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Mayors in Courtenay and Comox winning while they're losing

Mayor Larry Jangula of Courtenay and Mayor Paul Ives of Comox are reaping the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle.

Since accepting a weight-loss challenge earlier this year, Mayor Larry Jangula of Courtenay and Mayor Paul Ives of Comox have been reaping the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle.

The local politicians have been measuring weight loss as a percentage of total body mass since Jan. 31. The biggest loser, to be determined June 30, will have his community's flag flown in the other competitor’s community as a show of friendly competition.

The endeavour was inspired by Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto, who pledged to lose 50 pounds over five months in his Cut the Waist campaign. Although the Toronto mayor has fallen short of his goal, local politicians are meeting their objectives with remarkable success.

Ives, who proposed the challenge to all the Valley’s mayors, says that although personal health issues have prevented Cumberland counterpart Mayor Baird from participating, “She is supporting the challenge in her own way.”

Ives and Jangula have “accepted the challenge in good spirit” and set “personal targets to get more fit.”

The competition will be close. “We’ve both lost at least 25 pounds,” Jangula explains. “We’re neck and neck, and we’re not quitting.

“My theory is we’re both winning because we’re both losing,” laughs Jangula, who has been “staying away from processed food” and working exercise into his hectic schedule.

His biggest tips for weight loss?

“You should walk for at least half an hour a day, drink lots of water and learn how to judge the quantity of the food you’re eating.”

He also advises dieters to seek help from and conversation with loved ones, noting that his own wife has been incredibly supportive of his lifestyle changes.

Jangula has been appreciative of commentary on his weight loss, and says the positive feedback has done much to fuel his motivation. He reports feeling “physically better” since beginning the challenge, and claims his energy levels have risen.

Ives has also found a routine that works for him.

Although it’s a struggle eating healthily and exercising while attending political conferences, Ives has worked hard to “keep it all in balance.” And while early-morning, all-weather workouts have been a tough match for Ives’ willpower, he insists these activities have been worthwhile endeavours for his own mental well-being.

Ives frequents the Comox Recreation Centre, where he makes use of its state-of-the-art gym and demanding spin classes. He has also purchased a road bike to supplement his exercise regimen; in addition to participating in Bike to Work Week, Ives explores the Valley from a cyclist’s perspective on regular rides. The challenge has helped Ives “enjoy the community’s recreational amenities.”

Ives admits, though, that “the last 10 pounds really are the hardest.”  He says it’s easy to hit a plateau when you’re enduring “the same workout, listening to the same music on your iPod.”

Thus, he suggests switching up your routine to ward off stagnancy.  “Keep it fresh, and keep doing it,” says Ives, “every move is a good move.”