Wednesday, May 28, 2008


So we’re at the halfway point for Biggest Loser “4.” It always amazes me how fast these things go. I shouldn’t be surprised, though. My cutie-pie is 7 ½, I just turned 46—life seems to be moving faster than ever.

Remember when we were younger and things seemed to take forever? Sometimes weight loss is like that, but you have to realize that things didn’t get this way overnight.

What if it takes six months or even a year? Time is going to pass anyway—you might as well spend it doing something that helps you get what you want.

I was wearing my singing and speaking hat this morning at a church up in Chrisman. One of the things I believe is how we’re here for a purpose. It’s not supposed to be all about us.

But if we’re not healthy, it can become all about us. Diabetes and heart disease will make sure of that. But how can you spend your time helping others when you don’t feel good enough to help yourself?

There’s another area we need to take responsibility for, though it may not seem related: our “financial health.” Just like learning how to eat right and exercise smart, fixing your finances takes great discipline. And just like overeating and not exercising, the consequences of not addressing our spending and saving habits can have grave consequences.

We’re a fast food society, and that mindset permeates our entire culture. We want things now, and we want them fast. We’re encouraged to buy now and pay later, but boy do we pay later! One little credit card charge here, a car payment we can’t afford there, and “all of a sudden” when things get bad, we’re in too deep to get out.

Just making the minimum payments can be tough and it can take years to pay down something that has long since lost its value. Soon, we’re trapped in a cycle that holds us prisoner—just like when we’re overweight, out of shape and our health is declining.

If we can learn to live on less than we earn, though, and save a little for a rainy day, we can be prepared for when times get tough. Just like eating right and exercising smart, it takes a total transformation of how we think, and how we live.

We have to learn to say “no” to things we don’t really need. We’ve got to learn to make tough choices, and think long term, instead of in the “right now.” Like Dave Ramsey says on his radio show and in his book “The Total Money Makeover”… “You’ve got to live like no one else, so someday you can live like no one else.”

For full details, I totally recommend his book, but here’s how it works. First, you’ve got to create an emergency fund of $1,000 that you keep on hand for—emergencies. That’s what Dave calls Baby Step #1.

The second thing Dave teaches is the Debt Snowball (Baby Step #2). Here’s how it works:

Arrange all your debts from smallest to largest.
Make minimum payments on everything except the smallest one. That one you’re going to attack with all your energy and extra resources.
If you don’t have any extra in the budget to attack the debt, sell something. Sell lots of things. Get an extra job if necessary.
When you pay it off, you move on to the next one and so on.

Cut up all your credit cards—Dave calls it a “plasectomy.” Learn to live on a debit card—if you don’t have it, you can’t spend it.

Make a commitment to incur no new debt. Nothing. This is going to catch a lot of people, but it’s the key to everything. A diet only works if you stick to it. An exercise program only works if you show up. No new debt. Period.

If you can’t afford things, sell them. Quit making payments. Monthly payments are “death by a thousand cuts” and they’ll suck the life out of you.

I have to tell you, that this can be incredibly liberating if you’ll do it. It may seem impossible—just like losing 80 or 100 lbs. But it is possible. I’ve seen people do both, and I’m working to lose the financial weight, myself.

It’s tough, if not impossible, helping someone when you’re worried about paying your own light bill. Once you start getting rid of some of those payments, you’ll have the ability to do more for the people you care about. You’ll be able to respond when you see a need, and that’s very cool.

Dave’s Baby Step #3 is a little tougher. After you’ve eliminated all debt (except the house), fully fund your emergency fund with 3-6 months expenses. Then, if something really comes along to rock your world, you’ll have the capacity to deal with it.

Did you know that people in good health have a much greater chance to survive serious, traumatic injuries? Their bodies apparently have a reserve and strength that get them through it.

It’s the same thing with our financial health. Just like our bodies, we’ve got to get our house in order. Then, when the storm comes, we might be shaken, but we’ll survive.

Back to Biggest Loser “4.” This week’s winner was Shawn Bowers who lost 3.2% of his body weight and an incredible 9.6 lbs! Shawn had been losing a lot of weight early in the contest, but had just gone on vacation, and put some of those pounds back on.

We’ll be watching closely to see how he does next week. My prediction is that he’ll continue his losing ways, and probably come in around 4-5 lbs lighter. Shawn won a $20 Walmart gift card from Dimond Brothers Insurance. He earned it!

For those of you who already are in good health—whether it’s physically, or financially, I want to encourage you to use your gift. Get out and do something. Help someone, cause remember, it’s not all about us.

Those of you that aren’t quite there (me too), that’s O.K. It might need to be about you for a little while so you can get some things fixed. But let’s do it. Let’s get moving!

Sunday, May 25, 2008


This week the group really had a treat. Remember Camilla from the last set of articles for the last group? Camilla’s a registered dietician at Terre Haute Regional, and she came back in to talk to our latest group of people in Biggest Loser “4.”

Because her presentation is so good, instead of paraphrasing, I’m going to reproduce her Top Ten Tips word for word:

“Ten Tips for Healthy and Conscious Eating”
Camilla Whitkanack, MS RD
Terre Haute Regional Hospital

Be aware of your calorie requirements. Many software programs and websites will give you a close estimate. Try and click on My Pyramid Plan.

To lose weight, many sources recommend taking in 300-500 calories less than your estimated needs. Most active women should not eat less than 1500 kcalories, most active men no less than 1800. If you find yourself hungry, unsatisfied, or constantly thinking about food, than you are most likely depriving yourself too much!

Keeping a food log for a few days can be helpful. Be thorough and write down everything. Self-evaluate by estimating calories ( Or simply compare your food choices to a suggested eating pattern based on food groups and serving sizes ( Limit food logs to a few days or one day every once in a while. Focusing on every bite over a long period of time is not healthy.

Plan meals around fruits and vegetables. Fresh, frozen, or canned (light syrup or juice-packed fruit) are all good choices.

Include good sources of protein with your meals and snacks: chicken, fish, beans, nuts or peanut butter, eggs, lowfat yogurt or milk, soy products, and lean meats. Protein is very important but small portions (2-3 ounces, 8-12 ounces lowfat milk or yogurt) is plenty. Think of protein as an important side dish, not as the main entrée.

Never “save” your appetite for a huge meal or to allow yourself more calories in the evening. The effect on appetite, satiety cues (feeling full or satisfied), and metabolism are counter-productive when trying to lose weight or prevent weight gain!

Eat with 2 hours of getting up in the morning. Even if you are not hungry, a light healthy snack that includes some protein will do. People who skip breakfast tend to consume more calories throughout the rest of the day and are more likely to have weight issues.

Don’t give up your favorite foods, no matter how indulgent they may be. Just don’t keep them too handy! If you must have it, make a special trip to the store or order it as a special treat when eating out.

Choose calories you can chew – limit juices, sports drinks, regular soda, alcohol, and specialty coffees. And remember the best diet drink of all – water!

Don’t snack or eat meals in front of the tube, while reading, or using the computer. Make eating its own activity, enjoy it, and then move on to another activity.

(Adapted from website, which contains education tools for dietetic professionals.)
Thanks, Camilla!

This week’s winner was Bill Lewis (finally) who lost 2.5% of his body weight and 5.0 lbs. Bill has been the runner up for quite a few weeks. You might recall that Bill lost 52.5 lbs in the last group, and has lost another 26.0 lbs in the last 5 weeks. That’s 78.5 lbs total in 19 weeks! Bill received a $25 Casey’s gift card from Dimond Brothers Insurance, our weekly sponsor.

Second place went to Alta Cary, who lost 2.0% of her body weight and 4.8 lbs, with third place going to Jasmine Camp, who lost 1.7% of her body weight, and 3.6 lbs. Nice job, girls!

Those who missed the Friday night workout missed a good one. Most everyone agreed it was the toughest so far. Quite a few commented how they would never have been able to do it just five short weeks ago.

About 25 people showed up for it, and they learned a new free weight routine and how to turn it into high intensity interval training. Remember, last week they moved from the machines to free weights, using dumbbells (which recruit all the accessory muscles) and exercise balls (which work your core more).

Basically, I showed them how to alternate the dumbbell exercises with core exercises such as ab crunches on the ball, or planks and the like, to build intensity into the workout. This way, they never quit moving.

I call this active rest. While one muscle group is resting, another’s working. We even threw running into the mix, between sets.

Try it. It really boosts the intensity, and that means you’ll be burning more calories. That means you’ll lose more weight. I’ll tell you more about this next week. Right now, I’ve got to go for a run!

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Last week we talked about being intentional about things. You know, doing things on purpose for a purpose. If you take enough steps in the right direction, well, then you get there.

If you want to accomplish anything in your life, you need to have desire. You need a dream. You’ve got to take action and get things started. And then you need to do things intentionally each day that will help you get to your goal.

But once you get past the problem of getting started, something else often gets in the way. You’ve heard the old saying—“we have met the enemy and he is us.” Life intrudes and old habits die hard.

Here’s where you need to have staying power, because things will try to throw you off track. You need consistency. You need to be like Chris and Cheryl from Biggest Loser “3.” You remember Chris. He was the biggest loser ever to not be the Biggest Loser!

He lost 56.5 lbs during the 12 weeks. Cheryl did pretty well too, losing over 36 lbs. Sometimes, people do the next one so they can keep things going. In their case, they knew they’d learned enough to keep it going. They’ve also learned how to be consistent.

Friday night, I was talking to the group about having what it takes, and in the other room there were just two people working out doing cardio. Guess who? The Redmons. I swear you can’t plan this stuff.

Chris told me he just hit the 75 lb mark this week and was shooting for 100 lbs. Cheryl’s at just under 50 lbs. It was Friday night, their contest has been over for a month and a half, and they’re the only two in the whole gym (except for the Biggest Losers).

Then after our meeting, I took the whole group back to the free weight room to get them going on Level II, and guess who was coming out. The Redmons. You could tell they’d really been hitting it. What a great example.

Folks, that’s consistency. I can set my clock by those two, and some others I see everyday. They’ve learned how to not let anything get in the way of them getting what they want. They know what they need to do, and they do it.

I believe that God inspires and makes things possible, but God won’t do it for us (except for those things too big for us to do). In the end, it’s up to us.

Right now, we’ve got over 50 people still going on Biggest Loser “4” (we started with 67). It’s been a month, and we’ve lost 17. Several signed up but never even showed up to the first weigh-in. Then, each week, we’ve lost a few for various reasons.

This week, our winner was Josh Rigdon, who lost 2.8% of his body weight and 7.0 lbs. Josh has been hitting it pretty hard, and received a $20 Kroger Gift Certificate from Dimond Brothers Insurance.

Here’s a list of the top 25 losers (that made the last weigh-in) for the first four weeks. They’re ranked in order of percentage of weight loss and are for just about half the group. Most of the others have lost between 2 and 4 pounds.

Next week, we’ll look at how the remaining contestants are turning it up. Right now, it’s time for my work out.

1. Josh Rigdon 9.8% 26.2 lbs
2. Bill Lewis 9.4% 21.0 lbs
3. Tracy Rush 8.3% 19.8 lbs
4. Rodney Rodrick 8.1% 19.8 lbs
5. Darren German 6.5% 19.4 lbs
6. Mike Elledge 6.3% 19.1 lbs
7. Kelly Reed 6.3% 12.4 lbs
8. John Kaufman 5.8% 12.2 lbs
9. Judy Rush 5.5% 10.4 lbs
10. Jeannie Kaufman 5.2% 8.4 lbs
11. Stacey Reed 4.3% 8.4 lbs
12. Shirley Duniphan 4.1% 9.0 lbs
13. Shawn Bowers 4.1% 12.6 lbs
14. Ed Motley 4.0% 9.6 lbs
15. Julie Reed 3.8% 6.6 lbs
16. Kelli Stidham 3.6% 9.6 lbs
17. Janet Tyler 3.5% 6.2 lbs
18. Kelli Gates 3.5% 7.8 lbs
19. Barb Board 3.3% 6.4 lbs
20. Lisa Eskew 3.3% 6.0 lbs
21. Nancy Motley 3.2% 4.6 lbs
22. Steve Jones 2.8% 7.2 lbs
23. Julie Wieland 2.8% 5.8 lbs
24. Lynn Anderson 2.7% 5.2 lbs
25. Gary Lane 2.3% 6.4 lbs


This week I want to talk about being intentional. This is where you do certain things on purpose, with an overall goal in mind. You’re trying to achieve or accomplish something.

We send kids to school with the intention that they learn something. We go to the doctor with the intention of getting better. Most people come up and exercise with the intention of shape, or stay in shape.

Intention can also be a bad thing. As a police officer (in my spare time) I’ve learned that intent can be the thing that makes a crime more serious.

For example, if you’re in a store, and the impulse overcomes you to take something, it’s shoplifting. But if you plan the act outside, and then go in the store with the intent of taking something, that crime is now called burglary—with much stiffer penalties.

Here’s another example. If you lose your cool and pop someone during a heated argument (and they’re not hurt too bad) you committed simple battery. But if you hide in their home with the intent of committing a battery, now that’s home invasion—a Class X felony!

Lack of intent can also get you in trouble. Let’s go back to our school example. We can send our kids to school, but if they just sit there, and never really work at it, well, you know what’s going to happen. If that same kid applies him or herself, studying hard, doing all the assignments, extra readings and the like, that child is going places.

Here’s another example from my other job. If I’m in a position to help somebody keep from being harmed, and had the ability to do so but didn’t—I’d be in trouble. Did you know that?

Intention is a powerful thing. If we can learn to do things (good things) with intent, we can accomplish a lot. During our Friday meeting, I asked the top two Biggest Losers to tell us how they did so well.

Bill Lewis came in 2nd place again. He’d lost 52.5 lbs in the last Biggest Loser, and in the 1st three weeks he’s lost 16.0 lbs! This week he lost 2.1% of his body weight, and 4.4 lbs. He said that he just works out twice a day and watches what he eats.

Sounds pretty simple, right? But think about it. Every day (twice) he has to intentionally get his butt down to the YMCA, get on that treadmill and start moving. He says he walks about an hour each time. He’s had some injuries, so he hasn’t been able to run as much. He’s also 67.

Each day, each meal (and even between meals), he has to intentionally avoid things that might trip him up. If he wants to eat something that might not help him, he has to intentionally say no and make a better choice. He also has to seek out good choices in the right amounts. This is intentional too.

There are plenty of people that know they need to do something, but don’t pursue it with the intention of making it happen—each day, each time. They won’t get what they want. Bill does, because he’s very intentional about it.

Our 1st place winner this week was Josh Rigdon, who lost 2.2% of his body weight, and 5.8 lbs. He received a $15 Subway gift card from Dimond Brothers Insurance for his hard work.

Josh told us he’s been working out twice a day (every day), and has been intentionally pushing himself harder. Sometimes he’ll run, and then go back and lift weights, and then come back and run.

He’s also being pretty careful with what he eats. He and a friend had to go out for pizza twice in the same week! They told me they drank lots of water, had a big salad and got the thinnest crust they could get. They also had to act with intention when a friend put a basket of bread sticks down right between them!

Folks, this is doable. Make a decision. Then every day, with intention, do things designed to help you achieve your goal.

Intentionally get your butt to the gym, or outside for a walk. Intentionally push yourself by going farther or faster. Intentionally avoid things you know are going to mess up your diet. You Intentionally choose things you know are good for you.

Once in awhile, intentionally have a “cheat day” and enjoy something that you intentionally avoid most of the time. Start walking through life with intention about the things you know you really need to do.

Remember, making no choice today is still making a choice. It’s really a choice to do nothing (at least today). It may or may not be intentional, but either way it has consequences. Choose to do something for yourself today. O.K?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Something’s up. It seems like everyone’s expectations are higher than they used to be. Don’t get me wrong—I’m still proud of how everyone did in Biggest Loser “1” and “2”, but there was a difference between the first two groups and the third one. Group 3 raised the bar pretty high.

It was a tough act to follow, but after two weeks, I think this group can do it again. The top ten people have lost 14.4, 13.8, 13.2, 13.0,12.6, 11.8, 11.6, 11.0, 10.2, and 9.4 lbs respectively. That’s an average weight loss of more than 6 pounds a week!

To put that in perspective, the top three losers from last time, Chris, Bill and Joe (56.5 lbs, 52.5 lbs, 49.5 lbs) averaged “just” 4.4 lbs a week over the 12 weeks. Our top ten so far are averaging almost 2 pounds a week more. Of course, it’s just week two, and a lot of things can happen in the next ten weeks.

But it begs the question, “Why are these guys and gals losing so much more weight than those who have gone before?” I’d like to say it’s me, the program, the advice, etc…, but I don’t think so. I think what’s happening is that people are seeing other people do it, and they get inspired.

They see other people, just like them, having success and it turns something on inside them. They start to get a belief that “if they can do it, maybe I can do it.” It gives you hope, and hope is a powerful thing. It’s also powerful when you start believing in yourself—when you’re willing to take a chance.

I’m seeing people that have tried for years to make a change, actually doing it this time, and that’s a great thing. I remember when it was like pulling teeth trying to get some of them to the gym. Now I’m seeing them on weekends, working out at odd hours, doing whatever it takes to get it done.

Something else that seems to be working is the group dynamic. There’s great power in numbers. It takes on a momentum of its own. That’s why if you want to be successful it always helps to get around successful people. Something rubs off.

I was so impressed with this group on Friday. First of all, over 60 of them showed up, and this after last week’s workout. I deliberately make it tough—they were sore afterward. It’s a proving ground. They need to learn that they can take it, and apparently they did.

They didn’t even blink when I asked them to run (or walk/run) down to the park at the corner of Main & Jasper. We all went right down Main St. and we all did 3 sets of 20 squats, 20 pushups, and 20 sit-ups. We did planks, burpees, and even sumo wrestling right there in front of God and everyone.

If they cared if anyone saw them, they didn’t let on, and that’s what it takes. You can’t worry about what other people think. You have to focus on the goal and do it. At some point, I’m sure they all realized that they still have to make it back the eight or nine blocks too. This group can take it and come back for more.

These first two weeks, it’s been about getting them moving, and learning what their minimum was—the minimum number of calories they need to eat. Next week, their goal is to turn up the intensity on the machines, to push the cardio a little harder, and to start recording what they eat so they can see where they stand. Then, we’re going to talk about how to start eating better, too.

Our Biggest Loser for Week Two was Ed Motley, who lost 3.0% of his body weight and an amazing 7.0 lbs. He received a $25 gift card from Dimond Brothers Insurance for all his hard work.

Ed was followed by (surprise) Stidham again who lost 2.6% of his body weight and 4.8 lbs. Joe also hit another amazing milestone. You recall he won the last contest by losing 49.5 lbs. He also reached his long-term goal of losing 100 pounds, that very morning! That’s like the folks on TV!

3rd Place was claimed by Tracy Rush, who lost 2.4% of his body weight and 5.6 lbs. Tracy is our pounds leader, having lost an incredible 14.4 lbs in the two weeks!

Look. These guys and gals are normal people who we all know. They’re doing it. You can too. Don’t let this chance slip away. Take their energy and momentum and claim it for your own, too. Get around them. See what they’re doing. Start doing it yourself.

Things are shaping up to be quite a contest around here. They can shape up for you too!