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I Am the Biggest Loser, and You Can Be Too!

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I Am the Biggest Loser, and You Can Be Too!

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"Obesity is one of the most serious health problems in the United States today. Adult obesity rates have doubled since 1980, from 15 percent to 30 percent. Two-thirds of adults are now either overweight or obese," says the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) in the report "F as in Fat 2008: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America." The article goes on to say, "It is clear that obesity is impacting the entire country. Obesity and overweight are contributing factors to over 20 chronic diseases, including some cancers, arthritis, and even Alzheimer's disease and dementia... "Obese children and teenagers are developing diseases that were formerly only seen in adults. For instance, approximately 176,500 individuals under the age of 20 have type-2 diabetes, and 2 million adolescents aged 12 to 19 have pre-diabetes...Overall, this generation of children could be the first to have shorter, less healthy lives than their parents." I, too, was very overweight—enough that it affected my health. I was having continued heartburn, was exhausted all the time and could not go upstairs without shortness of breath. I figured I was just getting old and would probably die in a few short years. I thought there was no way I could lose the weight! I had tried to diet before with no success, and then I saw an advertisement in the local paper that changed my life. It was an advertisement to join a 10-week weight-loss challenge that offered money as a prize! Each contestant paid $29 up front for the 10 weeks, and the person who lost the most body fat would win the cash prize. Being the competitive person that I am, I decided to join. The program involved weighing in once a week. Classes were taught on how to eat better, and we had the option of either buying the program's products or simply buying our own food from supermarkets. After three weight loss challenges over a seven-month period, I won! I claimed the title "Biggest Loser" after losing 60 pounds and beating out 28 other people with the highest body fat percentage lost. Why did this program work for me when other programs I had tried had failed? Asking God to Help I wanted to succeed. I have learned throughout my Christian life that it is God's desire to help us succeed in all that we do. In Matthew 7:7-11, God tells us to ask Him for help. "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" I needed God's help! Group Support It was very encouraging to go every week to my class where we all shared a vision and goal. We would sit around and talk about what we had learned and what we were doing to reach our weight-loss goal. We would also applaud people for their weekly weight loss. This is much like our Church family. We all have the same shared vision, the same goal. And it takes a lot of encouragement from one another to continue in this walk with God. Group support in whatever we set out to do helps us reach our goals. Leadership Support We had to have someone to encourage us who was knowledgeable, who had been in a similar situation and who had a great desire to see us reach our goals. My weight-loss coach had been overweight herself, so she knew what it was like to have low self-esteem and to struggle to lose weight. She also had the expertise to teach us how to change our lifestyles and our eating habits—to teach us good nutrition. She was also a great cheerleader. She would express great excitement in my week-to-week success and never hesitated to show it. During our Christian lives we learn that when we overcome or come through a trial, we must turn around and help others through their difficulties! Our primary example is Jesus Christ, who understands the struggles we face every day of our lives. "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). Accountability Yes, there was accountability. The scale determined my success or lack thereof each week. If I had been good that week, then I looked forward to stepping on that scale. On the other hand, there were weeks I dreaded it! There was a penalty if we gained weight—$1 for every pound we gained. This reminded me of a scripture that applies in our Christian life: "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life" (Galatians 6:7-8). Reward Certainly the monetary reward is what got me in the door. The real reward I received, though, was far greater than the money I received. It was a reward of better health and better self-esteem. We also walk the Christian path because we know God has offered us the greatest reward anyone could hope to have, that of eternal life in His family! "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). Even though I earned the title "The Biggest Loser," I am a winner because of all that I have learned from this wonderful class. You can too! You can accomplish things you never thought possible, especially when it comes to your health! We do not have to be a part of the statistics of obesity! The impossible is possible! If you are obese, find what works for you. You, too, can be the biggest loser and come out a winner. UN ---------------------------- Food Tips That Help 1. Stay Out of Fast-Food Restaurants! Did you know that a Big Mac has over 700 calories! And that's without the French fries. If you do plan to go out, check the Internet and check out nutritional charts of the food you want to eat before you order your meal. The Daily Plate is a great source to find out how many calories are in the food (www.thedailyplate.com). 2. Drink Lots of Water 3. Count Calories Find out how many calories you should take in daily and stick to it as much as possible. To lose one pound per week, subtract 500 calories a day from your daily caloric rate. You can subtract calories by eating 500 calories less or by burning 500 calories through cardio exercise. For example: 1,900-500=1,400. It really works. I have lost an average of one pound a week. 4. Buy Groceries From the Outline of the Store Look for groceries along the walls where fresh food is usually located. Avoid processed foods if you can. Also books such as Eat This, Not That by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding can help you decide what is best to eat. Zinczenko and Goulding also wrote a book for children titled Eat This Not That! for Kids!: Be the Leanest, Fittest Family on the Block! 5. Learn to Read Labels Know the nutritional value of what you are eating before you eat it. 6. Get a Good Scale and Monitor Your Weight This helps you keep on track. 7. Don't Give Up! Should you get off your diet or binge, don't throw up your hands, quit and say, "It's no use." I have fallen off the wagon many times. You have to allow yourself from time to time to eat something you really enjoy. Just get back in there; and as time goes by, it will get easier and easier. It is so worth it!