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updated: 3/25/2013 3:24 PM

'Fittest Losers' find baggy pants worth the effort

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  • Megan McCarthy-Cook and her daughter, 8-year-old Molly, play catch at the Hoffman Estates Park District gym.

       Megan McCarthy-Cook and her daughter, 8-year-old Molly, play catch at the Hoffman Estates Park District gym.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Mike Paulo is focused on a goal. He wants to get back to what he weighed when he married his wife, Donna, 31 years ago.

       Mike Paulo is focused on a goal. He wants to get back to what he weighed when he married his wife, Donna, 31 years ago.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
By Gerry Alger
galger@dailyherald.com

From the beginning of the Fittest Loser Challenge, change has been priority one for the contestants and bringing about that change has been the prime focus for their trainers. Seven weeks into the competition, the changes are adding up and lots of people are noticing.

"My pants are definitely getting bigger," says Megan McCarthy-Cook. "And my trainer tells me I'm looking leaner.

"I work in a pediatrician's office," she says. "The other day the doctor said he could really tell that I had lost weight."

McCarthy-Cook is done with excuses and done with saying she's trying because these days she's busy doing. The reward?

"My 8-year-old daughter, Molly, says that now she can hug me all the way around and grab hold of her hands. I didn't even know she couldn't do that before"

Mike Paulo's family and friends are noticing changes, too.

"They say my face is looking thinner, my stomach is shrinking and my clothes are getting baggy," he says.

Greg Moehrlin is hitting the resale shop for his "transition" wardrobe.

"My pants were falling off me, my shirts were way too big and I dropped six notches on my belt," says Moehrlin.

"I'm buying my 'new' clothes at a resale shop because I don't know what size I'll end up at," he says. "I donated all my old larger-sized clothes. I have no plans to go back to wearing them!"

Karen Castillo is losing inches from her arms, waist, hips and thighs. "I've gone down a size in pants and shirts."

Beyond the changes noticeable on the outside, some internal shifts are happening as well.

"I'm more confident and more positive," Castillo says. "I notice my posture is better, I'm more outgoing, I smile more and I chat with men more than I did 10 pounds ago!"

Marianne Costales-Roman is digging deep and finding strength.

"I realize that I'm not weak," she says. "Despite all the temptations and stress in my life, I'm stronger and more focused than I've ever been."

Joe Gundling is tapping into some inner strength as well.

"I'm more confident in the gym," he says. "I can run much farther than I used to, and I enjoy working out again."

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