Reporter wins her second Weight Loss Challenge -

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I did it again — I won the Weight Loss Challenge.

I managed to lose 16 pounds in 12 weeks, for a total of 5.6 percent of my total body weight. I also lost a total of 12.5 inches in that time. My total pounds lost since I started this weight loss journey in the end of January is 46 pounds.

A second challenge down, and I still have a long way to go. I'm seven months into my 12-month goal, and I'm just shy of the half-way mark to my 100-pound weight loss goal. That means I have five months to lose 54 pounds.

Can I do it? I'm not sure, but I'm going to try like hell.

Now that the challenge is over, I know what not do to — don't pretend you can eat what you want and not exercise as much when life gets in the way. That's what happened last time and I gained. I can't go that route. If I do, I lessen my chances of becoming a mother again.

Throughout personal weight loss journeys you learn a lot about other people, but mostly about yourself. You know your desire, strength, weakness, hope and pain. You might see others who have a goal, but don't work hard to achieve that. It's only natural you wish you could help them too. But, weight loss is a selfish game. You have to think of yourself for yourself. Being focused and determined will make you succeed. I'm proof of that.

I've taken more out of this challenge than the previous one, and it's not just because instructor Michelle Turner provided great tips and information. I had a small team of people who showed me how to be a better me. Watertown Family YMCA Ready to Be Fit Instructor Michelle Graham pushed me, but made workouts fun. My new Ready to Be Fit Instructor Nicole Clutter has showed me machines I'd never tried before, and listens to my every gripe and groan about life.

In the past two weeks I've lost four pounds. I'd like to see a consistent two-pound weight loss each week, but I'll count my blessings even if it's one pound or half a pound. It's still weight loss.

The whole process is scary. So are the machines I've been afraid to try, for fear of failure and intimidation. But, finally I tried one that I had been dreading. It looks scary, difficult and complicated — it's the rowing machine. I actually really liked it! Mrs. Clutter showed me how to work the machine, and said the harder you pull on the handle, the more resistance you feel. That means the harder and quicker you pull, the more calories you burn per hour.

With my first time on the machine last Tuesday, I did a 15-minute program and burned about 120 calories. Not bad for my first time on the rower. Now I can set personal goals there and use that as yet another cardiovascular workout.

People have told me to always change up my routine and I did. The next machine I think I'll tackle will be the spinning bike. I tried it once before but was turned off by the miniscule seat. They're not built for big butts like mine. Nonetheless, if I want a smaller tush then I should probably get on the bike, and if it's uncomfortable I'll start out with a five-minute program and work my way up. Starting small has lead me to big results.

I also had the opportunity two weeks ago to do a telephone interview with past Biggest Loser contestant Tara Costa. Her weight loss struggles mirrored mine, and it felt as if she was re-telling my weight-loss story. We both have been on the fat end of the scale of our group of girlfriends, a pretty face but not much else about our bodies interested people. She changed her lifestyle when a bouncer wouldn't let her in with her friends at a Manhattan night club. I get the same awkward stares — even after losing almost 50 pounds — and feel uncomfortable next to my small-framed, beautiful girlfriends.

Ms. Costa said something to me that will forever stick in my mind: "You are my distraction right now." Simply by talking with her on the phone, I helped her avoid the bad food choice of consuming multiple chocolate-covered strawberries in her hotel room. With my first introduction, I helped her in such a small way that meant so much to her.

Everything we write or say can affect people. If we all could spread just a little bit of help, we'd be a healthier population.

At her heaviest weight Ms. Costa was 315 pounds. At my heaviest, I wasn't much smaller than that. She's down 150 pounds since then, and that's about what I'd like to lose. Seeing someone work so hard to achieve the results they wished for is a renewed determination on my end to continue the struggle. In her words, set goals and never give up. Ms. Costa is now competing in triathlons. I'd eventually like to be healthy enough to run a half marathon.

She's doing one of her top goals; I can do mine in time.

So can you.

The next Weight Loss Challenge won't begin until January. So, let's take these next few months to work together to lose weight to get a jump start on weight loss before the challenge begins.

If you're on board and need tips, advice or encouragement, or simply an exchange of resources and information, email me at

27 Sep, 2011

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