Wade Alden of Lanesboro, an actor with the Commonweal Theatre Company, lost 100 pounds in 2014 through Health Games Challenges and with the Habits of Health system. He now also serves as a health coach himself. SUBMITTED PHOTOS
Wade Alden of Lanesboro, an actor with the Commonweal Theatre Company, lost 100 pounds in 2014 through Health Games Challenges and with the Habits of Health system. He now also serves as a health coach himself. SUBMITTED PHOTOS
By the time Wade Alden had made the move with his wife from Oregon to Park Rapids in Minnesota – the home of her parents – and then on to Lanesboro, he jokes and says he was something of a legend.

For one thing, after 12 years of being away from theater and acting, he had taken the steps needed and gotten back to his life’s passion. But perhaps even more importantly, Wade had taken back his life and was healthier than ever. He’d lost 100 pounds.

“My top weight was 325 pounds,” said Wade. That occurred in the summer of 2013.

Now he weighs 225.

Wade realized he needed to lose weight and take back control of his life while in Park Rapids. He’d been at 185 through most of his college years at the University of Oregon, and then was mostly in the 200s. Around the time he reached his top weight, Wade was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and the nasty things that go with it, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

“I went on all kinds of meds,” he said. “Here I was remembering the dreams of my youth, of getting back into theater, but instead was entering middle age with diseases… I had no chance without health and wellness to do what I wanted.”

Indeed it’s the stuff of legends are made of. But Wade was quick to stress that living a healthy life is certainly attainable. He found a way to make the necessary changes in the company of friends and with a health coach. There was even an aspect to make losing weight and improving overall health a fun experience. Wade took part in the Health Game Challenges.

Challenging yourself

He saw something on a friend’s Facebook page that got him started. It promoted a Health Challenge.

“I clicked on it. A bunch of people all do it together at the same time. It lit a fire,” he said.

Like so many others, Wade just hadn’t been able to stick with a weight loss/wellness program on his own. “As it turns out,” he said, “Anyone can do a program for a month or two.” But the effort on one’s own often ends then.

So he decided to join the Health Challenge. He paid in his fee to cover the six-week challenge period (now $24), noting you can win that money or portions of it back in various ways, including meeting your weight loss and wellness goals.

The first step involved an interview with the coach of his Health Challenge team. The guy asked Wade questions, like what were his dreams? Wade said he wanted to reclaim the dreams of his youth. Most people, noted the coach, just said they wanted to be thinner. But a greater dream for one’s life can help a person stay on track. The coach noted most people don’t dream; they just go through life.

“There’s no obstacle other than yourself,” the coach told Wade.

Integrated program

The Challenge makes use of the Habits of Health system. It is a part of the Take Shape for Life program of Medifast. A brochure detailing how the aspects of the wellness coach, challenges and a Medifast diet plan are integrated is available online at www.medifastmedia.com/tsfl/docs/hohlifestylebrochure.pdf

 Wade said the Medifast eating program could help a person lose weight in a fast manner, while teaching how to eat right. The Medifast food provided also can help get rid of the sugar taste in one’s system, with an end result that healthy foods like vegetables are again tasty.

The part of the program he’s discovered “is the coaching arm of it” from Medifast, helps to provide motivation, fun, challenges and support to stick with the lifestyle changes.

“You need to get folks to reconsider their bad habits and replace them with good ones to get the (desired) outcome,” stated Wade. “You need motivation.”

A Health Challenge started in late January and Wade has around a dozen participants on his team. Through a chat room available online “we interact, encourage each other and share challenges,” according to Wade. Every day they check on things like getting enough sleep and drinking water.

“You get an infusion (of energy and support) every day. You’re in the company of other folks with the same goals,” he added.

Wade said he’s uncomfortable in a sales situation, but conversation with people often turns to his weight loss and good health. He’s comfortable and enthusiastic when talking about how the program has helped him lose weight, become healthy and maintain it, and to reach his dreams.

The program starts with an individual assessment. “The mind is the most critical. And the nutrition from Medifast makes the engine go.” The program focuses on “the trilogy of health,” stated Wade, “body, mind and finances.”

He noted a client pays for the Medifast nutrition package and that he – as the wellness coach – “comes along for the ride.” Wade stressed that if a person uses Medifast for weight loss without making lifestyle changes, it only serves as a diet. “If you use it as a diet, you’re throwing your money away,” stated Wade. “This is why we’re a health and not a weight loss company.”

Exercise may or may not play a part in the program. Wade said when a person is first starting it’s common to back off on exercise, since the body is in the midst of changes including dropping weight.

Wade said, “The body needs time.”

Getting onboard

Wade has been a health coach since the fall of 2014. He noted with a laugh, “I’m not a prodigy of health and weight loss.”

Like most people, he said he wants a life that’s “fun, easy and pleasurable.” He faces the same challenges and temptations daily.

In the program helping others, he provides initial direction and cheerleading. He also pointed out he’ll strongly urge a person to “suck it up” if there’s been too much whining.

“Emotions… mental clarity… it’s all connected. You need a systemic change. No it’s not easy. Old habits die hard,” he said.

He offered up a tip. One gauge for Wade’s continued personal success is his clothes. “I have no clothes with elastic waistbands (that would of course expand to accommodate weight gains). My clothes give feedback,” he said.

Wade looks forward to helping others achieve their dreams.

“Connect dreams to outcomes. Look at what’s really, truly, profoundly important (to you) to get the outcome you want in the future,” he said. “A lifestyle transformation is getting/doing health – optimal health for you. A healthy weight is just the beginning of being healthy.”

If one would like to learn more about the health challenges and perhaps become a member of Wade’s team, one can find him on Facebook under the name Wade Alden Johnson. One can check his website, wadeoalden@ichooseoptimalhealth.com or call him at (503) 939-6921.

And to see Wade enjoy the dream his weight loss and healthier lifestyle allowed – acting – check him out in “Three Musketeers” at Commonweal Theatre in Lanesboro this summer.