned myself to the fact that if I didn’t take care of myself, I wouldn’t have anything to take care of," Christensen said.

His secret to success was working every day, little by little, and also including his family in the challenge.

He and his wife and daughter decided to work together to become healthier. They looked for more opportunities to exercise, by walking to the store when they needed milk, for example, or by catching up with his wife during walks at the end of the day.

"Combine it with something that you ought to be doing anyway," Christensen said.

And just like Hall, Christensen made a commitment to the challenge.

"I think like any addiction or thing you struggle with, you have to make a determination because no one is going to force you to go out walking or make you healthier," he said.

The challenge wasn’t just a success for the winners though. All together, the seven mayors, two city council members and a city attorney and city manager lost 179 pounds.

Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon lost 25 pounds. He said since he began running for office eight years ago, he has slowly been gaining weight.

Corroon described how on some nights he’d end up eating three dinners because of all the different events and functions he attends as mayor.

But he, too, learned that being healthy isn’t all that difficult.

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