Paint a healthy picture with Healthy Selfie Contest

Jody Wenzel, to the right, take a selfie photo while kayaking with her husband. The photo was entered into a Healthy Selfie Contest where winners get $50 in gift cards.
Jody Wenzel, to the right, take a selfie photo while kayaking with her husband. The photo was entered into a Healthy Selfie Contest where winners get $50 in gift cards. Submitted Photo

Submit your healthy recipes!

Mission Healthy Living not only organizes the Healthy Selfie Contest but also has a website full of other resources. There’s a whole section on healthy recipes. The community is encouraged to submit their own nutritious recipes to be used on the website. Find out more at www.pottstownfoundation.org/mission-healthy-living.aspx.

Keep health in the picture even after the hype of New Year’s resolutions through a photo contest which awards winners $50 in gift cards to local businesses.

Mission Healthy Living of The Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation is starting a second round of their Healthy Selfie Contest Monday. The foundation introduced the fit-focused contest to the public last year. It’s is a digital contest where people of all ages post a selfie photo to the Mission Healthy Living Facebook www.facebook.com/MissionHealthyU with a brief description of a healthy activity being done.

In 2015, people showed a range of activities with their photos from kayaking to taking vitamins. People loved sharing healthy routines and talking about their personal wellness journey, said Skye Tulio, the foundation’s communication assistant. Tulio oversees the digital contest and said all of 2016, not just January, should be about adding healthy behaviors to everyday life.

“I hope that this contest encourages people to be healthy year round. Healthy living is not just a New Year’s resolution that ends Jan. 31,” she said.

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Teri Miller, of Pottstown, said her family started exercising together in the summer and the contest built excitement around their workout days.

“I just thought it would be something fun and interesting to do,” she said.

Miller has been going to the gym for several years but it used to be a solitary activity that didn’t involve her whole family.

“I always felt like it was taking time away from family time,” she said.

Her husband Rusty Miller said although his wife was devoted to staying healthy, he didn’t really get on track until he joined a YMCA wellness program and started participating in the selfie contest.

“Teri has been great for years about getting to the gym … and all the kinds of things that are healthy living. This (Healthy Selfie Contest) was expanding all that. It was allowing the family to do it together,” he said.

He said the contest and working out as a family allowed him to lead a healthy example for his son. Josh Miller, 10, said he likes to exercise because it makes him stronger. He also likes the contest because he won a $50 gift card for going to the gym.

“It felt really nice that I was getting a physical and money related award for my exercise,” he said.

Rusty Miller said the contest allowed his family to meet others with similar goals through Facebook.

“Even though it’s a contest and you want to win; it was fun to watch everyone else who was posting their pictures and to see the different things they were trying,” he said.

John Spencer, of Boyertown, said the selfie photos were motivational. He said the contest created a community of healthy minded people.

“I think the contest is a good catalyst to be more active,” Spencer said.

Spencer took several selfies of himself exercising at the YMCA. After a serious talk with his doctor last year; he got serious about his fitness and lost about 50 pounds.

“I had the annual checkup with my doctor who indicated that I needed to do something healthier,” Spencer said. “It was kind of a wake up moment.”

Jody Wenzel, of Pottstown, learned about the Healthy Selfie Contest through the newspaper. She had no idea how to take a selfie so did some research. She found that wrapping a rubber band around your phone and hand provides stability.

Wenzel took selfies of herself bicycling on the Schuylkill River Trail, kayaking on the river, and planting in her garden. She has been active outdoors all her life. As a kid, she would use nature as her playground.

“I was brought up in the country. There were five of us and there were no toys,” she said. “We were always doing something outside.”

Wenzel continued to explore the outdoors in adulthood when her husband gave her a bicycle for her 52nd birthday. She’s an ambassador for the Schuylkill River Trail and enjoys bicycling all year long. During her bicycle rides, she writes about and draws the animals and plants she sees on her journey. Wenzel said she hopes more people participate in the next contest because it’s fun and hopefully it will get them more active.

Tulio said the selfie photos encouraged others to take a look at their own healthy living journey. She said health isn’t necessarily about making big, unrealistic changes all at once.

“Small steps lead to big changes,” she said.

People can start submitting healthy selfies on Facebook Monday and will have until noon Friday to enter a photo for the first week. The contest will continue every week until March 4. Each person is allowed to submit one selfie Monday through Friday equaling up to five photos for each week of the contest. Winners are chosen through a random selection and announced by 5 p.m. every Friday on the Mission Healthy Living website www.pottstownfoundation.org/mission-healthy-living.aspx. For more information about the contest, visit the Mission Healthy Living Facebook or contact Skye Tulio at stulio@pottstownfoundation.org.

The Mercury is engaged in a long-term effort, Fit for Life, designed to promote healthy living. In addition to articles in the newspaper and on our website, Fit for Life features a blog with recipes, health tips such as getting fit without breaking the bank and other tools all available free online. Visit the website at pottsmercfit4life.wordpress.com, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MercFit4Life and follow our efforts on Twitter @MercFit4Life.

Michilea Patterson is the Fit for Life reporter and is funded in part by the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation.