We’re already coming up on our next annual challenge and as early registration is quickly approaching (starting Black Friday!) we thought we’d take a look back at last year’s winners. The 2016 Team Weight Loss Challenge winners answer questions about their journey.
TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR WEIGHT LOSS SUCCESS?
Steve: I am very competitive, I hate to lose, so that was a huge motivation during the challenge. Additionally, I had gotten to a weight that I was very uncomfortable with. My clothes weren’t fitting anymore. I was sick of eating badly and not doing anything so psychologically I was in a very good place to do something like this.
Chris: Accountability to the team members and a great team leader – my husband Steve.
Ken and Peggy: We attribute our weight loss to a low carb diet and having a good team leader, Steve. The emails from our trainer, Zach, were also helpful. We all read his emails and his advice was good. Those emails were a good reminder of what we were supposed to be doing to stay on track. We all really appreciated his guidance.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO DO THIS CHALLENGE AS A FAMILY AND DO YOU THINK IT PLAYED A FACTOR IN YOUR SUCCESS?
Steve: We knew we would be more successful as a family. We often eat together and so we were able to share healthy meals and not be tempted by someone not on the diet making something unhealthy. We also motivated each other in a draconian but effective way. We reported our weights to one another every single day of the challenge. If someone was falling behind the curve they knew about it.
Chris: Yes – because we see each other a lot and could support each other (with regards to getting regular exercises and making smart food choices – especially as we were eating together a fair amount).
Ken: I did this with my family because I didn’t know anyone else who was overweight. It did help to do this with my family.
Peggy: I knew we all needed to eat better. It was encouraging to see people I care about losing weight too.
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST STRUGGLE DURING THE CHALLENGE?
Steve: My biggest struggle was eating in social situations. Potluck meals at work meetings, dinners with friends, things like that were hard.
Chris: Making time for exercise (I’m a fulltime working mom).
Ken: My biggest struggle was my appetite.
Peggy: Avoiding sweets and bread.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE “GO TO” WORKOUT OR EXERCISE DURING THE CHALLENGE?
Steve: I usually play tennis and go climbing at Adventure Rock climbing gym. I spent as much time on the treadmill and elliptical trainer as I could stand. By the end of the challenge that was about one hour a day, every day.
Chris: 1/2 hour treadmill or weight session in the early morning.
Ken: My go to exercise was long walks at Foxbrook park.
Peggy: I did the same plus water aerobics at Elite Brookfield.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE “GO TO” MEAL DURING THE CHALLENGE?
Steve: Breakfast- Whey protein in almond milk and maybe a piece of toast with organic hummus. Lunch- Chicken tacos or soup and sandwich from Panera. For the last two weeks, when I dumped carbs completely, it was buff bowls from Noodles. Dinner- fresh meat cooked in a pan and a salad plus one
Chris: Arugula salad, caprese salad, and either a pork chop or small steak.
Ken: My go to meal was eggs.
Peggy: My go to meal was vegetable stir fry and salad.
NOW THAT YOU LOST THE WEIGHT, HOW DO YOU PLAN ON KEEPING IT OFF?
Steve: This is where I struggled last year. After that challenge I lost a few more pounds then drifted back to my old eating habits. I was good about exercise until I developed Achilles Tendonitis. This year I am going to add strength training and more stretching to my workouts. I still have more weight to lose, but don’t need to lose it so fast anymore. I’m going to try for a pound a week for the rest of the year. I’ll bump up my calories a bit so I’m not hungry all the time. I’ll have to track calories and my weight closely to find the balance. Sugar will continue to be almost completely absent from my diet.
Chris: Keeping an eye on daily caloric intake, daily carb intake and trying to exercise regularly.
Ken and Peggy: We plan to lose more weight by maintaining the same program.
Peggy has learned some new recipes she really likes and plans to keep eating these.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR INDIVIDUALS TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT?
Steve: Anyone who says you can lose weight without cutting calories and exercising more is lying to you. You will lose weight proportionally to how little you eat and how much you burn. That’s physics. So you have to find physical activities that burn a lot of calories that you can go often and for long periods of time without getting bored or burned out. You have to eliminate the calories that don’t make you feel full. Anything that you drink with calories should be the first to go. Soda, juice, alcohol. Next goes the desserts. Eat slower, sitting down at a table, not on the run. After you finish a reasonable portion of food, stop eating. If you’re still hungry after 20 minutes or so, eat a little more. Eat small frequent meals, at least four times a day. If you’re craving something to eat between meals, ask yourself if an apple (or some other natural food) sounds good. If it does, eat one. If it doesn’t, you’re not hungry, you’re just craving. Go do something else, like exercise instead. We all have foods that we like so much that it’s like an addiction. So I tell myself the same thing I tell my patients with drug addictions (I’m a psychiatrist). One day at a time. If that seems too long, one hour, or even one minute at a time. Also, find people to hang out with who don’t engage in the addictive behavior.
Chris: Watch your calories and carbs – I felt like cutting back on carbs, especially for dinner is what made the difference for me. Also pick exercise you enjoy as you’re more likely to make time for it. Once you get started on eating well and exercising, it feels too good to stop.
Ken and Peggy: Getting a positively motivating team leader is the best advice we could give anyone trying to lose weight. We’d like to credit Steve for being an awesome motivator.
We’re excited to expand on our annual challenge this year to incorporate prizes for an activity competition as well as weight loss. The program is now called “The Wellness & Lifestyle Challenge” (still TWLC, clever, right?) and we’re excited to go into the challenge and the new year with more of a holistic approach—really addressing wellness as a lifestyle, and not just a quick fix.
So, while you’re out shopping on Black Friday, don’t forget about the best gift, your health! And sign up at EliteClubs.com/TWLC for our annual challenge too!