“One of the main lessons I have learned is to accept incremental change...”

            Lorne Dach


lorne dach | jamie platz family ymca


I jumped at the opportunity to join the YMCA Community Health Challenge 3 months ago at the Jamie Platz Y. I had been thinking about regaining my fitness and returning to a healthy weight for some time. The public profile of my progress meant there would be no backing out or slacking off.


I expected that there would be a lot more suffering involved in the first few weeks. However, our trainers made sure the pace we kept was in line with our abilities and the noticeable early results made up for the strain of invigorating forgotten muscles. A three month Weight Watchers membership was also a welcome surprise. Eating a healthier diet, and beginning to lose weight right away, made the physical exercise easier and provided real motivation to keep going. 


In my first week jogging around the track was out of the question and 5 push ups was my max. Now I am beginning to run around the track, slowly increasing my stamina and am up to 20 push ups.


One of the main lessons I have learned is to accept incremental change, some fellow participants made progress and lost more weight faster, but I am super pleased with the pace of my progress.  After 12 weeks I am down 20 lbs, I have changed my diet but am not starving or craving unhealthy foods. I look forward to running and climbing stairs and soon I am going to dust off the water skis from my garage attic for the first time in years. The Health Challenge cemented my commitment to follow through with the program in a way that I may not have done on my own. Now, I am a spokesperson for health and fitness because it has made me feel so good.


My heartfelt thanks go to the YMCA and their many sponsors for undertaking this very worthwhile public health initiative.



I am actually beginning to lightly jog around the track at the Y rather than a fast walk. This transition is happening sooner than I thought it would. However, I am carrying almost 20 lbs. less weight so I shouldn't be too surprised. One good result leads to another. 

Health Challenge participants met for a wrap up dinner at the very lovely Parkallen Restaurant on March 22 where we all enjoyed healthy Mediterranean menu items and shared stories of success and continuing challenges on our journeys toward health and fitness. 

One week of Jenna’s personalized training remains; she has been instrumental in my progress. Jenna read my personal needs like a book and tailored the pace and intensity of my exercise regimen to match my abilities, while increasingly pushing my boundaries. I intend to buy a YMCA personal fitness package to continue learning how to design my training program to match my improving fitness level. 

I told Premier Notley I would be jogging with her before the summer's end as a result of my participation in the YMCA Community Health Challenge. Jenna and I have some work to do to keep that commitment, but it's gonna happen! Starting with lightly jogging one lap at a time at the Jamie Platz Y. 

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I gained a pound this past week for the first time since I started the Challenge. 

Lucky to get away with only one pound gain, considering I ate some of my old favourites, but in slightly smaller quantities - I keep smaller plates in the cupboard now. 

Someone said I might have started to increase muscle mass, but I’ll wait for more evidence before I accept that rationalization. 

Third workout this week scheduled and I need those “fitpoints” to counter my earlier indulgences. 

Getting to know which gym equipment suits me best I found that I actually like Jacob's ladder.  Now well along in the challenge, I am beginning to build my own training habits and creating goal oriented workout patterns – I am having fun doing it too!



I have had a challenging fitness and dietary week.

I only made it twice to the gym this week and too much of my former habit of eating bad foods in the late evening steered me off course.

I am reassuring myself this journey will take many years; it is not a 12 week sprint.

This week most certainly demonstrates the need to keep a long term commitment as the goal while I recommit to best practises.



I would call this week a holding pattern week.

I ate smaller amounts of some of the calorie rich foods, which tempt weight gain such as pasta and rice, along with my protein intake. Monday's weigh in will tell the tale of that experiment.

I attended both personal trainer workouts on Monday and Wednesday but I am still having trouble making sure I get my to third workout on my own each week.  I have to make that third workout happen for my fitness results to improve.  I am making progress though and the week is not over yet!



I finally reached my goal of 3 workouts a week! Going from Wednesday morning until Monday evening was too long between fitness sessions. With my trainer’s help, I feel comfortable creating a variety of training circuits on my own.

On Friday morning, I also reconnected with my long time friend Eden Hampson and his son Chris. Eden has been working out studiously for over 50 years. In 5 minutes he had me on my way to loosening up my lower lumbar muscles with 3 simple exercises I can do at home on my non-gym days. I look forward to more tips from Eden and continued encouragement from other Y members who take time to applaud my efforts while at the gym. 

As far as my focus on diet I have not been tracking my intake as planned – in the future this has to change. So far I think I have gotten away without tracking by applying my knowledge of the "Smart Point" system, but long term success will require better monitoring of my caloric intake. We'll see where I am when I weigh in on Monday.

I am very satisfied with my progress at the half way point of the 12 week program. I will be ramping up my focus on tracking diet to make sure I begin to lose some of the torso fat deposits little by little.

Enjoying the journey.



The “Famous Four” work out team at Jamie Platz started to increase our intensity in Week 3 and diversify the equipment options we use to balance cardio capacity and muscle building exercises.

Setting my Friday workout session time in stone in my calendar has proven challenging. I sense the need to do a three-day a week program to maintain forward fitness progress. Going without a workout from Wednesday until Monday is too long. That three-day regimen is a goal I must meet to reach my fitness targets. 

I am on the Fit Points for filling foods throughout the day and all in all I am pleased with my progress. I look forward to Monday weighins.

So far so good!



I am now attending the YMCA three days a week. On Monday the Jamie Platz famous four group met and we found out just how much work we have to do on our “slothful” bodies. The foam roller promises to be a real back saver - I am going to buy one for home use right away. It really gets out the muscle wrinkles and is a great warm up medium for thighs and back muscles.

On Wednesday, during my first personal training session with Jenna, I was introduced to strength training. I did reps on various weight training machines designed to involve all the major muscle groups, front to back and top to bottom; they all felt good. I was a little sore on Thursday, but in a good way, and am looking forward to developing a training circuit involving cardio and strength exercises which will have me looking forward to taking the stairs and avoiding elevators.

Actually, I only used the elevator at my office once this week. Three flights, about 75 stairs total, still make me huff and puff a bit - but it's coming. Just heading off to my individual Friday workout.  I always meet people I know at the YMCA and everyone is very encouraging.

This third attempt at YMCA membership and fitness training is going to work!  I just know it!



I am out of the gate into the first week of my YMCA Community Health Challenge journey to better health and fitness.

On Monday night I signed up with Liz at WeightWatchers, weighed in for the first time and began to take control of my nutrition.  A good friend of mine Jeff Greene, who joined WeightWatchers five years ago following his wife Joanne's encouragement, is excited to be my special coach. Following a successful weight loss with WeightWatchers, and fitness training at Jamie Platz YMCA, Jeff has participated in the Grande Cache Death Race four times already. Right now, the Death Race would be the end of me, but I am already encouraging the rest of the “Famous Four” to join me in a hike up to the Abbott Pass Hutt (elevation 9600') in Yoho National Park as a Victory Celebration in June. Might be a canoe challenge in the offing from one of the other Famous Four, Christopher Petrie as well.  

Later on Monday evening the Jamie Platz YMCA "Famous Four" met our fitness mentor and personal trainer Jenna Buckley. Jenna guided us through a one mile quick walk as well as squat and pushup drills to determine our rough baseline fitness level. Believe me, it was a rough baseline fitness level.

I have a long way to go, but I knew that before I started, and I’m excited to be underway.



Hello I am Lorne,

I am a divorced parent with three adult step children who all live out of province.  I also have three grandsons under the age of five who I do not get to see as often as I would like. If I am going to be able to keep up with them, I need to drop my weight and regain my physical fitness.

Generally,I want to stop my weight gain in it's tracks and adopt a healthier diet and exercise regimen for the long term.  Seven years ago, I climbed up to the Abbott Pass Hut (elevation 9600 ft.) in Yoho National Park.  I want to be able to do that again.

I am trying to knock on every door in the Edmonton McClung riding at least once before the next election.  Along with a team of volunteers I go canvassing most Thursday and Sunday evenings.  That's a good beginning to a fitness commitment but I am ready to focus on a more structured program to help me reach my goals and to make my healthier lifestyle choices permanent.  I look forward to the assistance of the programs and professionals at the YMCA to help me on my way to better health and fitness.