Not quite the biggest loser...

Back in May, something snapped inside of me and I decided that I needed to get myself back into shape. I have been impressed with my sister over the past couple of years for losing weight and getting herself healthy. We both saw what our mom went through always struggling with her weight, which ultimately lead to Type 2 diabetes. An unyielding disease. Neither of us wanted that for ourselves. Or our loved ones.

So, I started talking to everyone in my office at C. Alan Publications about starting a weight loss contest a la The Biggest Loser TV show (minus the public humiliation of tipping the scales and being voted off and all that). I just wanted everyone to put some money in the pot so that it would be worthwhile for the winner (aside from the enormous satisfaction of losing the weight). So, after everyone in the office was on board, some friends of the employees joined in the fun bringing the number of competitors to 11. The stage was set, but since I was a competitor, I felt I needed to get someone else on board that would act as the impartial judge/motivator/adviser for this 12-week contest. In my mind there was only one person for the job – the amazing 2-time Iron Man finisher, coach, trainer, nurse and all-around awesome human being Marisa Pirih of Evolve Multisport (oh yeah, and a dear friend).

(I also need to quickly give credit to someone from my running group in NC that inspired me to start this contest. His office did the same thing, but he actually won his contest and is now extremely fit and training for his first Iron Man. Truly an inspiration.)

After a really informative and helpful general meeting at the start of the contest, everyone was off and running (and talking smack to one another) on May 27th. Marisa sent out weekly emails to the group over the 3 months with great nutritional tips, recipes, and motivational quotes and in return, each competitor emailed her with their weight & measurements every other week and any other questions they might have. What a great resource to have access to!

Goals I set to win the contest:

  • Stop eating like crap. The winter & the spring were not particularly nice to my health. After suffering a bout of walking pneumonia, I slipped into some abysmal eating habits (like Chinese takeout, pizza takeout, etc)
  • Get off my butt and exercise. During that dark winter & spring, I started going to a personal trainer and was training for another half marathon, but I had not yet truly made the decision to be healthy, so those things failed. Miserably. I was trying to pawn the responsibility off on someone else.
  • Track all calories, fat, carbs, & protein. I’ve never tried this when I was eating like crap, but I think it would be a rude awakening. After deciding on the daily numbers, I plugged in everything I ate every day on
  • Start training for my first full marathon. I ran my first half marathon last October and was still on the fence as to whether I was prepared for the full 26.2. After a motivational coffee with Marisa, I decided to go for it. Figured that this would get my cardio in every week.
  • Lift weights & do core workouts 3 times a week. I have dumbbells, a weight bench, and an exercise mat at home, so I had no excuses (and no gym fees).
  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

Sounds like a lot of monumental changes, but honestly this was the easiest time I’ve ever had getting healthy. I did something similar back in my mid-20s during my doctoral degree, but it felt a lot more like work and a chore to get up at 6am every morning to go to the gym. This time, I've been enjoying all the healthy foods and running and exercise and have never felt like I was depriving myself of anything.

On to the results: The contest ended the Wednesday after I moved out to Oklahoma to start the new job. All the results were calculated based on the percentage of weight and inches lost throughout the contest. After we were told of the standings at the halfway point, I thought I might have it in the bag, but this was not the case. By the end of the contest, I had lost 39 pounds (and the greatest percentage of weight) but someone else bested me with the percentage of inches lost and took the lead.

Disappointed? Yeah, a bit. However, I have to remember the really positive outcomes of all of this:

  • I’m now down 50 pounds and have only 5 more pounds to go to reach my goal weight.
  • I’m a much stronger and faster runner.
  • I’m generally happier, more confident & much better focused in every aspect of my life.

Anyone else have a similar story to share? How has healthy living affected you?