A kind word is the best motivation, says 2020 Fittest Loser writer

  • 2020 Daily Herald Fittest Loser contestant and reporter Dick Quagliano with trainer Joshua Steckler at Push Fitness in Schaumburg.

      2020 Daily Herald Fittest Loser contestant and reporter Dick Quagliano with trainer Joshua Steckler at Push Fitness in Schaumburg. John Starks | Staff Photographer

By Dick Quagliano
Posted3/15/2020 7:30 AM

The outside noises.

Birds chirping. People walking by the house talking. Motorcycles roaring down the busy streets. They are always a sweet, telling sound of spring's arrival.


When you are on a new nutritional plan, the outside noises sound pretty wonderful as well.

It's been nearly four weeks since I began, along with contestants Barbara Simon, Van Dillenkoffer, Jennifere Lux and Neil Madden, participating in the Fittest Loser Challenge. And the sounds we are hearing are sweet to our ears.

We knew what those sounds were before the contest began. People saw that we were not taking care of ourselves. We were letting ourselves go and spiraling in the wrong direction.

It wasn't that people were being mean. I know people were concerned about my health. But at times, it was a bit disconcerting.

That's where the new sounds come in.

I am down just over 20 pounds in this short period of time. I still have a long way to go. But, the best part is people are beginning to notice.

I recently covered the Fremd-Palatine state basketball playoff game. I live in the area and I have friends on both sides of the tracks.

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It was a great game, but what was even better were the number of people who came up to me and told me I looked better. One of my good friends, who I hadn't seen for a few weeks, contacted me from across the court texting "I can hardly see you." (Love you, Kathy)

Those encouraging words mean so much to me. And I know it means so much to our contestants. They told me as much at our last "boot camp."

Positive words from people mean so much.

When I was coaching youth football, I went to a clinic that was put on the by the Positive Coaching Alliance. One of the main things it really focuses on is the need to say positive things to our players to help offset all the negativity they hear.

That coaching technique is a huge success. I could see the difference in my players. It's true for us adults as well. We all respond better to the nice things said to us.


Whether it's at work, at home, at play or to people in a weight contest -- compliments go a long way.

I want to compliment the people from Dick Pond and especially Dave at its Hoffman Estates store. All four contestants and myself were given new Brooks running shoes and inserts from Dick Pond. Dave was extremely helpful. He put me on a treadmill to check out my gate. He then measured my foot (size 11, as always).

But the next step shocked me. Dave advised for running shoes, you need to be a size larger than regular.

He brought me out the shoes and they were fantastic. He also gave me a pair of inserts and then cut them to fit.

What a difference!

I have worn gym shoes pretty much all my life. I have covered cross country and track and I knew good shoes are important. I never realized just how important.

Every one of the contestants had a similar experience and are loving their new running shoes. Jennifere has also said she is using the inserts each day in her dress shoes. She said they are a huge help there, as well.

Say something nice to someone today. Watch how much it brightens their day.

And yours as well.

• Dick Quagliano coached youth football for 32 seasons and has been a freelance high school sports writer for more than 40 years, the last seven with the Daily Herald. In addition, he maintains his full-time day job as a packaging salesman. He and his wife Debi have two adult sons, Michael and Anthony.

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