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Before and After Pictures

* Hover over images to see "after"

Nicci
Nicci is a mother of five! She came to me after trying everything else to get her pre-baby shape back. She was working out and trying to eat right, but she just needed a few tiny tweaks to her program. In two months she dropped 13.5% body fat! Her "scale" weight was exactly the same, but her body composition results showed that she'd lost 20 pounds of fat! (The reason she still weighed the same on the scale was because she gained muscle to make up for the lost fat. Muscle is smaller than fat, though, which accounts for her lost inches and dramatically different "after" picture.) The added muscle increased her metabolism, and she got to eat more and more calories to fuel her new "fat-burning-machine!"

Anna
When I approached Anna in the gym, she told me that she didn't want to lose weight because she was afraid she'd gain it back double. She'd had some bad experiences with dieting in the past. Soon she was happily eating a large variety of healthy foods. She made a clear distinction between the "diets" of the past and her current "meal plan." Now she is proud to tell anyone all about her program. She's lost 16.3% body fat, 47 inches, and 50.5 pounds of fat! She told me that people often see her with her daughter and think they're sisters. Way to go Anna!

Lexi
Lexi and I worked together for a short time, but she got a great jump-start on her fitness. She lost 20 pounds of fat! She learned healthy eating habits that have stuck. As she continues to work toward her goal, she'll take what she's learned with her. Looking good, Lexi.

Nate
Nate is a friend of my husband, Monte. He was my first "distance" training client. I took his starting measurements and taught him the things that you'll learn on this site. He took it and applied it, and came back to show me his success. The fun part is that all I did was share new information with him, yet he so generously shares the credit for his fat loss with me. He lost 8 % body fat, 17 inches, and 19.5 pounds of fat! Doesn't he look great? Now he's serving and protecting our country while abroad in Afganistan.

Lorie
When Lori showed up in my training studio, I wasn't sure what she was doing there. She looked great to me. She explained that she had a very stubborn "pear shape." Following the program, she quickly lost 12.5% body fat and 17 pounds of fat. (Who'd have thought she even had 17 pounds of fat to lose?) She sure looked great in that after picture! Now she's studying to become a personal trainer so that she can share what she's learned with others. Note: Lori's total weight only went down by 2 pounds. That's what happens when you change your body composition. She lost fat, gained muscle, and changed from a pear shape to a perfect shape. She managed to give up the obsession with the scale and watch the mirror and clothes sizes instead.

Jaime
Jamie is a great example of someone who really adopted the principles taught on this website. She lost 22 pounds of fat while working with me. She learned to eat small meals often, and she chose high-quality, high-fiber foods. Her training program was interrupted when she found out she was expecting her first baby! She had a difficult pregnancy, which didn't allow for exercise. I worried that she may forget her good eating and exercise habits after her child was born. On the contrary, it was not long until I got an email from her letting her know that she'd lost all of the baby weight and was back to the point where we left off. She lives too far away to train in person now, but she plans on using this website to continue on the way to her goal. I'm so proud of her for changing a lifetime of bad health habits.

Kim
The thing that struck me most about Kim's fat-loss journey is that she seemed to get younger and younger. She was always a very happy, upbeat, and pleasant person. As she ate better and worked out regularly, she seemed to be more and more that way. She actually seemed to be "growing younger" as she grew smaller. (Is that possible, to "grow" smaller?") Anyway, Kim lost 11 pounds of fat and 15 inches! She enjoyed shopping for new smaller clothes.

Suzanne
Suzanne had a great motivation for her fat-loss: fitting into the perfect wedding dress. We had so much fun getting her ready physically for that big day. By her wedding date, she'd lost 8 % body fat, 25.5 inches, and 22 pounds of fat! You can imagine how different that wedding dress must've looked on her. To me the real test came after the wedding, though. Did she continue on the program? Yes! I'll keep you updated as she continues with her fat-loss goals.

Dick
When I asked Dick what his goal was in starting a fitness program, he told me it was to save his life. He had diabetes and other serious health concerns. As he changed his eating habits and exercised, his doctor had more and more good news for him. He was changing his fate. Not that this is nearly as important, but here's what he did to his measurements: he lost 23.5 pounds of fat and 24.25 inches. He lost 8 inches just in his waist. (This is important, because fat carried around the waist is the most dangerous for heart and other organ health.)

Mark

Having been quite ill the past few years has made me physically unable to work and do many of the things I once could. As a result I have been in deep depression, overweight, and out of shape. This contest has made me accomplish, in three months, what my doctor has been trying to get me to do in over two years. Exercise, eat healthy, and lose weight. I felt very proud when he asked me what on earth made me lose all the weight. I told him about this contest and he was impressed enough to wonder who could have persuaded me to enter. I will never forget that day. My medications, and there are many, have been an obstacle as far as keeping a program going. Being so medicated for so long had all but stopped any desire to do any of the things I once enjoyed. In three months time, however, I have cut my doses, with doctor's approval, by two thirds. Although some medicines I will have to take the rest of my life, others have been eliminated all together. I have set goals of trying to get off anti-depressants, losing weight, and not eating unhealthy foods. I would have never attempted the above goals if not for this wonderful contest. I have begun to take pride in the way I look again. Daily hygiene is once again important to me. "Sweats" were the fashion of the day, every day, to hide my overweight body. I am proud to say I am wearing "normal peoples" pants as I write this essay. By the way, they do not feel tight. These were some of the things depression took away from me without me even noticing, or not caring. I can now look in the mirror without being disgusted with what is facing me. My self-confidence is becoming more and more evident every day. Leaving the house is no longer something to avoid. There are actually some muscles growing where fat once ruled. My energy level has increased as if someone put a new set of Eveready batteries in me. Although exercising has at times been somewhat limited because of neuropathy, Raynaud's Phenomenon, and knee problems, this program has shown me exercises I am capable of doing. That fact gave me one less excuse for not exercising. Even more surprising is the fact I enjoy doing them. There is a feeling of accomplishment that occurs after each rep. I had forgotten what it felt like to perspire. What a great feeling! I would have never remembered those feelings if not for this contest. No compliments would be heard from friends telling me how good I look. Three months ago nobody told me I looked very good. Changing my diet has been a very big challenge in my life as well. Where once sat a gigantic bowl of ice cream now sets a cup of yogurt. A large greasy hamburger is now a smaller Turkey burger. Water instead of pop. The comparisons are endless. All because of a three-month contest. It does not end here, however. Although these first three months were the most crucial, in my case, simply because I would have continued my unhealthy ways. I have come to realize this contest is never ending. It is very forgiving, but never ending. My goals will change as my body and attitude changes. So, in reality, this three-month contest has given me new tools to pursue a lifetime of happiness. Thank you Annette, for putting the article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune last December. It certainly put a lasting impression in my life.

Mark won a Bowflex Revolution home gym! He also won an "Enjoying Weight Loss" program from the Hypnosis Network and an Island Worlds fitness software bundle.


Beth

When I started the Fit America Contest on January 1, 2007 I felt like I had been stuck on the weight-loss-freeway during rush hour for a couple of months. In 2006 I lost 40 pounds by reducing my portion sizes and introducing exercise but by the end of the year my body stopped losing and I didn't know what to do next. I knew I still had some pounds to lose and I dreamt of gaining muscle but I didn't know how. I came across the Fit America Contest online and immediately signed up. That's when my life and body really began to change, but I have to admit I had a rough start. My two children took turns being sick, making getting to the gym impossible and working out at home unachievable. Then, just as the kids were getting better my back went out (something I have been dealing with since my first pregnancy) and I was confined to the floor and in severe pain for several days. With the help of expert Chantal Donnelly on the Fitness Forum I was able to help my back heal with the proper remedies and stretches. Within days I was able to return to my workouts and felt renewed. Thrilled to be back in the game I adapted one of the suggestions given by another one of the other experts, Carolyn Lyons, to introduce interval training to my cardio workouts to help reduce my "baby belly" that was from having my two children 16-months apart. Sure enough, my stomach began to smooth down and feel the firmest and flattest it had in many years. I also began focusing on strengthening my core due to expert Lisa Johnson's emphasis on the importance of building a strong core, especially for the sake of my weak back. Soon after I made these changes I read what Annette wrote in the forums about how common it is to not be lifting enough weight during weight training. That comment hit me like a ton of bricks. In two days I had increased my weights by over 150 pounds. Within a couple of weeks of lifting those new weights I began to really feel the definition of my muscles in my legs, arms, back, and ever shoulders. I was getting strong! In the meantime, I had been losing inches but the scale wasn't really budging. I consulted Annette and she helped me find my proper daily calorie goal on My Fitness Trainer. With in two weeks my calories were adjusted and the pounds began dropping. By this time my jeans were falling down my hips and I was even able to wear a size small shirt. My confidence began to soar and I felt an energy I have never felt! I look forward to continuing my lifelong objective of maintaining my newfound health. The best part is at age 32 I am in the best shape of my life!

Beth won a Bowflex Ultimate 2! She also won an "Enjoying Weight Loss" program from the Hypnosis Network, and an Island Worlds software bundle.


Stephanie

When I started this contest I was ready, ready to finally lose the extra weight I have been carrying around for years. I didn't know the other transformations that would take place in my life! There were obstacles along the way, but it was a great opportunity to work through those and still succeed, I guess there will always be obstacles. I started out the contest with surgery to take care of a kidney stone, this put me a week behind schedule and then ended up having kidney stones again that took me out for another week. I learned that during times of ill health it is possible to continue to make wise choices and take care of myself even if it is at a less intense pace. I have also learned to take care of myself above everyone else. As the mother of three little kids I often am the last to have my needs met, during this contest I came to realize that if I'm not fed, dressed and exercised I am not as productive and good as a mother. I have also learned that just because some one says I should do something, I don't have to do it. I am a grown-up and I can't be sabotage anymore! The biggest physical change for me has been "I AM A RUNNER!" I've always wanted to run and actually be able to accomplish something but I've never been able to get my body to cooperate (nor my mind). Now I am on my way to running a 5k in May! My weight change has not been as great as I would like it to be, but I've lost 2 pant sizes and 3 shirt sizes! My inches have been a great loss and my muscle tone has been one of the most exciting things for me to see transform. I love being a strong, capable woman! Thanks to exercise and eating right I've been able to go off my anti-depressants and I'm happier than I've been in years!

Thanks, Annette, for making this possible and for sponsoring the contest and putting in all the hard, long hours. You are the best!

Stephanie won a Bowflex Ultimate 2! She also won an Island Worlds software bundle.


Jennifer

I have chosen to write in paragraph form an I AM poem that describes the person that this contest has helped me to become.

I am Jennifer, daughter of Eldred and Joan, sister of Chantel, Josh and Melanie, auntie of Eliza and Hannah, teacher of 2nd grade. I am trying to change my course and fate so I don't fall to diabetes like family history says I will. I am a warrior fighting chocolate cravings and negative self-talk. I am resilience. I am an obstacle climber scaling the rock walls of crazy, busy schedules, illness, stress, and pulled muscles. I am a healthy eater. I am baked sweet potatoes and asparagus, broccoli and lima beans. I am homemade whole wheat bread hot out of the oven. I am bananas and oranges, chicken and salmon. I am antioxidants, omega-3's, and 0 trans fats. I am half a cup of organic pumpkin flaxseed granola as yummy as can be. I am a weight lifter. I am lat pull downs, seated rows, and pec flies. I am pushups, squats, stretches, and lunges. I am a band of resistance pulling at my muscles. I am an elliptical workout queen. I am turning corners when I add 5 pounds to the leg extensions machine and 10 pounds to the seated leg curl machine and perform 50 squats all during one trip to the gym. I am inspiration to try new things- Pilates and Brussels sprouts and smaller-sized clothes. I am a loser of 9 pounds, 7% of my body fat, and 7 inches. I am 62% to my goal weight. I tell myself I am almost there. I tell myself I am just beginning. My family tells me I am an example and a motivation. I am health. I am strength. I am getting fit.

Jennifer won a Bowflex Xtreme 2 home gym! She also won a one-year subscription to Northwest Woman magazine and an Island Worlds fitness software bundle.


Del

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have tried so many diets and gimmicks trying to get back in shape. Nothing has worked until I signed up for the Fit America Contest. And what perfect timing.

I am a former US Army Counterintelligence Agent. I gave up my dream to fulfill my wife's dream of starting a family. With the state of our Union I couldn't think of starting a family while still in the Army. I got out of the Army and we started trying to have children and I packed on 70 lbs. We tried for two years unsuccessfully until we finally had to turn to in-vitro fertilization. It worked and my wife was pregnant with twins. At 20 weeks gestation my wife started to go into labor. The doctors prevented the labor until the twins were born at 23 weeks 5 days. My son weighed 1 lb 11 oz and my daughter weight 1 lb 6 oz. My son only survived for two days. My daughter had different plans. She stayed in the hospital for 110 days before coming home December 20, 2006. I promised her in the hospital that if she made it home I would get in shape for her. Now with a promise to keep I found the Fit America Contest. It was meant to be. She fought so hard; she deserves a father that's going to be around for a long time.

I still have a long way to go but what a start. It's like no other weight loss attempt. I have been losing 1-3 lbs a week and feel great. Normally I would have given up with such low weight loss but someone in the forum said, "it's a marathon, not a sprint." That spoke to me. Not only about weight loss but also about my daughter and what lies ahead for her. But I can say confidently now with the foundation laid by the Fit America Contest, whatever lies ahead for her she will have a healthy dad by her side.

Del won a set of Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells with stand and an Island Worlds fitness software bundle!


Jess

My story begins with a mother of 4 in her late 20's. She suffers from depression and is overweight. She smokes and binges on fast food and snacks. She is unhappy in most if not all aspects of her life. She spends a lot of time feeling sorry for herself. She no longer has a job and spends little quality time interacting with her kids. She has the desire for a better life but is too paralyzed by her fear of failure to make any real changes.

There is another mother in this story. She is in her late 20's and is raising 4 children as well. She has a job in a fitness club and was recently promoted to head of her department. She spends time doing activities with her children and enjoys leading an active lifestyle that includes regular exercise. She rarely eats fast food and does not smoke. She is generally happy, is always smiling and has a kind word for those who cross her path each day. She never lets her fears stand in the way of her own happiness. These women may seem very different, almost opposites but in fact they are one in the same. Both of these women are me and the difference is the Fit America contest.

I started out as that overweight, depressed mom uncomfortable in my own skin and too afraid to find a way out of the darkness.

Today I'm no longer terribly overweight and I'm getting fitter every day. I am comfortable in my own skin. I am happier and it shows. I find myself smiling and laughing all the time. I found my voice on the myfitnesstrainer.com message boards and really thrived on offering encouragement and seeking advice from others who were also on this journey. It was amazing to learn that we are never alone and someone out there is always sharing the path. I've learned to set goals and take steps to reach them. I do not smoke and have not smoked since that first week in January! I've learned to cook healthy recipes. I've learned that setbacks don't equal catastrophe. I'm learning that it's ok to set ambitious goals and to try to reach them. no matter where I end up it will be further ahead than where I started. I've learned to handle the fear of failure the way I handle the fear of spiders- crush it and move on. I overcame an injury and learned that life has setbacks but that it can be an enjoyable challenge to find ways to work around those obstacles and succeed.

I am now actually working in a fitness club and I was just promoted to head of my department. I have made new friends and am surrounding myself with people who support living a healthy and fit lifestyle. I am enjoying each day as it comes and facing challenges with new courage and strength.

I've learned such valuable lessons in this process. I previously spent so much time feeling sorry for myself that I wasn't taking the time to be thankful for the things I had. I don't make that mistake anymore.

Thank you to Annette Hudson and the Fit America Contest and its contributors for the opportunity to take a chance, accept a challenge and change my life. I will be eternally grateful.

Jess won a set of Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells with stand and an Island Worlds fitness software bundle!


Wendy

I am 37 years old, and a mother of four. When I started this contest I weighed 188.8 lbs. I have had a problem with being overweight for almost my whole adult life. I have hypothyroidism, depression, and high cholesterol. These were just a few of the obstacles that I have had to overcome. When the contest started I quit smoking as well. Every time that I have tried to lose weight in the past I have failed, until now. Since the beginning of this contest I have lost 14 1/2 pounds, 12 inches, and I lost about 10% body fat. My life has changed so dramatically in the past three months, so much that it is hard to put it into words. I have learned a lot about how to eat healthy, to exercise, and to control my portions, how to fend off cravings, and how to cook healthy. My family and I have definitely changed our lifestyle for the better and we have no intention of going back now that the contest is over. I feel so much better about myself. Even though I still have about 30-35 pounds to lose, I don't feel fat anymore. I feel better just knowing that I have made this life change and I know that the weight will come off. I have no doubts now. The things that I have learned through this contest come naturally to me now, for instance, eating more fiber, eating more whole grains, and eating very little fat and sweets. And just as important, exercise. I now make it a point to exercise at least 4-5 times a week, if not more. I bike, walk, do Pilates, yoga, weight training and I have recently taken up tennis, which is something I have always wanted to do but have always felt that I couldn't because of my weight. There are so many benefits to my weight loss and healthy lifestyle, as well. I have so much more energy now. When I take the kids to the park now I actually play on the playground with them, instead of just sitting and watching them. I can now walk up a flight of stairs without getting short of breath. My seatbelt fits better. I can go out to eat without eating so much that I have to unbutton my pants. My posture has gotten better. I stand straighter. I go to bed earlier and wake up earlier and I definitely get more sleep. This is definitely one of the hardest things that I have ever done in my life, but I am glad that I did. I believe that The Fit America Contest has saved my life.

Wendy won a Bowflex Treadclimber! She also won an "Enjoying Weight Loss" program from the Hypnosis Network and an Island Worlds fitness software bundle!


Mary

I was tired. I was so tired of letting myself down. My name is Mary. I'm married and a stay-at-home mom of three kids, a 4 year old and 15 month old twins. As you can imagine I don't have a lot of time to exercise or really just time for myself. When this contest began I was on the verge of turning 37 and felt rundown. I had just had hernia surgery on September 29th, nine months after having a c-section with twins. I was so out of shape. I completely let myself go, for reasons unknown. I've always been a thinner person, athletic even, but I have been 30-40 pounds overweight for about ten years now. It had gotten to the point where I felt like I would be like this for the rest of my life. I tend to be an all or nothing person, a perfectionist with a knack for complicating things. I would try to schedule in my workouts during the kids' naps, but with so many other things that needed to be done I failed miserably. I would schedule a multitude of exercises I felt I had to do, but I ended up just overwhelming myself so much I never really got started. I was better at planning my workouts than actually working out. I was consistently letting myself down and putting myself last and I didn't know how to turn things around. Thank you Annette! The Fit America Contest was the jumpstart I so desperately needed. I had just completed a tough, demanding first year with twins and I was ready to take my body back. I was finally mentally ready to get fit, but I needed a push, some motivation and definitely some accountability. I knew I had to keep my workouts simple. Simple works for me. I just get up and do it and if I do anything else that day, it's a bonus. I also knew that my most challenging obstacle would be getting up and working out before the kids woke up because I'm not a morning person. I told my husband that I would make his lunch the night before if he brought a cup of coffee to me in bed before he left for work at 6 am. I've gotten up to workout everyday since. As with everything in life there have been some triumphs and some setbacks. Three days into the competition my elliptical machine broke so I had to start doing exercise videos. The entire family got a cold and then the flu. A week into the competition I pulled muscles in my right leg after I fell walking. I've also endured neck and back pain that required treatment from a chiropractor (probably due to that fall back in January). I've had knee and ankle pain which I bought braces for, but I never gave up. I rarely missed a day. I started using the Diet Minders Food & Fitness Journal that I've had for 4 years, which I would start and then stop at least a dozen times in that time span. Now I've consistently journaled 84 days straight and I'm on my second journal! The best thing is that I feel like I have finally made a commitment to myself and it feels so good! I'm well on my way to getting fit so I can be a good mom and be active with my kids. Now I feel like I am making progress and when I am ready I will add new challenges to my fitness routine. This really feels like a lifestyle change for me. I love being active now-I'm even thinking about joining a softball league. I'm so glad I entered this contest. This has been a real turning point in my life. Thanks!

Mary won a Bowflex Treadclimber! She also won an "Enjoying Weight Loss" program from the Hypnosis Network, and an Island Worlds fitness software bundle!


Stacey

I am very thankful that I joined this contest in January. I have unsuccessfully tried dieting several times during the past few years. I needed a little motivation and some support to reach my goal of living a healthy lifestyle. This contest provided the motivation and support I needed to get me on the right track. I am a single mother with two young children. I went to the doctor in November, 2006 to discover I weighed 240 pounds, had high blood pressure, and borderline cholesterol. I was not surprised, but I was shocked enough that I knew I had to do something about my weight, my lack of exercise, and my unhealthy eating habits. I need to be alive and healthy for my daughters. I am the only parent they have. This motivated me to set the goal of eating healthy foods and exercising. I decided to wait until the New Year to begin. I heard about this contest on the radio and thought that I might as well try. I had my five year old take a picture of me on January first (that's why the picture is blurry) and I was appalled by how heavy I was. I guess I never looked at myself closely enough in the mirror. The blurry picture helped motivate me too. I put the blurry picture and a picture of a much younger me closer to my ideal weight hiking in the mountains on the refrigerator. The first month was very difficult. I had a hard time disciplining myself and exercising regularly. I craved the salty, greasy food that I enjoyed in the past. Several times I slipped and ate things I shouldn't. When I have dieted in the past and slipped, I was quick to give up. I really appreciated the support and advice of Annette and others on the forum. I figured if other people could do it, I could too! The encouragement I received kept me going. I have not had a migraine headache since I started losing weight. I have energy to dance and play with my girls. I look forward to hiking and camping with my family this summer. This contest has given me the boost I need to reach my goal of 130 pounds and lead a healthy lifestyle. The contest may be over, but I commit to continuing in the path of healthy eating for a lifetime. I really appreciate all the support I have received through this contest.

Stacey won a Bowflex Ultimate Home Gym!


Janet

Exercise without diet or diet without exercise will not work in the long run, the experts were right! I had kept a journal and a food diary - for the exercise I had taken the time to fill out an 84 day workout schedule, I like strength training, this was easy to do since my day was layed out "JUST DO IT" was the mind set . I never missed a day of exercise, my food diary was just that - writing down what I was eating not planning - good for a baseline not for the long hall. When I looked at my success at the exercise it hit me, I don't need a diary I need a day planner - this past week I started the "Planner" and the results are I am losing weight again. I simply fill out a menu the day before and stay with the plan back to the "JUST DO IT" mind set and it is working. The biggest awakening is the Fiber Factor I never gave it much thought looking at calories and fat in a product I thought was enough - this is a big challenge trying for 50 as suggested I stay around 35 to 40. This will be the year for me and the next 12 weeks will prove it, thank you for the challenge without something to spark the fire and start it going I would have been looking at April and saying I am going to start on Monday fourth month into the year and with the contest I have a new saying I will continue what I started 12 weeks ago.

THANK YOU AGAIN.

Janet won a Jack LaLanne Juicer, an "Enjoying Weight Loss" program from the Hypnosis Network, a one-year subscription to Northwest Woman magazine, an Island Worlds fitness software bundle, and a one-year membership to MyFitnessTrainer.com.


Melanie

The hurdles have been as numerous as that which an Olympic sprinter would face. With diabetic genes in the family, the field seemingly was never level. I have been struggling and suffering with weight issues since Junior High. A few doctors, a dietician and an endocrinologist later I had been diagnosed with polycystic ovaries and insulin resistance. The solution was Metforim and an active lifestyle. But years later with the desire to have children came the decision to stop taking Metforim. One miscarriage and two cesarean section deliveries later found my body battered, beaten and overweight. I had gestational diabetes with both pregnancies, which required me to take insulin. The wake-up calls had come- "lose weight now or get diabetes permanently." However fatigue and exhaustion from juggling life with two children had me hitting the snooze button on that alarm. The final nudge came from a Candida imbalance. The strict diet came and pounds fell faster than every hurdle I had so often fumbled over. As with that Olympic sprinter the hurdles become easier to jump with practice and these past few weeks have set me on a winning sprint where the prize is a lifetime of greater health, happiness, and longevity.

Melanie won a spa gift package from JoLene Marie's Bath and Body Shop, and a one-year membership to MyFitnessTrainer.com!


Stacey

The lessons I have learned during the course of this contest are priceless. When I was about to quit this contest altogether I was fortunate enough to find a friend that introduced me to overeaters anonymous. I am a sugar addict and an obsessive exerciser. I never thought that exercise was unhealthy in any amount. I was out of hand. Overeating all day and then working out 2-3 hours a day to make up for it. I needed to find moderation and balance in my diet and exercise. I started attending meetings and putting to action the food guide pyramid. I felt in control and so empowered for the first time. I stopped over exercising and did it to have fun for the first time. I counted portions and not calories and stayed off the scale. I have learned what is most important is being healthy and loving me NOW, not waiting until I've lost 30 pounds. I don't eat to have fun anymore. When I love me I don't need food to be happy. I am fit and attractive and always have been- I just couldn't see it. I enjoy the people around me more and myself. The weight I have lost was just a perk to what I have discovered about life and myself through this contest.

Stacey won an "Enjoying Weight Loss" program from the Hypnosis Network, a one-year subscription to Northwest Woman Magazine, an Island Worlds fitness software bundle, and a Style Upgrade!


KiloMarie

This has been a wonderful journey! I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it. This contest has not only changed my body but my mindset, and my life as well. I have always struggled with my weight. When I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Lupus a couple of years ago, I gave up that struggle and allowed myself to eat everything and anything I wanted to. My weight soared up to 265. Over the past year and a half, I have lost weight but continued to struggle. Exercise was not a priority and I was only trying to lose weight because of the shame I felt from being obese. This contest helped me to realize that I need to lose the weight to become healthy. My eating and exercise habits have strengthened. I have lost weight but have gained strength, self-confidence, and better health. I have stopped letting the illnesses and weight control my life. Now, I can run and play with my daughter in the park. I can feel attractive when I stand next to my husband. I can go to work( I am a Christian Chaplain/Speaker) and not be ashamed of myself. I no longer have to make jokes about myself to try and feel comfortable. Because of this contest and the change it has brought about in my life, I feel as though I have been given a second chance to living a full life. Annette, you and others in this contest have helped me to realize that my life is in my own hands and that I have the power to make each day a great one!

KiloMarie won a facial care package from Alfaces. She also won an Island Worlds fitness software bundle, an "Enjoying Weight Loss" program from the Hypnosis Network, and a one-year membership to MyFitnessTrainer.com!


Pam

I stood in the Walmart dressing room in December trying on my size 24 jeans and said "no more." I hadn't had a pair of jeans I could wear in over 6 months. The night before, I sat on my couch, eating ruffles potato chips with dip and a package of keebler fudge sticks and decided I needed to change my life. I could barely make it up and down the stairs to do laundry. My husband usually dropped me off at the door when we went places because I was constantly in pain. I'd steadily gotten heavier in my life due to emotional eating issues. 2006 was an unusually tough year and when I was home every night alone because my husband worked late, the loneliness and eating got out of control. The overeating was causing acid-reflux, I couldn't sleep, and my knees and heels were almost continually in pain. I decided in December to enjoy the holidays like I always had, and set January 2nd as the cold turkey, time to change.

Through this contest, I've found the strength and resolve to make that change. I workout 3-5 times per week at the gym on my way home from work. I walk for my lunch hour most days and find the scenery and activity very calming, but most importantly it keeps me from driving around to whatever fast food drive in I can find. The biggest change was the discovery that I truly enjoy healthy food. As a penance for eating out one day, I had salad for supper. The salad was fantastic with tomatoes, radishes, green onions, pine nuts, flax seed oil and apple vinegar dressing. On January 2nd I weighed 286. On January 10th when I entered the contest I weighed 278. (I think) Today I weigh 259 and I am comfortably back into my size 20 jeans. They will be gone soon though.

The pain in my knees and heals gets steadily less frequent and less intense. My acid reflux is almost non-existent and I regularly sleep through the night. I know that this is a lifetime change, and my goal was 180 for 2008. I'm well on my way, and the changes have also launched me into other career and lifestyle changes as well. I'm happier than I've been in years, and 2007 is officially "The Year of Pam."

Pam won an Alfaces facial care package, an Island Worlds fitness software bundle, a one-year subscription to Northwest Woman magazine, an "Enjoying Weight Loss" program from the Hypnosis Network, and a one-year membership to MyFitnessTrainer.com!


Josh

Three years of law school and half a year of a graduate program have not been kind. My weight has increased dramatically in those three and a half years. With a brain preprogrammed to find comfort in food during stressful times, reversing that trend has been anything but easy. This does not even account for trying to find the time to work out while balancing family and studies. Usually my biggest weight fluctuations come towards the end of semesters when the stress is the greatest. So far I have managed to hold my weight steady this semester. My eating habits have improved and I feel better because of it. While there has been no huge weight breakthrough in these few weeks (as I only started at the end of February,) course corrections have been made and I know that as I keep on the current path more success will follow.

Josh won a one-year membership to MyFitnessTrainer.com, an "Enjoying Weight Loss" hypnosis program, an Alfaces facial care package, and an Island Worlds fitness software bundle!


Patricia

I am a 56 year old woman who has never considered myself actually overweight. My problem is that I have always been very active in the summer months, but then pretty much sit around and hibernate, storing up blubber to keep me warm in the winter months. My weight has always yo-yoed up and down with the seasons. As I get older, it is getting easier to put those pounds on in the winter months, and harder to get rid of them in the spring. I have never been a healthy eater, usually choosing junk foods with high carbs over anything with vegetables. In late December, I noticed a small article about the Fit America Contest in the Minneapolis StarTribune, after several weeks of non-stop gorging on high calorie goodies. At that point, I was at 172 pounds from a low of 162 pounds in August, when I had just returned from a 3 week strenuous backpacking trip in the Sierras. I was popping out of my size 16 pants, and was about to get the box of 18s out of the basement. I decided to try the contest just to prevent myself from getting any bigger, and hopefully to be in better shape when spring came. By then, I was already way out of shape (you lose muscle and conditioning a lot faster when you age, too).

I set myself an arbitrary goal of 155 lbs. I did not choose any particular diet, but I started making conscious choices to only eat food that gave me the most nutrition for the least calories. The act of recording all my calories made me realize what I was eating. I now ask myself every day if I got all my servings of fruit and vegetables and enough fiber. After three months, this has become a habit that I hope will stay with me. I feel that this has been my biggest accomplishment. I have really made a commitment to keep my weight down year round, and I believe that I will be able to do it. Even though we still go out to eat at Old Country Buffet every week, I make much better choices there.

The exercising part was harder for me. As a result of an accident in my younger years, I am developing severe arthritis in many of the joints that were damaged, including my spine, and my hip and shoulder on my right side. I am still physically active in the warmer months, but I tend to let things slide in the colder months, and it is getting harder and harder to regain my conditioning. Once I start to stiffen up, I just don't want to move. When I tried doing the weight training exercises, I pulled things in my shoulder and hip, so I gave up right away. I do have access to gym facilities at my local community center, but I hate the noise and crowds in the fitness area. I am an outdoor person. Fortunately, Jess's marathon challenge led me to start walking on the indoor track, and I went hiking outdoors whenever possible. I also started doing stretching exercises every day, and that more than anything has kept me loosened up. I did not regain the muscle mass that I had hoped to, but I am much better off than I would ordinarily be at this time of year. I am ready to start serious conditioning now.

Patricia won an AquaJogger fitness package! She also won an Alfaces facial care package and an Island Worlds fitness software bundle!


Dee

I started losing weight in July of 2006. I began at 301 pounds. January 1st I was at 250. Today I am 131 pounds for a total of 70 pounds lost and well over 50 inches. I didn't start recording measurements till 9/30/06. I have gone up and down in weight for over 13 years with the pregnancies and birth of my 4 children. Now that my "baby" is 3 years old, I am looking forward to getting down to my ideal weight for the first time in my life! I have changed my whole lifestyle. I exercise 3 to 5 times a week, and the way I eat has completely changed. I now WANT to eat healthy, and I do. I am excited that I have already accomplished the 70-pound weight loss, and look forward to taking off the rest of it. The best part of losing the weight for me has been getting into new clothes. It is so exciting being able to fit into things that have been in my closet, but too small for me, for years. I have clothes as small as 12's. My ultimate goal is a size 6. I am wearing 18's and 20's now. The jeans I wear now were skin tight in January, today they are loose and slipping. I have some slacks that are 18's but no jeans. I'll have to hold on till the 16's fit. I can't wait!! Thank you for doing the contest. It fired me up when I had hit a plateau, and made me push through it. I seem to have hit another one, but I have the determination to press on! I actually just started a new food plan (hate the word diet!), and I'm looking forward to the next 20 pounds gone. I make my goals in small steps. Trying to lose over 100 pounds is just too hard, which is why I never tried. So I just kept gaining weight. When I lost 15 pounds in July just by not snacking on EVERYTHING late at night, I realized that I COULD lose the weight! That's when I started making small changes at first and the weight continued to come off. I'm proud of what I've done.

Dee won a one-year membership to MyFitnessTrainer.com, an Alfaces facial care package, and an Island Worlds fitness software bundle!


John

On New Years Day, even though I never make New Years resolutions, I decided that it was time to lose weight. But I never could get started. I stumbled on the MyFitnessTrainer contest website and decided that it was finally time to get going. Even though I resolved to lose weight January of 2006, I was finally spurred to action more than a year later. Although I am only about 60% complete with my weight loss, the results have been more than I expected. I hadn't been feeling bad, but I feel better. I had been getting out of breath when walking a distance, and now I can go on and on. Also, as a trombone player, I have noticed that I have much more breath than I've had in years. I know that the weight loss plus an increase in activity are lifestyle changes that are going to keep me healthy for a long time to come. And my wife doesn't mind the change, either.

John won a PCGamerBike! He also won a fitness software bundle from Island Worlds. He also won a one-year membership to MyFitnessTrainer.com.

Just hover over a picture to see the after. Pretty incredible, isn't it? These clients followed the program very well. Of course they had times that were less than perfect, but the ultimate result comes from the constant effort.
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