A NEW YEAR, A NEW YOU… OR WILL IT BE?

What have you done with your time this past year? Have you accomplished all that you wanted? Did you do everything that you’d planned to do? How about your body? Did you get into shape, or out of shape?

Some remarkable things have happened here over the last year. Several people ran full marathons (26.2 miles) for the first time. Several more ran their first half marathon (13.1 miles). We took a group to Allerton Park for a 5.5 mile trail run through the woods.

A whole bunch of people went to several different 5 K runs (3.1 miles), and quite a few participated in the C.A.M.A. Park to Park bike rally and the Mill Creek Duathlon (2 mile run, 20 mile bike ride, 2 mile run). I also know of at least two others that did triathlons.

Lots of people started working out this last year, getting their cardio in and hitting the weights, whether it was with the machines, or with free-weights. Unfortunately, not everyone kept up with their workouts—but more on that later.

We put four more Biggest Loser programs in the books. A year ago this January, Biggest Loser “6” started with 58 people. The winner was Bill Lewis, who lost 62.0 lbs at the age of 68. Second place went to Randy Weir, 54, who lost 35 lbs. Gary Goodman, 62, lost 31.5 lbs for third place. Brian Bradley, 42, took fourth by losing 30.9 lbs at the age of 42, and John Sanchez, 41, came in fifth losing 31.4 lbs.

39 people started Biggest Loser “7” in the spring. The winner was Vince Porter, age 39, who lost 51.4 lbs. Second place went to Brittany Cline, age 24, who lost 27.2 lbs. Third place went to John Crow, 41, who lost 36.4 lbs.

Last summer, 24 people started Biggest Loser “8.” Tammi Hewitt, 42, won with 28.2 lbs. Shawn Bowers, 36, won 2nd place, losing 37.9 lbs. Vicki Riggen, 59, won 3rd place, losing 11.0 lbs.

After starting with 28 people, Biggest Loser “9” ended last week with a clean sweep by the women: Michelle Nugent, 30, won with 33.0 lbs. 2nd place went to Karen Brown, 50, who lost 42.8 lbs, becoming the highest losing lady here ever, in just 12 weeks. Nita Comstock, 53, lost 17.6 lbs, ending in 3rd place.

As you can see, they came in all shapes and sizes, and all ages too, and it wasn’t just the guys winning—the women won too. What you don’t often hear about is that really, everyone that finished, won.

My goal with Biggest Losers isn’t just helping people lose weight, although that’s what they do. My real goal is to turn couch potatoes into people that make fitness a lifestyle. They’ve learned how to work out and manage their eating and as a result, they look and feel better.

Not everyone makes it, because life intrudes. But when it does, something else suffers. Usually it’s their health, primarily because they start gaining their weight back. But it’s much easier to maintain your weight than it is to lose it in the first place.

Still, not everyone gets there. In every case, we finished with about half the people we started with. This held true, not just in the Biggest Losers, but also in the gym. It’s a real shame when someone quits because it’s really unlikely that they’ll get what they want.

What makes me sad, is when someone has finally decided they really need to do it, gotten up the courage to start, but then just can’t keep it going. They let little things like soreness, small injuries, and tight schedules keep them from going all the way.

It takes about a year to completely turn things around, but sometimes you just have to be patient. You need to be disciplined and keep working toward your goal. Plus, if you do something long enough, it will become a habit. That’s how you get what you want.

So what are you going to do this year? If you’re already in shape, how are you going to stay there? Quite a few of us are already thinking about the Illini marathon or half marathon on May 1st, or the Indy Mini, the week after.

Setting a goal like that is guaranteed to keep you training—and that keeps you thin. Now I know those goals might not be for everyone, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that you set your own goals.

I have a friend who lost 100 lbs and then got lazy and gained 85 of them back. He’s been in the gym for the last two weeks and lost 10 lbs each week. He’s not doing Biggest Loser, because he already knows what to do. But he’s committed to losing the weight again, and this time, he’s determined to keep the weight off.

Another gal I’ve been helping has also just gotten started. She lost over 6.0 lbs the first week, and around 3.0 lbs the second. She’s pretty excited about what the next year has in store for her. She’s also committed to joining our next Biggest Loser group because she wants the extra help and accountability.

To make it even easier for people, we’re going to do two community wide Biggest Losers—one on Friday nights, and another on Saturday mornings. They’ll run concurrently and people will need to pick the one they weigh-in for. In a pinch, they can use the other one as an alternative, in case they have to miss.

We might even have some healthy competition between the two groups, which just might help them lose even more weight. Registration is underway, and the cost is $50 for the 12 week program. We start Friday, January 8th, or Saturday, January 9th. You don’t need to be a member to participate, but you should have a membership somewhere, or at least have enough stuff at home that you can get your workouts in.

So, whether you join Biggest Loser “10” or “11,” the gym, YMCA, Curves, or some other program, or you’re just planning to try it at home, I want to encourage you to get started doing something. Next week we’ll talk about setting goals and getting what you want. For now, I want to leave you with a couple questions.

What are you going to do this next year? Remember, the year is going to fly by, no matter what you do, so you might as well do something with it. This can be the year you get your body back! Will 2010 bring a new you?

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