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home : news : news Saturday, June 25, 2016

1/19/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
New lease on life. Becky Oeth keeps some of her old clothes around — including this pair of capri pants — to remind herself of how she used to be and to help keep her motivated to stay fit. Oeth’s motivation, however, was not to fit into a smaller clothing size. Her goal was to improve her health. Losing weight, she adds, shouldn’t just be about vanity. Photo by Kate Howes
Just a few years ago, Becky Oeth was overweight and unhealthy. Pictured here on a cruise she took with her husband, Bill, to Barbados, Oeth had trouble walking due to extreme pain in her knee and lived a very sedentary lifestyle. Next month, the couple will take another cruise — the first one she has been on since she lost weight. Contributed photo
Get Fit, DeWitt
Get Fit DeWitt is coming back.

The wellness program begins Jan. 28 and runs through April 5. Registration is now open.

This health-and-wellness program is part of the Live Healthy Iowa program to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation.

This year's program comes with some minor changes. This year, the program will be 10 weeks, not 100 days. All registration will be done online again this year.

To sign up, go to www.livehealthy iowa.org.

Please turn to pages 12-13 for additional information on how 2013 can be the year to become a "new you."

Oeth chooses life, good health over food

By Kate Howes
Staff writer

Becky Oeth of DeWitt knows lots of people have overcome their problems with weight and transformed themselves into healthier, happier individuals.

While she is proud she now can count herself among those who have achieved their goal of losing weight and becoming more active, Oeth knows her experience doesn't necessarily stand out from the rest.

There probably are plenty of people who have lost more weight and whose success stories are far more impressive.

But as someone who knows exactly what it feels like to be weighted down by excess pounds and feel hopeless but come out on the other side, she wants to share her personal journey in hopes of helping someone else pave his or her own path to good health.

After all, taking care of one's self is what is most important.

"(Losing weight) has nothing to do with looking like a Barbie doll," Oeth relates. "It's all about good health. People need to start by putting themselves first."

However, putting herself first was not something Oeth was accustomed to doing. For years she's been a wife and mother, taking care of and looking after others.

Oeth and her own needs always came in second.

She admits, for most of her life Oeth has fought her weight. She was bullied for being heavy in high school and whenever she did lose weight, eventually she would gain it back again.

"I was always up, down, up, down," she relates.

The moment Oeth hit rock bottom was in the spring of 2009.

Standing at just five-feet tall, she weighed 234 pounds. Oeth's pant size was a 24 woman's plus and she couldn't even carry her 2-year-old granddaughter up a flight of stairs.

Oeth was taking medication to control her blood pressure, was borderline diabetic and had severe pain in her left knee to the point she could barely walk.

Oeth's idea of an afternoon snack was a double cheeseburger or a large order of fries from a fast-food restaurant.

One morning as her husband, Bill, was leaving for work, Oeth settled into the recliner in their living room.

When he returned home at the end of the day, she still was in the same spot.

"He walked in and asked me, 'Are you still in that chair?'" Oeth recalls. "I told him my knee was hurting. He said to me, 'Well, do something about it.'"

Her doctor had told her the answer to becoming healthier was no mystery - she had to lose weight.

Oeth joined a gym where she would walk in the pool twice a week and play water volleyball. She also joined Weight Watchers® so she could learn how to control her portions and what kinds of foods she needed to be eating.

Eventually, one day she decided she was going to walk from her mailbox to the end of the road and back - a distance of 3.2 miles.

"I remember as I went along I kept telling myself, 'Keep walking, keep walking,'" Oeth says. "And I did it! After that I thought to myself, 'I can really do this.' You have to get that in your head and it's got to stay there . . . you need to block out the negative and keep things positive."

Staying strong and avoiding temptation was easier said than done. When she first started changing her lifestyle, Oeth and her husband went to a wedding reception where there was a large buffet.

She nearly panicked when Bill told her not to worry; they would get through it together.

It has been with the support of her family, friends and the people at her Weight Watchers meetings that Oeth has been able to stay on track.

Walking tall

While the best way to go about losing weight and getting fit can be different for everyone, doing it with the encouragement of others makes it much easier.

To date, Oeth has lost over 50 pounds. Her pant size has dropped to anywhere from a 10-14 petite juniors, depending on the brand. She no longer has to take blood pressure medication and her borderline diabetes is non-existent.

She is walking taller, standing taller and her idea of an afternoon snack now consists of munching apples, vegetables, low-calorie snack bars and lots of water.

Her knee pain has become much more manageable as well.

"My doctor told me for every 10 pounds a person is overweight, he or she is putting 40 pounds of pressure on their knees, hips and legs," Oeth notes. "Countless pounds of pressure I was putting on my knee have been eliminated."

Her exercise regime includes walking, playing water volleyball, doing water aerobics and Zumba®.

"When you're choosing activities, chose things you love," Oeth recommends. "I love water volleyball and Zumba. You're not going to want to do something you don't like."

She tries to do some physical activity an hour a day. Oeth wakes up every morning ready to face any challenges that present themselves, although some days are better than others.

"It's not just a physical thing," she notes, "it's mental, too."

One way Oeth keeps herself motivated is to not forget the person she used to be.

Oeth keeps a "before" and a "current" picture of herself on her refrigerator and looks at them every day to remind herself how far she's come.

While there are those who only need to lose a few pesky pounds, there are lots of people whose lives literally depend on getting healthier.

Oeth's parents both died young - her mother was just 61 years old and her dad never lived to see 60.

She doesn't want to suffer the same fate.

Oeth wants to be here for her family and for whatever the future holds.

"I don't want to be gone," Oeth shares. "I want to be here for my husband and my grandkids and I don't want to die at a young age. I have more to do in this life - I'm not sure what it is, but I know I have more to do."

'Get Fit DeWitt' kicks off Jan. 28

One way Oeth worked to get healthy and be more active was to participate in the "Get Fit DeWitt" wellness program.

This year's program officially kicks off Monday, Jan. 28, and runs through Friday, April 5.

The health and wellness program is part of the Live Healthy Iowa program to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation.

Teams can consist of 2-10 people and a team captain must be appointed.

This year's program is a bit different than it's been in years past. For example, it's 10 weeks long as opposed to 100 days.

Team captains need to registration online. To sign up people need to go to www.livehealthyiowa.org, click on "Join Today" and in the Corporate/Group ID box captains should enter "LHIDEWITT."

At the time of registration, the team captain will need to have the team name and an e-mail address and t-shirt size for each team member.

The DeWitt Fitness Center is offering a discount membership for participants. Due to program changes this year, persons can get a 68-day membership for $68.

Participants in Get Fit DeWitt will get a training t-shirt; weekly activity, nutrition and recipe tips via e-mail; a personal online training package; unlimited access to healthy recipes, health tips and more; opportunities to win individual prizes and team incentives; and a one-year subscription to a lifestyle magazine.

For more information, persons may contact parks and recreation director Kevin Lake by calling 563-659-5127, or via e-mail at dewittpr@gmtel.net.

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