They aren't giving up.
With seven of the 10 weeks gone in the Fitness Challenge weight-loss competition to benefit charity, the same cluster of teams remains in the top 10.
It will be the teams finishing in the top 10 which will earn the largest shares of the prize money - up to $1,350 for first place - to donate to the service organizations they designate.
Carolyn Rutland of Howland, Ginny Lucarelli of Howland, Diana and David Fowler of Mineral Ridge, listen and look over food items presented to them Lauren Manusakis, a dietician with Humility of Mary Health Partners, during a weight management class held at St. Joe’s at the Eastwood Mall.
The other 51 teams will collect the same amount for their designated groups - $225 each.
That setup that could tempt the also-rans to coast since 11th place or 61st place will mean just the same for their charities.
But taking the rest of the competition off would blow up the other goals - losing weight and kick-starting a healthier lifestyle.
Plus, they still have a chance to catch some of the top teams napping in the final three weeks of the Tribune Chronicle-St. Elizabeth/St. Joseph Centers Fitness Challenge.
The two fastest-rising teams this week were St. Joe's at the Mall, which bounded eight spots, from 37th place to 29th, and The Gingers, also climbing eight places, from 55th to 47th.
The Peanut Heads, 22nd to 16th, and Taylor's Martial Arts, 56th to 50th, both leapfrogged six places in the standings.
Up five each were Charlie and his Angels, 41st to 36th, and Lose 2 Win, 47th to 42nd.
Shirley Lisk of St. Joe's at the Mall had a simple explanation for her team's leap of faith:
"Dave (Trask, team captain) got sick. I think that's what did it. He couldn't eat,'' she quipped.
"Actually, we've all gone down regularly by doing it the healthy way," Lisk said.
Two of the team members are on medications that often have a nasty side effect of causing weight gain. They've been losing weight despite that obstacle by sticking to their plan, Lisk said.
Teammates also are increasing intensity of exercise and upping the distance they walk.
All are participating in the Strong Bones, Strong People exercise program at St. Joe's at the Mall, where Lisk is site manager. While the program was designed as strength training for osteoporosis patients, others have signed on for the weight management benefits, a rather nice side effect of a medical program.
St. Joe's, as well as being an outlet of the Fitness Challenge co-sponsors, also is a weigh-in site. Lisk gives weigh-ins with lectures - but the encouraging kind.
"We talk all the time. As a health educator, I say this is a lifestyle. You can't make it for the contest. If you make it for the contest, it's just going to go away. I see people come in heavy, go out skinny and the next year, they come in heavy again."
On the flip side, she said there also have been quite a few people who said they hit their goal weights, learned how to stay there and did not return for the next Challenge because there was no need.
''If you give up, you're not going to get that,'' she said.
FAT FACTS COURSE 1
So far, six teams have joined the 100-plus club, teams whose five members have lost 100 or more pounds. Since the competition is based on percentage of starting weight lost, that doesn't necessarily mean the winner's circle, but it helps. They're all in the top 10 in the standings.
The teams are:
l Kings of Carz, second place, 153.5 pounds;
l 4.5 Grown Men, eighth, 138 pounds;
l Jet Fuel, fourth, 119 pounds;
l Pulling Guards, 10th, 112.5 pounds;
l Believers Bulge Busters, first, and The Well Wishers, third, 108.5 pounds each.
FAT FACTS COURSE 2
The 61 Fitness Challenge teams have combined to lose 3,401.5 pounds over the first seven weeks. That's an average 14.1 pounds a person, or about 2 pounds a week. And that, health experts say, is a safe, slow and steady, lifestyle-changing pace that is far easier to keep off over the long run.
TIPS AND TASTY TIDBITS
Another help from St. Elizabeth and St. Joseph health centers are SlimDown weight management classes taught by Humility of Mary Health Partners dietitian Lauren Manusakis. Last week at a session at St. Joe's at the Mall, Manusakis covered one of the trickiest challenges for the healthy eater - dining out and fast food.
''As you know fast food/restaurant food is loaded with fat and sodium,'' she said. ''So it is important to make sure we are making smart choices when eating out.
''Some helpful tips: Plan ahead. Most chain restaurants have nutrition information on their website to help diners make better choices.
''Split your entree with someone or take half home - you save money and calories.
''Remember, just because it comes with fries does not mean we have to get them.
''Look for key words like 'cheesy,' 'rich,' 'savory,' 'fried,' 'loaded,' 'creamy,' 'buttered.' This signifies high-fat and high-calorie options.
''There usually is a better choice when eating out at restaurants, fast food and ballparks. Learn to make those more often and you won't get off track,'' she said.
The point is creating a healthy lifestyle, not locking oneself away to never dine again with friends, she said.
''Remember, even if the scale doesn't tip, living a healthier lifestyle - eating healthy, physical activity - still makes a big difference in your physical and mental well-being. The enemy of 'Good' is the 'Pursuit of the Perfect' and expectation of the 'Impossible.'''
GROUPS WE'D LIKE TO
TAKE TO DINNER
The aforementioned Strong Bones, Strong People program is the designated do-good program for the St. Joe's at the Mall team based out of, well, St. Joe's at the Mall.
The program began in June 2009 through a grant to help people living with or at risk for osteoporosis, a condition that includes degeneration of the bones, and for those with low bone density.
The 12-week course is offered free, including personalized strength training and nutrition education.
"The focus is on strength training," Lisk said.
Stronger muscles provide better balance that will help prevent falls - a real hazard for people with brittle bones - and to help offset problems that could come from a fall. Strength training and proper nutrition also increase bone density, further offsetting risks of fractures.
"We're building strength, building muscle, improving health, improving lifestyles," Lisk said. "We have a lot of good, positive results."
Participants are measured for things like bone density and body mass before and after the program to chart progress.
This week, Doug Muccio of the PsyCare Shake Weight Shedders explains how his team came up with their name.
The first part is because they all work at the Howland Clinic of the PsyCare Behavioral Healthcare and Counseling.
As for the rest of it, ''we had a very methodical process in coming up with our name. First, we wanted to take inspiration from one of the many cheesy fitness products out on the market, so we chose the Shake Weight.''
The Shake Weight, as seen in tons of TV commercials, is a dumbbell with spring-loaded weights at either end which the manufacturer says uses dynamic inertia to work arms, shoulders and chest.
''Then we used alliteration to find a word to define our weight-loss goal - Shedders.''