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posted: 4/21/2014 5:30 AM

Battle against bulge continues for community groups

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  • Clearbrook's Fit Happens team took advantage of the yoga instructor provided by Assurance.

    Clearbrook's Fit Happens team took advantage of the yoga instructor provided by Assurance.

  • Nicoat Fit is ready for boot camp. Bring it on!

    Nicoat Fit is ready for boot camp. Bring it on!

By Lisa Jones Townsel

Getting fit might have been a new initiative for many at the beginning of the Fittest Loser Community Challenge, but it appears to be old hat for them now.

In fact, many groups report that making healthy lifestyle changes has become second nature. What's more, they're having a great time in the process. And, one thing is for sure: With just a few short weeks to go, they are rallying together and preparing their troops for a battle against the bulge to the very end.

Members of the Wright Moraine Valley Community College team are pumped.

They regularly work out at gyms and at their homes, and they love every minute of it. In fact, most say that regular workouts have become a welcome habit.

Their shrinking bodies no longer fit into their clothes and such progress is inspiring co-workers, family and friends. Some have set goals to lose 10 to 12 percent of their original body weight and are steadily reaching the mark, and others notice that they now crave a healthier variety of foods. At this point, many are looking beyond the competition to figure out how their healthy lifestyle choices can have staying power.

The Nicoat Fit team sweated it out courageously in boot camp recently and vowed to do it again soon. Now, that they have had some successes, some are eyeing possible rewards including the Victoria's Secret swim suit one member intends to buy.

Others are happy to finally have what they call a healthy "new life balance." Some are ecstatic that they have taken control over what they eat, and are still enthusiastic about taking on new fitness adventures, like Bikram yoga.

A group weigh-in gave Clearbrook's Team: Fit Happens the motivation needed to press on.

Encouraged by their continued weight loss, members have ramped up their exercise levels. Thanks to Assurance, the team also participated in an on-site yoga class that appealed to both skilled and novice practitioners. Not only did members learn the ins and outs of yoga basics, they opened the relaxing session to their clients with intellectual/developmental disabilities as well.

One team member even won tickets to Jillian Michaels' Maximize Your Life tour. He enjoyed the seminar and got a chuckle out of the snack packs that included cookies.

Some members of the Mt. Prospect Park District's MPPDeterminators are thrilled with their workouts and are pushing themselves past their comfort zones, like Stephanie Hopwood is in her cardio classes. Member Marni Finder is elated that her exercise routine and food choices are falling into place.

"It feels good to have a handle on my portions and healthy food choices at this point in the challenge," she says.

And member Tressa Thomas enjoys shaking up her fitness routine and plans to add swimming to her activity schedule soon.

JourneyCare Team Mojo can almost taste the victory. They remain motivated to not only meet their weight loss goals, but to also prepare for summer vacations, wedding engagements and more with their new svelte figures.

One member put it this way: "I take my mojo everywhere … vacations, work and play."

At this point, they also feel more accountable to each other and continue to set meaningful goals, both individually and collectively.

Their enthusiasm is contagious. Co-workers and close friends are vowing to lose weight and change their eating habits, too. "We support each other," one member reiterates.

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