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Teacher Loses 100 Pounds with Help of Employee Fitness Challenge
Anne Marie Strangio of Lowell ES encourages co-workers to participate in the Step Into Motion fitness challenge that begins Monday, April 9.
April 5, 2012
Anne Marie Strangio couldn’t wait to sign up for the employee fitness challenge this week. She’s put together a team of co-workers at Lowell Elementary, where she’s a fourth grade teacher and administrative intern, and she’ll be training for her first half-marathon and trying to lose her last 50 pounds.
What a difference a couple of years make.
Two years ago, Strangio, who was then a teacher at Washington Middle School and organizer of the annual Festival de Bellas Artes, wanted to sign up for the fitness challenge, but was too scared.
“I weighed more than 300 pounds. I would get winded walking from the couch to the refrigerator. I was on tons of medication,” Strangio recalled. “There are a lot of people like me who feel that they have to be in shape to do the fitness challenge. But, of course, you can’t get in shape unless you get out there and do it. That’s scary when you’re a big person like I was.”
Though Strangio didn’t sign up for the challenge at first, she was inspired by it. She started walking. Joined Weight Watchers and a gym. Watched what she ate. And lost 50 pounds.
Last year, she found her courage and signed up with a group of co-workers at Washington. As a team leader, she got an extra-large t-shirt. It didn’t fit. But she wasn’t discouraged.
“We did the fitness challenge like crazy. We logged our steps. We converted them if we rode bikes or did other exercise. We wore pedometers, walked on the track at lunch. Some of us jogged. We trained for a 5K run. We tried a Zumba class and a Nia class. We tried all types of fitness things. We got inspirational emails. We learned about nutrition and got recipes. We supported each other. And we discovered you don’t have to be an athlete to benefit from the fitness challenge.”
Strangio’s hard work and determination paid off. By the end of last year’s challenge, she lost another 20 pounds and fit into the team leader shirt. She’s since lost another 30 pounds, and now the shirt is too big.
In two years, Strangio has lost a total of 100 pounds and has changed her lifestyle. She is an inspiration for others and a cheerleader for the fitness challenge.
“It’s fun. You get things like tote bags and water bottles. And every single one of those things feels like an Academy Award because I earned them. It really has changed my life.”
It’s not too late to sign up for the Spring Into Motion fitness challenge which kicks off Monday, April 9. For more information or to sign up, visit the Spring Into Motion webpage. All participants get a free pedometer to help them track their steps, provided by Lovelace and Presbyterian. The deadline to sign up is Monday, April 9. The fitness challenge runs through May 18.
The first five people who registered for the fitness challenge earlier this week got a 30-day gym membership at Defined Fitness, a gym towel and water bottle. They are Kathy Peterson and Debbie Rodriguez in Human Resources; Mike Peterson at Desert Ridge MS; Gerry Hixon of Title I; and Kristin Brown at Jimmy Carter MS.