During this final week of the Fittest Loser Community Challenge, our corporate and park district team partners reminisce about a 12-week journey that has transformed their lives.
"It's truly amazing what 12 weeks -- 12 short weeks can do," says Amanda Seilheimer, a member of the Lutheran Life Communities' Wellness Warriors. "It was an amazing experience, and I feel so blessed!"
Tanairi Cruz agrees. "I have learned that it may be hard but it will pay off," says Cruz of the work needed to see results. "These months have helped me get in better condition and to get to a weight I have always desired. I worked hard, but not because I want that summer body; I want that forever body."
Sara Sondergaard appreciated the Warrior team effort.
"It's a lot easier to stick to a weight-loss plan when you have people rally behind you," says Sondergaard, who just signed up to run her first 5K. "I am so glad I did this, and I hope to continue, especially working out."
Morelba Becerril viewed the fitness challenge through a lens of greatness. She thanked trainers for great advice, friends for great compliments and she relishes the great feeling she has of accomplishment.
"It was a great experience to be a part of this," she says. "It motivates me to keep going."
The Fat Burning Fitz Chem Fighters say some temptations are hard to pass up, especially at work in the middle of the day.
"There were a lot of company meetings this week where the menu was planned by someone else," says one member. "Two meals were pizza, including stuffed pizza. How can you say no to stuffed pizza?"
Member Jonette Martin says she's learned that one mistake doesn't have to lead to two.
"Even if I eat something 'bad' it doesn't mean the entire day is ruined," Martin says. "Just because I ate one cookie doesn't mean I have to eat the whole box."
Other group members can identify with this. "In the past, I would eat several pieces of chocolate at once," says Barb Merner. "But I have learned to satisfy my sweet cravings with just a small amount each day."
And Angela Johnson feels more empowered about her outlook on food and health these days. "We've all agreed that our weight loss and plan doesn't stop here," she says. "It's a lifelong event."
Elk Grove Village's Team Fit member Betty is pleased with her recent weight loss.
"I really thought I would want to celebrate with bad food," she confesses, "but I don't even want bad food anymore!"
Member Kim also had a significant drop in weight, but she revels more in being able to let go of a few unwanted titles.
"Weigh-in was good," she says. "But better than that, I am no longer considered overweight. I also lowered my cholesterol, including my triglycerides. My blood pressure is lower, and the nurse was excited that my BMI is now in the normal range. I cannot thank the Daily Herald, Pavilion Fitness, and the Biggest Loser Resort trainers enough. It was only with their help that I became healthier and stronger."
The Prinova "Whey to Go" Team kept it moving this week. The group stayed active doing various exercises and participating in boot camp sessions.
Member Jeanette ran in the DuPage Human Race 5K and has already signed up for another, in hopes of improving her run time.
The team as a whole continues to drop pounds, and members are putting in the necessary time at the gym. Yet many say they are still waiting for the real spring to spring so that they can flex their fitness muscles outdoors.
• 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.