Live Healthy Iowa Success Stories

We love to share the successes of our challenge participants! The goals, determination and achievements displayed inspires Iowans to continue to make progress toward each of our own wellness goals and to continue to lead a healthy lifestyle. 


The Strut Your Pup Challenge has been so much fun! Tracking the activity has been eye opening. I did not realize how many minutes of physical activity I participated
in each week just by "walking the dog." I took for granted the fact that I "need to walk the dog" and what a healthful activity it has been for both my dog and myself...
not to mention the bonding experience.

Finley, my 2 year old Goldendoodle is a lovable dog with high energy. He keeps me motivated because daily exercise is a necessity not just an occasional activity. I can't deny Finley the opportunity to be outdoors. His playful bark, stubborn gaze at the door, and exuberant tail wagging encourages me to lace up my shoes and together, paws hit the pavement 7 days a week in the many types of Iowa weather. Finley loves to meet other people and dogs and we walk through neighborhoods, parks and trails in the community.

I promised myself to stick with a 6 week challenge as a personal goal. It has been a privilege to participate in this challenge with Finley. Team "Fit with Finley" became an official team with a 6 week challenge, yet I plan to keep Fit with Finley a fur-ever team after the Strut Your Pup Challenge ends. Making pawsitive choices, for a healthy life!
Angie K. of Cedar Rapids, IA


Born and raised in Fairfield, IA, Melinda has seen the town go through many changes. She has now seen a change within herself. Melinda has struggled with her weight for years and with her 30 year high school class reunion coming up, she decided it was time to start making healthy choices. Melinda and her co-workers made up the seven-person team, FitEmp, to participate in the 2014 10 Week Wellness Challenge. Melinda began the challenge with the goal to finish, but quickly added more specific fitness and nutrition goals. Team FitEmp became Melinda’s strongest support system!

Melinda joined the local rec center and has made it a habit to exercise at least five times each week. Not only did she have the support of her teammates but also from her son and fiancé. Her entire family now joins her at the gym when they can. This lifestyle change has taken a lot of effort but her team and family wouldn’t change it for anything.

Like many of us, Melinda faced obstacles and roadblocks throughout the challenge. Halfway through, she became ill and couldn’t exercise for almost two weeks. Following her recovery, she found it was much harder than she anticipated to jump back into her previous workout routine and experience slight discouragement. Thankfully, with her teammates and co-workers by her side, she remembered something; an employee at the rec told her every time she felt like skipping the gym, to remind herself how good it felt losing the first 10 pounds. That was motivation enough!

At the end of the 10 Week Wellness Challenge, Melinda lost 22 pounds, has made it habit to visit the gym five times per week and feels much more confident! She loves to hear compliments from others and believes participating in the 10 Week Wellness Challenge was the best decision she’s made in a very long time! Melinda is already excited for the 2015 Challenge and will be working hard to continue her amazing progress!


Tammie Riley, of Jefferson, found herself feeling weighed down in her previous lifestyle habits. Live Healthy Iowa’s Burst Your Thirst Challenge was Tammie’s second Live Healthy Iowa challenge and she feels strong with her outstanding success and new, healthy lifestyle.

Prior to Tammie’s participation in the Burst Your Thirst Challenge, she was an avid soda drinker and physical activity was not on her list of priorities. “I used to drink soda non-stop…I was lucky if I walked a mile,” explains Riley. Throughout the challenge, she kept her Burst Your Thirst water bottle on her desk at work to remind her to drink and refill often and logged activity minutes by walking eight miles every day. Her biggest challenge was overcoming the temptation of “just one” when seeing others drink soda. She overcame her obstacles and was motivated not to give into her temptations by thinking about the weight she had lost and the many positive changes she has felt.

“I lost 25 lbs. with the Burst Your Thirst Challenge and I feel so much healthier,” states Tammie.

Tammie has continued her new, healthy habits after the Burst Your Thirst Challenge by participating in The Next Step Challenge. Her goals are to lose another 25 lbs. and to tone her body. She plans to continue participating in upcoming Live Healthy Iowa Challenges for as long as she can and encourages others to as well!


Sue Turk, of Des Moines, and her four-year-old Mini Australian Shepherd, Jazz, joined the Strut Your Pup Challenge as team ‘Doggone Awesome’ this spring. In hopes of a little motivation to move more, Sue and Jazz recruited six other Strut Your Pup teams for extra support. Now Sue and Jazz always have friends to keep them accountable.

Prior to the challenge, Sue and Jazz walked most evenings with Sue’s sister Kay and her dog Maizy. When Strut Your Pup began in April, they added extra time and distance to their evening walks, exploring new areas and a variety of terrains. They even made time to fit morning walks in their daily routine!

As many Strut Your Pup participants encountered the unusual and unpredictable Iowa weather, Sue commented, “Wet Iowa spring weather was our biggest obstacle! To overcome, we would adjust our walking schedule whenever possible. Sometimes we had to squeeze in shorter walks.” Team ‘Doggone Awesome’ made their daily walks a priority, rain or shine!

Sue listed the top three reasons her motivation stayed high throughout the challenge and continues to remain high now that the challenge has finished, “It is good for both Mom and Dog and it has helped reduce stress in my life. On top of that, how could I even think of not walking when I look at this pitiful dog face?”

Team ‘Doggone Awesome’ has continued to keep up their routine and have even continued to track their activity with their people and puppy friends. Sue is excited to participate in future Live Healthy Iowa Challenges and continue adopting new healthy lifestyle habits!