WKVI News Reporter Embraces Walking Challenge


A 36-year-old radio news reporter decided it was time to make a change. She was not eating healthy, was overweight and the only activity she participated in was bowling in league action twice a week. Other than household chores, she wasn’t active.

When the Moving Starke County Forward organization offered the walking challenge, Anita (Goodan) Soltis knew this was her chance to make a difference.

Knowing she would have to get out and purposely walk to be successful in this endeavor and the fact that she would have to change her eating habits, Soltis accepted the challenge and jumped in with both feet. She gathered three of her coworkers and the WKVI team joined the walking challenge.

Five miles a day, counting calories, more fruits and vegetables, no soda and, worst of all, no cake – yes, this was going to be a big change for her.

The first day of her journey didn’t start out so well. The day the challenge started, May 27, Soltis lost the pedometer given to her by Heather Skelly at IU Health Starke Hospital.

“I had it one minute and then I didn’t know where it was,” Soltis laughed. “I thought, ‘this is starting off on the right foot.’”

Not deterred, she downloaded a pedometer app on her iPhone and off she went.

“I started slow at first with only about 4,000 steps as I wanted to get into a rhythm. My feet hurt and my legs hurt because quite honestly I hadn’t been very active. It took a couple of weeks and I got up to 6,000 steps a day and then so on. It’s hard some days but I push myself to get at least 10,000 steps in a day.

“I’m getting pretty tired of salad, but it seems to be working and I feel better. I do miss cake, however,” she grinned.

With the support of her husband Steve, her coworkers, friends and family, Soltis has worked hard and has logged 396,402 steps between May 27 and July 19. With 2,000 steps roughly totaling a mile, that adds up to approximately 198 miles.

From being completely inactive to walking approximately five miles a day and changing her diet, Soltis has lost 13 pounds in her journey.

“You have to make it fun and you have to want to make that change. When I’m out walking, I turn off the rest of the world. The drama and the hectic nature of the day is gone. It’s my time to be with my thoughts. I grab my iPod loaded with ‘80s music, put my headphones on and walk endless laps around my block. The neighbors probably think I’m crazy, but to me it’s just a fun time. You have to make it that way or there’s no use in doing it. I want to make a difference in how I eat, how I think about exercise and how I think about my overall health,” she said.

Soltis learned there’s more to life than just coming home mentally exhausted and sitting in her recliner talking to her husband, watching TV, catching up with friends on Facebook and getting NASCAR updates on Twitter. She gets out and gets moving and she feels better about herself by having the motivation to have a healthier outlook on life.

You can join Soltis and all of the others in the Moving Starke County Forward challenge in walking around the world by signing up at any library branch in Starke County. The challenge ends Sept. 2 but you can enter at any time. Log your steps and turn them in by calling (574) 772-1272.