This year’s Personally Fit Challenge took place during the holidays, but these ladies shunned the sweets and shed the pounds. By Lisa Hanchey

The 2012 Go Red for Women Personally Fit Challenge has come to an end. And though this session fell during the holidays, these ladies still managed to drop pounds, inches and cholesterol numbers.

“This group was really good,” says Personally Fit owner and challenge leader Dawn Foreman. “They did not realize the results that previous groups have seen, but they actually lost weight during the first six weeks, which was smack dab in the middle of the holidays. Considering that most Americans gain up to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas, these are remarkable results.”

This year, the Biggest Loser was Theresa Hurston, who shed an incredible 13 pounds and 11.25 inches, dropped her bad cholesterol by 23 points, raised her good cholesterol by six points and dropped her triglycerides by 30 points. She did it by meeting with fellow challenger Jennifer Verret to exercise every weekday at 6 a.m., working out with a personal trainer twice a week and exercising on the treadmill, elliptical trainer or bike on other days. She also followed the healthy diet plan prescribed by Foreman.


From left, 2012 Personally Fit Challengers Nichole DeLine, Karen Rider and Kristy Bodin. Seated is Wendi Welsh.

With the program, she actually lost seven  pounds over the holidays. “She not only saw great results personally, but was a constant inspiration to all of the ladies that worked out with her,” Foreman says of Thurston.

Challenger Nichole DeLine, who lost 13 pounds and 16 inches despite her petite stature, says she really saw results after eight weeks. “This is the first program I’ve ever stuck with,” she reports. “It’s been encouraging to see the results. I expect to continue it.”

Wendi Welsh lost 10 pounds and 12.5 inches. “I feel great!” she exclaims. “I’m excited. I want to keep going.”

Participant Karen Rider lost 10 pounds and 13.75 inches through exercise alone. “When I started feeling better, I did more at home,” she says. The program has inspired her to try more activities.
But Personally Fit’s Foreman says the three month program is just a start to the ladies’ healthier lifestyles. From now on it’s up to them to continue practicing the diet and exercise habits they learned during the challenge. “All it takes is a week to slip,” she cautions.

To maintain weight loss, Foreman advises participants and our readers to do a meal plan every single week. Keep plans in a folder to refer back to when having a particularly hectic week. Always have a fall-back plan — keep portion-sized ready-made healthy meals in the freezer to have when you need them.

For continued fitness, she encourages people to get a reliable pedometer with a goal of tallying 10,000 steps a day. Schedule your workouts with your daily meal planner so that you won’t have an excuse to skip. Use this special group of ladies for inspiration. “The best part of this group is the fact that they are all so committed to continuing with the program so they can truly reach their weight loss and heart- health goals,” Foreman notes.

The American Heart Association and Personally Fit for Women launched the challenge in 2009 as part of the “Go Red for Women” initiative, which is designed to raise awareness of heart disease, America’s No. 1 killer of women. For this session’s challenge, nine women were selected based on their risk factors for cardiac problems and their willingness to commit to the program. Winners received free registration for FUEL (Food Used as Energy for Life – Personally Fit’s group weight loss program), personal and small group training sessions and unlimited access to Personally Fit. The Go Red challengers will be recognized at the Go Red for Women luncheon Thursday, March 1, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hilton Lafayette.

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