By DENISE FEDOROW
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Approximately 70 people have taken the first step to a healthier life style by signing up for this year’s Biggest Loser Competition. This is the second year for the competition sponsored by the Nappanee Area Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with Nappanee Health and Fitness — the purpose to promote healthier lifestyles in Nappanee.
Contestants are being offered tons of support, as well as discounts on some products and services to help them on their journeys, prizes along the way and grand prizes at the end of the competition.
A kickoff meeting took place Jan. 10 at Nappanee Health and Fitness where contestants were introduced to a whole team of professionals who will be available to them during the contest. Including Certified Personal Trainer Shane Staley, who told them they were in a way like addicts.
“I am here to help you,” Staley said, “This is your rehab center and I’m your sponsor. I’m not a drill sergeant. I get to know you and what you can and cannot do and set up a program for you.”
He addressed two common objections people use for not joining a gym or using a trainer — cost and the fear of being judged by others.
“This is the friendliest gym I’ve been to,” he assured them. “Everybody here wants to get in and get out and feel better about themselves. They’re not here to be critical of you.”
As for the cost, he asked contestants to think about the money they spend daily on health insurance and medicine. Staley is offering his personal training services to contestants at a discounted price of $10 per 30-minute session during the competition.
Also offering his services to the contestants is Certified Sports Nutritionalist Doug Pomeroy, who worked 20 years as a personal trainer. He told the contestants, “Food is 75 percent of your success. The wrong foods can cause you to fail before you even start.”
He said everyone should eat five to six times a day with a combination of proteins, complex carbohydrates and mono-unsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.
“When people diet they tend to focus on just one of the three”, he said. “If you eat healthy you’ll have to force yourself to eat enough because you won’t be hungry.”
Pomeroy told them at almost 60 years old he’s had 21 surgeries and overcame cancer five times. If not for his healthy lifestyle, he said he wouldn’t be alive today “and still able to do 100 pushups.”
“The choices you make now will make a difference down the road,” he told them.
Lyndsay Yoder was a contestant last year. This year she’s part of the support team. She told the group, “One year ago I sat where you are — 40 pounds heavier.”
She said she’d convinced herself that was normal after giving birth to three children and being in her 30s; that she could eat whatever and just work out more. “I would have told you we were eating healthy,” she said.
But after going through the program and learning from Doug she said she now knows, “Never will anything you eat taste as good as fit and healthy feels.”
Yoder told them the program uses the philosophy of “The Biggest Loser” for the contest. Participants know, “We’re here to support you as much of us as you want,” that they have one another to be accountable to and a support team to call when things get tough.
“What you’ve decided to do is huge,” she said. “It takes your body three to four months to convince it to change.”
A couple of people there looking for change included Terra Fischer, sponsored by her employer, Topping Dental Group. Terra joined with Jenny Fischer, also through Topping Dental Group. Terra said her goal is to lose 25 pounds. “But I don’t want to stress out about it or I’ll give up,” she admitted.
Ronda Klotz was enticed to the program by seeing how it affected Lyndsay Yoder in such a positive way. “I saw the signs for it and thought, ‘OK, it’s time.’”
Klotz’s first goal is to lose 25 pounds by the time she goes to Florida in March.
The program officially started Monday and goes to March 26. The group will meet for support and training every other Tuesday evening and there are giveaways at each meeting. At the kickoff someone won their entry fee back and two others won gift cards from Martin’s Supermarkets. Contestants will also receive a T-shirt.
“We’re not giving it to you till near the end because I don’t want anyone to need the same size,” Yoder said.
The top male and top female with the most percentage of weight lost will each win $250. All who weigh in at the finish will be entered into a drawing for a two-day, family of five prize package for WFRN’s Friend Fest to be held at Amish Acres in June.
Yoder told them, “Ask yourself, ‘Am I seriously ready to change my life? I promise you if you give 100 percent — not 90 percent —100 percent for the next 10 weeks, you’ll look better, feel better and weigh less. You can do anything for 10 weeks.”
SIDEBAR: PREVIOUS WINNER OFFERS ADVICE
By DENISE FEDOROW
Arden Graber was named Nappanee’s Biggest Loser for 2012 and he offered advice for this year’s contestants.
“If you want to lose weight and keep it off it requires a lifestyle change — that’s how you got it in the first place,” he said.
“Before the competition I wasn’t exercising much, my job had become less physical and I was eating more fast food. It takes commitment to change how you eat and continue to be active,” he said.
During the competition Arden lost 22.4 pounds, “But I kept working at it and at one time lost a total of 30 pounds. Now I fluctuate between 26 to 28 pounds lost from the start of the competition.”
Graber said he was comfortable with that success and that he’s maintained more than he lost during the 10-week competition. He said he had to go out and buy new pants and shirt and he was surprised how much a difference 25 to 30 pounds made.
Graber said he used a meal replacement shake during the first three months for two meals a day, justifying the cost in what he was saving in not buying convenience foods, pop and fast food. He no longer drinks pop but he does still frequent fast food restaurants on occasion but he finds the healthiest options they offer — sandwiches with better bread or salads.
“I ate a lot of salads,” he said. “My wife asked if I was getting sick of salads, but I found ways to make it interesting, adding fruits and nuts and hard boiled eggs. Adding a lot of bulk made me feel full.”
Another piece of advice he offers contestants is for them to realize they may drop pounds quickly at first but at some point, it will slow down and that’s normal.
“I lost 10 pounds the first two weeks and then only 4 to 6 the next two. The people at Nappanee Health and Fitness told me as muscle starts to build you don’t see as much loss on the scales,” he advised the contestants to stick with it and don’t be discouraged.
Graber said he likes to run, but had stopped and now has more energy to do so again. “I can’t imagine running with a 25-pound sack and that’s what that extra weight was for me,” he said.
He joked when he saw the prizes for this year’s competition he was tempted to put the weight back on so he could join and lose it again.
Graber said one has to be committed to lose the weight and feel the benefits health-wise, have less medical expenses and feel good in the process. He commended the support given by those at Nappanee Health and Fitness.
“It was really neat to be involved with a group like that,” he said. “It was motivating and a lot of fun!”
Last year the competition started with 40 people and 30 weighed in at the end. They lost a total of 435.1 pounds — an average of 14 pounds per person or an average of 6.8 percent body weight.
Change your diet for healthier living
According to Certified Sports Nutritionalist Doug Pomeroy here are some foods to avoid and some foods to add to your diet for healthier living.
PROTEIN: Good protein should be 30 percent of your daily diet because it repairs muscle and tissue. The best protein for digestive purposes is fish and canned tuna in water (mercury-free) is OK, too. Good protein contains essential amino acids our bodies can’t produce on their own. Other sources of good protein are eggs (if cholesterol is not a problem for you) soy, dairy products and quinoa. Avoid red meat.
CARBOHYDRATES: Avoid simple carbohydrates like sugar. “Sugar is like poison to the body. Cancer thrives on sugar,” according to Pomeroy. Refined white flour should also be avoided because of its high glycemic index (turns into sugar). Pomeroy recommends Stevia as a sweetener and Ezekiel bread made from sprouts. Kashi pizza is also good. Complex carbohydrates should be eaten five to six times a day. Fruits and vegetables are complex carbohydrates. Oatmeal (old-fashioned best), whole grains and brown or wild rice.
FATS: Fats are also essential to our diets. Without fats our skin dries, hair falls our and nails crack, Pomeroy said. Avoid saturated fats that come from animal sources. Fatty meats, processed chocolate, fried foods should be avoided. Monounsaturated fats like olive oil and canola oil are good for you and polyunsaturated fats that come from vegetable sources.
Breakfast is the most important meal and so is the last meal you eat before going to bed. Eating protein before bed instead of a sweet snack is best.