The 2019 Community Weight Loss Challenge was a huge success mentally and physically for one Windom man this year. Al Baloun was our winner, losing a total of 60 pounds! This was a 12-week challenge, beginning on January 14 and ending on April 8. Participants had full use of our Wellness Center, received confidential weigh-ins and were provided with dietitian support.

Caring for Others

Last fall, Al Baloun had a blood pressure test done through his workplace. The test results showed his blood pressure was high. Al knew he needed to change his lifestyle habits in order to provide care for his wife, Pat, who was diagnosed with brain cancer. “I knew I needed to get healthy in order to be there for my wife,” states Baloun. Al saw the Weight Loss Challenge advertised in the Wellness Center at Windom Area Health where he frequently exercises and knew it would be the perfect motivation to getting his health back on track.

Al’s Tricks to Weight Loss

Baloun set a few personal goals for this challenge including losing 40-50 lbs., getting his body back into shape and bringing his blood pressure and cholesterol down. In order for Al to properly do this, he sought out help from Windom Area Health’s Community Health & Wellness Coordinators, Amber Hughes and Lindsey Englar. “Amber and Lindsey were helpful in keeping me accountable while providing me with suggestions on how to properly strengthen my muscles to help lose weight,” Baloun comments. Weight Loss Challenge participants also received weekly nutrition information and workout out tips from Windom Area Health dietitians and Al found that to be another helpful tool in his weight loss journey. Al also used an app called, Noom to assist him in his weight loss. This app helped him keep track of his calorie intake, gave him support and provided helpful hints for dieting and weight loss.

Al began the Weight Loss Challenge by setting a goal to average 10,000-11,000 steps per day. He also averaged 1,500-1,900 calories per day. “I went for the colorful foods and focused on limiting the amount of calories I was putting into my body.” Baloun mentions, “I start each day with a fresh fruit smoothie, drank 64 oz. of water daily and limited the amount of alcohol and pop I consumed.” In addition, to help in his weight loss process, Al could often be found in the Wellness Center running on the treadmill.


Al has found that with his recent weight loss he has been able to rebound quicker and not be so tired all of the time. He has been able to sustain his lower cholesterol and blood pressure values to successfully fulfill his goals. Al has continued to set new goals for himself by adding more 5K’s to his list in preparation for running in the Mankato Marathon 10K event this October. You can also find Al officiating sporting events such as football, baseball and softball in Minnesota and Iowa.

Al also would like to thank the Wellness Center for having an event like this to give him motivation to improve his health. Al notes, “I would recommend this challenge to anyone, because it assists you in making time for yourself.” He also encourages others to use previous failures or roadblocks as motivation. Al tried the Weight Loss Challenge in 2018, but found himself backing out due to family reasons. Baloun’s last words of advice were, “Don’t give up just because you failed one year. Keep trying and continue to set goals to improve for yourself.”

The Windom Area Health Wellness Center wishes Al the best of luck as he continues crushing his wellness goals and thanks him for his participation in this year’s Weight Loss Challenge! Be sure to keep your eyes open for information on our 2020 Wellness Challenge rolling out in November 2019!

In additional to the personal satisfaction Al got through this challenge, he also won the grand prize of a $100 gift card to Scheels, one free month Wellness Center Membership and one free 10-punch card to the AmericInn Pool of Windom.

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