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posted: 4/14/2014 5:30 AM

Community groups see highs and lows

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  • Mount Prospect Park District's MPPDeterminators' team members, from left, Marni, Stephanie and Christina, say their endurance has improved to the point where they're able to run further and exercise longer than ever before.

      Mount Prospect Park District's MPPDeterminators' team members, from left, Marni, Stephanie and Christina, say their endurance has improved to the point where they're able to run further and exercise longer than ever before.

By Lisa Jones Townsel

There are 23 corporate and 13 park district teams competing in the Fittest Loser Community Challenge, and they are working feverishly to meet their goals.

With just four weeks to go, these energetic groups continue to experience some incredible highs and a few disappointing lows. Nevertheless, they press on.

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The Wood Dale Park District's Heavy Weights aren't so heavy these days. They are exercising more and losing inches, meaning that their clothes are getting too big and their moods much lighter.

They shop for groceries differently now that they are eating healthier and have enlisted family members to help in the task.

And when members hit a nasty plateau, they change up their workouts. They are determined to let nothing hold them back, not even the emotional roller coaster that sometimes accompanies a plateau.

"One minute we're discouraged about the scale not moving and the next we're proud of the hard workout we just completed," says one member. "We keep moving forward and working hard. This is what this challenge is all about -- change.

Mount Prospect Park District's MPPDeterminators had a strong week. Some members noticed looser-fitting clothes, higher energy levels and a more positive vibe all around.

Among the week's highlights? Members making better food choices, becoming more focused on goals, and basking in obvious changes in their body shape and size. Some say their endurance is through the roof, making it possible for them to run further and exercise longer than ever before.

New friendships are budding, and mutual support is the glue that keeps this team afloat. Their hope for success extends well past the end of the challenge. As one member put it: "The real reward is not the prize at the end of the competition, it is the positive changes that can be shared with friends, family, and the community."

Clearbrook's Fit Happens team stalled in weight loss this week. And while this was frustrating and disheartening, members supported one another by sending uplifting emails. Many are looking forward to taking yoga and nutrition classes next week. And member Anna Scala-Wesoloski took note of a few life lessons that have come out of this process. "I have noticed some good changes since beginning the Fittest Loser," she says. "One is that I push myself harder. I hold myself accountable more often, and I reward myself now with clothes instead of food. But one of the biggest changes is my body shape. My arms are leaner, and my hourglass figure is starting to show. I guess my body just needed a moment to rebuild muscle."

The Fat Burning Fitz Chem Fighters packed a lot of punch into the week. They attended the Biggest Loser Resort's Cardio Class and Whole Food Market's Meat University. They logged thousands of steps daily and worked out on their own, sometimes alone but more often now with family and friends.

They are choosing to eat more vegetables and fruit, and gulping down water. One even decided to become a vegetarian. Energy levels are high for most, not to mention that dress and pant sizes are shrinking, too.

But not everyone is feeling the fever. Motivation is waning for a few, but no one is giving up. Member Lisa Fiveash says she wants to win, but more importantly, "I would like to achieve my personal goal and continue going forward after the challenge."

Community teams are judged on the total amount of weight lost, as well as their participation in events and team spirit, based on online voting and Facebook participation.

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