English teacher, UA prof hit the trail, and shed pounds
J.D. Fitzgerald/Special to the Explorer, Canyon del Oro English teacher Ann Bonar walks 10,000 steps a day to stay healthy. Since listening to Healthiest Town in America promoters Drs. Bob and Debbie Oro, Bonar lost 35 pounds from January through July of last year, and she’s keeping it off. The second Healthiest Town in America celebration is this Saturday, March 6, at Oro Valley Marketplace.

Last year, Oro Valley dentists Drs. Bob and Debbie Oro spoke to educators at Canyon Del Oro High School about healthy living, and the Healthiest Town in America initiative.

English teacher Ann Bonar listened.

"They got me thinking about it, and about getting healthier, and for my whole family, not just for me," Bonar said.

She and her husband Scott wanted to lose some weight. As the father and step-mom of two girls, ages 11 and 12, the couple wanted "our kids to see us leading a healthy lifestyle."

They made a New Year's resolution, and started following a Weight Watchers plan, counting points every day. "We were super, super strict with ourselves for those first six months," she said.

And they'd walk, aiming for at least 10,000 steps a day.

From January through July, Ann Bonar lost 35 pounds. Scott, a professor at the University of Arizona, shed 30. They've kept it off, too. "Once you get all that ugly food out of your system, it makes you feel yucky when you start eating it again," she said.

The weight loss really kicked in with daily hikes at the nearby Linda Vista Trail below Pusch Ridge. "It's fantastic," Ann said. "We're both avid hikers. That really has helped us." Hiking pushed Ann over 10,000 daily steps. And she's stuck with it.

"I'm not super skinny by any means, but I'm fit, and I can maintain a level of activity that's good for me," Ann said. "I feel so much better. My knees don't hurt as much as they did, and I have more energy throughout the day. I'm not completely exhausted by the time I teach my last class. We both feel so much better now."

It wasn't hard to do, she said. "It's hard when the weather's been bad," as with recent rains, Ann said. "I don't like the gym, I hate running, and machines. You can always find a place to walk, and the hiking is fantastic." It's important to "find something you enjoy."

The girls have grown to "like a lot of the food we're eating, and the kids have also gotten healthier," Ann said.

"Ann is a great example, a great role model," Bob Oro said. "Everybody in their own way will find their way. There'll be a lot more."

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