Three people spend six months making positive life changes

SHEBOYGAN (WITI) -- Depending on how you look at it, time can either work for you or against you. For six months, FOX6 has been following a group of volunteers from the Sheboygan area as they attempted to change their lives for the better.

There are many ways to measure success -- benchmarks that can be both seen and felt.

"I wanted to stop being the 'blob in blue,'" Dennis Erdy said.

Tomi Genske wanted to quit smoking, while Kimberly Hahn wanted to start a family -- and knew she had to make changes in order for that to happen.

Erdy, Genske and Hahn have all tried to lose weight before.

"It definitely wasn't the first time I thought I need to lose weight," Erdy said.

"If there was an excuse, prior to the challenge, I used it," Genske said about her quest to quit smoking.

"My weight had gotten to the point in which it was causing infertility issues with me," Hahn explained.

But this time, it was different. These three, along with others, were chosen to join Prevea Health's "Change Your Game Challenge".

They were given six months during which they would make goals, and then achieve them.

They received lessons in nutrition and physical fitness, and made seemingly small changes -- and each of them saw big results.

"The thing between you and your goals is just empty space filled with excuses," Hahn said.

"Just making time for myself. Yesterday morning, for example, I had fifteen minutes so I went to the gym and ran one mile and went to work. Just make sure I did something that day to accomplish it," Erdy said.

Each had their own turning point, when the pressure they felt from others to do well turned into motivation coming from within. For Genske, it came in the form of running a race -- a smoker's worst nightmare.

"We had set a goal of running a 5k at the end of the challenge. I was surfing around Facebook once and saw there was a race -- The Santa Hustle in Milwaukee and it was in December and I wanted to do it. So we pushed that goal ahead by three months," Genske said.

Genske ran, and she survived.

"That was the start of checking all of these goals off my list. Knowing I accomplished one, I`ve got ten more I can do," Genske said.

Genske has been smoke-free for five months.

As for Erdy, he lost 45 pounds, and says he hasn't felt this good in years.

Hahn has lost 40 pounds, though her ultimate goal is to start a family.

"Knowing that the weight that I have lost is only going to to help with getting pregnant. It's going to help carry the baby and also make a healthier life for the child growing up and I'll be there a lot longer for he or her," Hahn said.

Even though the challenge is over, their pursuit of a healthier lifestyle is not. The way they see it, they have all the time in the world, and might as well spend it living well.

Combined, the three lost 90 pounds and a total of 24 inches. The group's average life expectancy has improved to more than 81 years.