Awards handed out

by: HOLLY M. GILL - Sisters Monica and Erika Torres, center and right, along with teammate Michael Lesan, left, were among the winners of Movin' Mountains this year. The team also included Bekki Tucker.For sisters Monica and Erika Torres, of Madras, the Movin' Mountains slimdown program has been a life-changing experience. Between them, the two lost nearly 70 pounds during the four-month program.

"For me, I absolutely loved it," said Monica Torres, 36, who works at the Jefferson County Education Service District and at the Kids Club, and described herself as "extremely competitive."

"Healthwise, it helped my whole family; we don't go out to eat anymore," she said, noting that she and her husband and three children are eating more healthfully, and have taken up hiking.

"It was amazing to be able to keep up with my 9-year-old and my 6-year-old and my husband," said Torres, who lost 26.6 pounds. "My knees don't hurt anymore."

Erika Torres, 33, a stay-at-home mom, and her sister both participated together on a team, and in the individual women's category, spurring each other on and taking home cash prizes in each category.

"It helped tremendously, because it gives me more motivation," said Erika Torres, who has entered the contest in years past. "If I work my butt off, I might be good enough to get first place."

Erika Torres and her husband, Victor, 34, also a prize winner in the men's categories, went on family walks with their four sons, who were supportive of their efforts.

To lose the weight, she watched what she was eating, didn't eat after 6 p.m., took Zumba classes and ran on a treadmill. "I actually did better than I expected," she said.

The Torreses were among the winners this year in the Movin' Mountains challenge, which began in January. They were honored and awarded prizes, along with other competitors, at a luncheon May 22.

This year, 273 people entered the contest, and 107 people followed through and completed the program, according to Carolyn Harvey, who organized the program with Beth Ann Beamer.

A total of 56 people met the overall goal of at least a 5 percent weight loss, and 15 lost 10 percent or more of their body weight.

"That's a really good indicator that these kinds of programs are good for the community," said Harvey.

As a group, participants lost 1,154 pounds — an average of 10.79 pounds per person, with 272.75 inches lost from their waists ( an average of 2.55 inches per person), and 251.25 inches off their hips (2.35 inches per person).

by: HOLLY M. GILL - Movin' Mountains participants earned prizes for the results of their participation in the slimdown program at a luncheon May 22.Organizers calculated a percentage change for each participant, based on weight loss, and inches lost on their waist and hips. "I add those three percentages up for each team member," said Harvey. Team averages were computed by adding the team members' percentages and dividing by the number on the team.

In the team category, four men's teams entered, but only one finished and won the $400 prize pool. The "Mercenaries" team of Victor Torres, Mike Gandy, Felipe Santacruz and Santiago Ortiz lost an average of 33.4 percent of their body weight per person.

The winning women's team was the "Mama-Cheetahs," consisting of Erika and Monica Torres, Bekki Tucker and Michael Lesan, who won $800. Team members lost an average of 34.13 percent. Sixteen female teams entered, and eight finished.

For the two-person mixed teams, 38 teams entered and 12 finished. Paul and Sharon Brown, of the team "Brown Squared," took first place and won $700, losing an average of 29.16 percent each.

In the individual men's category, there were 43 entrants, with 16 finishing in three weight divisions. First place winners took home $358.33.

In the Mount Jefferson category, Victor Torres took first place, losing 38 pounds; in Mount Adams, Renso Rodriguez was first with a 17.3-pound loss; and in Mount Washington, Ron Larson was first with a 31-pound loss.

The individual women's category had 112 entrants, with 42 finishing in five weight divisions. For first-place finishes, the women took home $350 each.

First place in the Mount Bachelor category was Cristina Baltazar, who lost 23.2 pounds; first in Mount Hood was Angela Harris, who lost 20 pounds; first in Mount Baker was Monica Torres, who lost 26.6 pounds; first in Mount Rainier was Erika Torres, who lost 42.2 pounds; and first in Mount St. Helens was Cindy Tichenor, who lost 51.4 pounds.

The man who lost the most was Liam Hollyman, and the woman, Cindy Tichenor. Each was rewarded with $100.

"I was pleased with the way the redistribution of the different classes distributed the money more equitably," said Beamer.

Harvey explained that in the past, everyone competed against each other, which seemed to give people who weighed under 200 an advantage. As an example, she pointed out that when a person who weighs 200 loses 20 pounds, that's a 10 percent change, while the same weight loss for a 300-pound person is only a 7 percent change.

So this year, Harvey and Beamer divided the participants into weight groups, so they could compete against others of similar weight.

"We want this to be a health challenge, and we are hoping by changing the format to give more participants the support they need and to spread the money around more is a good thing," she said.

The two were happy with results of the annual program.

"It really is a place to bring people together across cultural lines," said Beamer. "All our ethnicities are affected by overweight and obesity."

"You live and learn on this program," said Harvey. "We just try to make it better every year."

The following people, listed alphabetically, lost at least 5 percent of their weight: Lindsy Abendschein, Dale Alley, Cristina Baltazar, Gena Bennett, Paul Brown, Sharon Brown, Johana Canales, Jan Collie, Lori DeJarnatt, Jami Deming, Charidy Dubisar, Debra Erlandsen, Howard Erlandsen, Mike Gandy, Bradley Hamlin, Angela Harris, KristaShae Haugen, Marc Heckathorn, Liam Hollyman, Ruth Ann Hopps, Deborah Horn, Yvonne Iverson, Andrea Karoglanian, Colton Kirk, Ron Larson, Michael Lesan, Claudine Littleleaf, Stan Miller, Cindy Mondoy, Rosemary Navarro, Santiago Ortiz, Susan Rask, Will Robbins, Renso Rodriguez, Felipe Santacruz, Shea Schierling, Dorothy Shadley, Chris Smith, Jamie Smith, Linda Smith, Andrea SoHappy, Samantha Spaciano, Lori Switzler, Kim Symons, Cindy Tichenor, Erika Torres, Monica Torres, Victor Torres, Bekki Tucker, Margie Tuckta, Desiree Wallace, Mykle Whiting, Wade Whiting, Kay Wiles, Tiffany Yallup and Christina Zacarias.

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