As a new employee of Lifespan Brands, I didn’t know much about the Daily Herald Fittest Loser Challenge. As the Social Media Marketing Manager of a sponsoring company, I attended to take photos and post on Twitter and Facebook. I have watched some Biggest Loser episodes on TV, but that is a lot different than being in the same room with the contestants. In addition to the group and individual winners, a list of over 20 contestants lost over 10% of their body weight, which is incredible!
They were so proud and happy about their new, healthier appearances and habits. Their faces were beaming. Groups worked so hard together and cheered for each other, whether they won an award or simply participated. The trainers were genuinely proud of their students; the doctors, the Daily Herald employees and other sponsors were so excited to acknowledge the participants and congratulate them on their great accomplishments. Wives kissed their husbands who won in the team efforts with tears in their eyes. Police officers showed their more vulnerable and emotional sides. Everyone truly was a winner.
Even those like me in the audience felt inspired to get active and start eating better. I took my 15-year-old daughter to the event, and like me, she was touched by the success stories.
She said excitedly, “We need to get a personal trainer, and a gym membership, and a nutritionist and personal chef!” Yes! I would LOVE to do that… if I had the money!
“But we can do these things on our own,” I answered.
Contestants in the individual competition told their personal stories of why they participated; and how their journeys changed their lives. Some of them had health conditions, like joint problems and diabetes. It must have been very difficult for them to exercise, and it probably hurt! Some wanted to set a better example for their families. Some just needed a little help to get on the right track. They were so determined and didn’t give up. That’s what I want to do.
I like working out, and love the feeling of looking better, fitting into my clothes without discomfort. Back when I was a stay-at-home mom, I had the time to work out more often cook healthier meals. I loved taking classes at the gym and felt great when I lost inches from my waist. This should all be reason enough to get my lazy butt moving! And my kids are young, so they can definitely exercise more. We all need to get more active and eat less junk food.
As for many working parents, one difficult part is finding the time to exercise. I need to make it priority. The same goes for making healthier meals for me and my kids. When I come home from work, I usually feel too tired to cook. It’s so much easier to pick up a pizza! And it tastes so good… But I need to make a conscious effort to buy vegetables and take the time to cook more nutritious meals at home. My daughter has learned a lot from her favorite cooking TV shows, so she is now starting to cook for us, which is a big help. After the Fittest Loser event, we both pledged to make better food and activity choices. We planned to start preparing some healthy meals on Sunday nights to take to work and school. We would cut down on fried foods: pick the salad instead French fries at restaurants, skip fast food as much as we can, and resist the temptation to buy sweet treats and fat-filled snacks at the grocery store. And of course, we must exercise more.
I walked away from the finale event with a strong sense of motivation and encouragement. The Daily Herald, Push Fitness and other sponsors did a wonderful job of recognizing the hard work and dedication of the participants. The positivity and pride in the room full of winners really rubbed off on me and my daughter. I hope that she remembers the happiness of the contestants, and remembers the reward they received for their hard work, so that she will feel inspired to follow their lead to a healthier lifestyle! And of course, I too, will try to follow their example. Thanks to the Daily Herald for putting on this great event! Thanks Mel Boldt for the motivating us and for this wonderful letter.
By Tami Craig