One week in and one ton gone. Well, a half ton and change.
In the first week of the Tribune Chronicle-St. Elizabeth / St. Joseph Centers Fitness Challenge, the 61 teams combined for a shedding of 1,380 pounds. That's an average 4.5 fewer pounds for each of the 305 competitors.
Racing to fast start were the Kings of Carz, a five-man team from Toyota Volvo Jaguar of Warren who finished third in last year's weight loss competition to benefit charity. They dumped from the trunk - and everywhere else - an incredible 65.25 pounds, 4.89 percent of their starting weight.
Bruce Buckler of Niles, left, and Steve Ferrebee of Brookfield of Believers’ Bulge Busters listen during a tour of Bella Women’s Center in Warren. They are standing in the center’s boutique stocked with clothes, toys and baby furniture for expectant mothers.
PB's Pastry Puffs are drying up in second at 4.71 percent of their starting weight lost, followed by PsyCare Shake Weight Shedders at 4.39 percent, The Northwood Skinny at 4.39 percent and Why Weight at 3.96 percent.
Fast starts are common in the heady first days of a weight loss program. Still being there by the bitter end, not so much.
Shake Weight Shedder captain Janelle Buckler said they'll still be there when the scales shudder through the final tallies in two months. She even has a personal goal:
''Beat the Believers' Bulge Busters, which my mom and dad are a part of. I appreciate the effort that I know the Bulge Busters will put in these 10 weeks, but the majority of us on PsyCare Shake Weight Shedders are veterans to the Fitness challenge and we know how to 'lose.'''
Member Sherry Mahnovich admitted that sometimes veterans do sit back and rest on their laurels, perhaps with a nice dessert or two.
''Do you really think I would be returning if I was still losing weight?'' Mahnovich said. ''It is very stressful to keep doing this every year, especially when you have team members such as mine. Don't want to mention any names they know who they are.
''I guess you could say that I goofed up again so I just keep returning every year. Anyways, it is for a good cause!''
Ah yes, the good cause. The teams that lose the greatest percentage of their starting weight gain the largest share of the prize money for the nonprofit agency of their choice. The winner will donate at least $1,350 to its charity of choice; second place, $900; third, $540; fourth, $360; fifth to seventh, $315 each; eighth to tenth, $270 each; all others, $225. Also, the team with the best one-week showing earns a bonus $10 for its charity that week, putting another $100 in play.
So keep sweating!
TIPS AND TASTY TIDBITS
So what is this ''diet'' thing and why is it so hard?
First of all, don't think of it as a ''diet,'' says registered / licensed dietitian Lauren Manusakis. ''It is better to focus more on eating healthy for a lifetime than dieting to lose weight.''
Manusakis returns this year from Humility of Mary Health Partners with a whole menu of ideas on how to accomplish that. It's not all about giving up eating but enjoying with wisdom.
Here's Part 1, how to retrain our eating habits:
''Be realistic: Make small changes over time in what you eat. After all, small steps often work better than giant leaps,'' she said.
''Be positive. Change is a matter of progress, not perfection. Change is always easier when you feel good about yourself.
''Be adventurous. Expand your tastes to enjoy a variety of foods.
''Be sensible. Enjoy all foods, and if you listen and respond to your body's signals of hunger and satiety, you won't overdo it.
''Learn to recognize true hunger. If it is not time for your next meal and you get the sudden urge to snack, try drinking a glass of water first and wait 20 minutes and see if the craving passes. It may not be hunger at all but rather thirst.''
Manusakis will be back in the coming weeks with more thoughts on diet. In the meantime, she will be leading the next round of SlimDown classes, a six-week weight management program, beginning March 1 at St. Elizabeth Boardman Health Center and March 3 at St. Joe's at the Mall in Niles. Cost is $40 for first-timers and $20 for repeaters. Call 330-480-3151 or 877-700-4647 to register.
Remember, oh svelte ones, it's a weight LOSS competition. Already in Week 1, two teams GAINED weight.
The VA Move Legends picked up a pound and the Rich Center Pals put on a pair.
While weight loss experts agree that it's the slow, sensible shedding that lasts, this might be a tad too slow.
GROUPS WE'D LIKE TO TAKE TO DINNER
Every team chooses a charity or nonprofit service organization for which it is playing. The aforementioned Believers' Bulge Busters chose the Bella Women's Center.
Last week, the team took a tour of the center at 1192 North Road in Warren to see exactly what's at stake. They decided to do more than shed pounds for the center.
''It is a beautiful work they are doing,'' team captain Janice Buckler said. ''The Believers' Bulge Busters are going in next Saturday at noon to help paint. This should be lots of fun!''
Bella Women's Center, formerly Your Pregnancy Resource Center, is a faith-based program that calls itself ''a professional medical office with staff dedicated to serving women facing unplanned pregnancies by transforming their fear into confidence.
''Our services focus on positive, life-affirming alternatives to abortion for women and families facing tough decisions about their unplanned pregnancy,'' according to the center.
The medical staff added an ultrasound machine in August. Programs also include a variety of baby and parenting classes, a boutique of baby clothes, furniture and toys, and an abortion recovery program for those who request it.
Every year, team names include plenty of puns about weight, food and body parts. But this is the first year a team has chosen such a curious name as Jet Fuel.
Jet Fuel team captain Brian McConnell says it's easy to figure out: ''Because we will burn off the weight like a jet burns off fuel. We are in it to win!''
In case you think that's so much contrail in the sky, McConnell was part of the 2007 Fitness Challenge champions Inlaws/Outlaws.
SMACKING OF THE LIPS
Hey, teams! Do you want to issue a challenge? Call out any teams in particular? Tell others why they might as well try for second place because you're gonna win? Do you want to lay down the smack?
Here's your chance. Challenge others and send your smack talk (the sillier the better - remember, we're all friends and co-adventurers on this journey to health) to the e-mail address right below this sentence.