San Antonio.- Texas is the 13th fattest state in the U.S. In projections held by the Trust for America’s Health, with the current rate of weight gain, by 2030, 57.2 percent of Texans will be obese which may be the cause of 13 million more cases of chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart failure and stroke.
Given bleak statistics and position of leadership H-E-B has in Texas, the company’s priority is to cut those numbers through “Healthy at H-E-B”, a program which promotes education on how to live healthier.
One aspect of “Healthy at H-E-B” program is the Slimdown Showdown Challenge: a 12-week trial that provides contestants tools and education to live a healthier lifestyle¬–and a chance to win some major cash prizes. The results were there. In previous years, contestants have lost almost two thousand pounds, collectively. This year, 25 participants from all over Texas are taking the challenge. La Prensa focused on three local contestants: Ashley Gonzalez, Nancy Martinez, and Juan Ramirez.
What is their inspiration to keep motivated? What happens after the contest ends and all the attention and support goes away? The three contestants all have different stories, but share a united thought: Only by bettering their lifestyle, would they be able to impact anyone of importance in their lives: their families.
Juan Ramirez just expanded his family. In the past year, he and his wife have adopted two children. “Being that I’ve never had anyone but myself to look over, I’ve never had a need to care for myself properly,” Ramirez said. “Now that I have two young ones who look up to me, I want to be there in their lives to teach them to be good men. They are a driving force in why I’m here.”
Nancy Martinez is a mother of two. Before the Slimdown, she had never tried other types of food, such as yogurt or oatmeal. She is currently facing a crisis with her daughter.
“My daughter asked if I was picked on at school. They were telling her she’s a fat girl. For my baby, it’s heartbreaking. I breakdown crying,” said Martinez. “I don’t want her to live like me. She opened my eyes. She doesn’t deserve it. It’s a lot of changes for me, but I have to learn for my kids.”
Ashley Gonzalez has been on a journey on happiness. She has done a vast amount of research on Buddhism, spirituality, and meditation and her studies have taught her something.
“The key factor to all of the happiness is fitness. It was in every single topic I researched. It’s something you just can’t get away from. And it’s not just going to the gym. Just being active is a key point in being happy,” Gonzalez said.
You can keep up with their progress at www.heb.com/healthy. Each of them has their own personal blog that focuses on each participant and their victories. The blogs include plenty of pictures and videos.
“We have an opportunity to inspire other people, this isn’t just a diet. This is a lifestyle change. We shouldn’t be greedy with that information.” all three contestants said.
Amanda Lozano is an intern at La Prensa de San Antonio. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.