Northwest Winter Challenge Profile: Abbey Cantrell

Abbey Cantrell

When doctors diagnosed Abbey Cantrell of Snoqualmie, WA with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension, a condition that could lead to loss of her vision by pressure mounting on her optic nerve, she was given the choice of regular invasive treatments or losing weight to control the condition. Abbey chose to pursue a weight loss regimen that led to not only to her losing close to 100 pounds but also led her to champion better fitness for her family and her friends.

I knew I already needed to lose weight,” says Abbey, “so I went the weight loss route. After losing over 90 pounds and counting, I am no longer showing signs of increased cranial pressure and am in the clear!” Abbey routinely gets up at 5:30 AM to fit fitness into a busy life that includes caring for her family, working part-time, and giving many volunteer hours in her community.

Members of Team Freezin' for a Reason on a recent hike to Stan's Overlook, North Bend, WA
Members of Team Freezin’ for a Reason on a recent hike to Stan’s Overlook, North Bend, WA

In December 2018, a friend recommended that Abbey join the Northwest Winter Challenge, to help her keep her routine through the New Year. Eager to stay motivated, Abbey started recruiting friends to join her in walking or running at least one mile a day in January 2019 to complete the Challenge. Abbey is a strong recruiter, and she convinced fifty-one family members, friends, and neighbors to join her team called “Freezin’ for a Reason.” Her team became the second biggest in the NW Winter Challenge and is the largest in the current NW Winter Challenge Overtime Challenge, a continuation of the Challenge that runs through the end of March 2019. Her two boys, Eli and Carter, and her husband, Jon, also participated in the NW Winter Challenge. For the Cantrells, family time became fitness time.

The historic winter of 2019 never daunted Abbey. “Honestly, getting outside is easy for me. I love being outside. I have learned that I need to be outside every day, even if it’s just for a quick mile.” Her biggest goal for the winter was to increase her daily walking miles from three miles a day to five miles a day. Her determination paid off as she logged just over 220 miles in January for the NW Winter Challenge and close to 350 miles so far in the Overtime Challenge.

Abbey and family enjoy a hike to Coal Creek Falls, Cougar Mountain, WA
Abbey and family enjoy a hike to Coal Creek Falls, Cougar Mountain, WA

Abbey keeps her future goals focused on specific, attainable to-do list items. “My biggest goal is to run my first 5K in June. While I can walk a 5K no problem, I really want to run a full 5K. My second goal is to get to a total of 100 pounds of weight loss, only six more pounds to go!” Abbey plans to run her first 5K at the Fall City Days 5K on June 8, 2019.

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