Four weeks after the initial weigh-in, the Fittest Loser Community Challenge teams report that the healthy changes they have been introducing to their lifestyle are finally becoming healthy habits. However, team members described feeling frustrated this week as they stepped on the scale and did not see the results they were expecting. Overall, weight loss among the community teams slowed in week four.
For many participants, these past weeks have been both physically and emotionally challenging. Getting used to smaller food portions and a new exercise routine has made the weeks since weigh-in feel like many more than four. Several participants explained that despite having more energy or being able to increase the amount of repetitions in their strength-training routines, their body weights have not changed as much as they hoped. As Stephanie DiMaso of the Wood Dale Warriors puts it, "It's rough for some who aren't losing. It's easy to let that bring us down."
However, plateaus are common during weight-loss efforts. To get an accurate picture of the teams' progress, it is necessary to look beyond the scale. As some participants find themselves finally able to hold their body up in a plank position, they are putting on muscle weight while their body fat decreases.
Team captain Gina Philips, a fitness instructor and personal trainer at the Schaumburg Park District, said getting healthy is more than dropping pounds.
"One of my terrific participants on the Schaumburg Shedders was so sad that she gained 2 pounds, until I took the measuring tape out. She has lost an inch everywhere and is looking hot," Philips said.
Feeling stalled this week, several team participants turned to the support of their teams and team captains to devise a plan to regain momentum for the remaining eight weeks of the challenge. The solution? Laser tag and some running.
Park View Fittest of Mundelein finished out the week with a 5-K. Members of Schaumburg's Mission Slimpossible and Losing It of Des Plaines are training for an upcoming 5-K. Salt Creek teams will focus on cardio while dodging laser beams during a laser tag tournament this weekend.