Eau Claire (WQOW)- Two years ago Dan Ekblad made the decision to change nearly everything about his life, starting with the number on the scale. His story has motivated hundreds of others to get up and get moving.
"I have gained and lost hundreds of pounds over my adult life," admits Dan. "I am an overeater and I readily admit it. It's not much different than being an alcoholic or someone who is addicted to drugs. Because food was my drug."
After the death of his brother Dan took a hard look at his own health and found the motivation he needed to make a lifestyle change; his children. "I really just wanted to get in shape so I could keep up with them," recalls Dan.
As the weight began to drop off Dan decided to journal about his journey online, beginning a blog titled 'I am an Overeater!!'. "After I had lost my first 75 pounds it was coming up to the holidays. I was really worried about pans of sugar cookies and pies so I started the blog just to keep myself accountable and the blog really caught on. Then I thought, I'd really like to have our own 'Biggest Loser' challenge right here in Eau Claire." With that, the Chippewa Valley Challenge was born. Now in its second year Dan helped participants drop two tons of unwanted weight in 2013.
He has big plans for 2014. Dan would like to see the Challenge grow to 1,000 participants and the competition will also include an education. "We're going to try and work on prevention of childhood obesity," he says.
Dan has also worked to bring a big event to Eau Claire. The Biggest Loser Run/Walk will be held on October 20th and includes a half marathon, 5K and Kids Fun Run.
His hard work isn't limited to the gym. Dan can be spotted volunteering throughout the community, one of his favorite spots is the Eau Claire Children's Theatre. "They help kids find themselves, build that self confidence. What a great thing to be able to do," adds Dan.
If the world is a stage, as an avid volunteer Dan plays a supporting role, pushing our community to it's best performance yet. "You know what?" reflects Dan, "You don't get a paycheck at the end of it (volunteering). But it's something that you just will never feel better about doing."