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Article updated: 5/10/2013 7:21 PM

Glen Ellyn woman loses 100 pounds in 7 months with nothing but healthy habits


Wendy Garland is more than 100 pounds healthier!

Wendy Garland did not win Health Track's six-week weight loss contest, but that didn't stop her.

In only seven months, Wendy shed more than 100 pounds, is in the best physical shape of her life, and is living healthier and happier than ever before.

"Sometimes it's not about winning and all about starting," Garland said proudly. "And believe me, I am a competitor."

It was Garland's competitive nature that attracted her to the Fall 2012 Mission Slim Possible Weight Loss Challenge at Health Track. Participants of this popular, team-based weight loss contest compete for the largest combined percentage of weight loss. For six weeks, participants attend weekly nutrition workshops where they learn to eat healthy foods within a caloric budget based on their active metabolic rate. Twice weekly, participants work out in small groups led by personal trainers. Weekly weigh-ins are mandatory.

"My best friend talked me into joining the contest," added Garland. "I decided to learn to eat healthy and to work out harder because my team was counting on me. And once I adopted the motto 'everything in moderation' everything kind of just fell into place."

Wendy was one of the top female finishers in the fall weight loss contest. She lost 28 pounds or over 11% of body weight in six weeks.

In January, 2013, Wendy joined Health Track's Mission Slim Possible program again and lost another 18 pounds. "I love the group support and accountability from Health Track's contests. It's a lot of fun and I've learned a lot," Garland noted.

Garland said her weight loss journey began when she stopped dieting and started living a healthier lifestyle. Health Track's weekly nutrition workshops taught Garland how to eat a balanced diet within a calorie budget based on her active metabolic rate. Electronic food and exercise tracking tools were introduced, and participants were incented to track weekly. Garland notes that workshops helped keep her motivated and made her aware of of what she was eating and how she could make healthier choices. "Every week we learned about another aspect of healthy living," Wendy said. Weekly workshop topics included portion control, how to make healthy choices while eating out, and the importance of cardio vascular exercise and strength training for weight loss.

Twice weekly group workouts, led by personal trainers, are also included in Health Track's weight loss challenge. "The personal trainers get you moving in the right direction" Garland said. "And the trainings are fun because misery likes company. We support and encourage each other."

Garland and the others within her training group enjoyed it so much, they hired the trainer to continue to work with their group twice a week. Garland added, "I finally understand that working out has to be part of my everyday life. It's a priority now."

Garland diligently completes at least 60 minutes of cardio five times a week and works with a trainer twice weekly. She is thrilled with what she calls her "firsts."

"My weight loss has given me so many firsts! I couldn't do a pushup when I weighed over 200 pounds. Now I can do 35 in a row! I couldn't run before. I ran a mile and then two weeks later completed my first 5K race. I couldn't do a cartwheel. Mark, my trainer, continues to push me harder than I'd ever push myself...he knows what I can do better than I do!"

According to her personal trainer Mark Bassett, her continued success was her biggest motivator. "Once Wendy made up her mind to change, she quickly began losing weight and reaping the rewards."

One of the biggest benefits Wendy is relishing is the newly found belief in herself, Bassett added.

"I never dreamed I could lose this weight before, and I am sure this is why I wasn't successful in the past," Garland said. "I tried many, many diets, and they never worked because they were drastic changes to my lifestyle that were unrealistic. I would set out to lose a large amount of weight in a short period of time and get down on myself for not sticking with it."

When asked about her personal weight loss wisdom, Garland said losing weight is all about committing to live a healthy lifestyle. "This is not a diet. It is choosing to live a healthy life. I never promised myself I would lose 100 pounds by a certain date. This would've been too overwhelming. Instead, I focused on one healthy choice at a time. "

Garland also said she quit making excuses for why she was not working out and not eating healthy foods. "I had an excuse for everything," Garland laughed. "Once I quit making excuses, I found out I had the time and energy to make my health a priority. It was all up to me."

The best part of losing 100 pounds, Garland concluded, is feeling healthier and happier. "It's the little things that are the best," she said. "My 9-year-old son can put his arms all the way around me when he gives me a hug. He tells me he is proud of me."

Garlands 6-year-old daughter also is delighted with her mom's transformation. "My daughter sits on my lap, not my stomach anymore when I read her a story. I'm sure it's much more comfortable for both of us," Garland said beaming.

The Garland Family is off the Disney World this week. According to Garland, another "first" and proud moment will be enjoying a comfortable airline seat all the way from Chicago to Orlando.

"It's the little things I enjoy most about my weight loss journey. My 9-year-old son

can put his arms all the way around me now when he gives me a hug. He tells me he is proud of me." - Wendy Garland

" I couldn't do a pushup when I weighed over 300 pounds. Now I can do 35 in a row.

I couldn't run. I just ran my first 5K race. I definitely couldn't do a cartwheel. Now I can't stop doing them …" -- Wendy Garland

"One of the biggest benefits Wendy is relishing is the newly found belief in herself," -Personal Trainer Mark Bassett

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