Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The BEST thing EVER!

For the handful of you out there who don't need to lose a few pounds, you may ignore this post and go have a donut.  For the REST of you, pay attention!  This is GOOD.
About a month ago I noticed my friend and former-walking-buddy had gotten smaller!  (Horizontally, not vertically.)  Whenever I see this phenomenon, I want details and I want them NOW.  What did she DO?  It turns out she had been part of a 10 Week Fitness Challenge group, set up by her daughter.  And it worked.  Big time.  So I snatched up the info, passed it on to my daughter, who caught hold of it and started her own group, of which I am a proud participant.  We are now in our 2nd week and I haven't experienced this kind of motivation since I first joined Weight Watchers back in 2008.  And if you've ever dieted, you've discovered that MOTIVATION is EVERYTHING.  
Let's pause here for a moment and discuss motivation.  Do you recall times when you've had the will power to exist on grass clippings and felt like you could do it FOR LIFE!?  Then other times when you can't stick to a diet for 5 minutes before you're rummaging for the Oreos.  It's motivation.  Sometimes you have it and sometimes you just ... don't.  
So what is a 10 Week Fitness Challenge?  Loosely explained, you (as the group leader in case you don't have a daughter on whom to sluff this off) invite, via emails or facebook or (gasp) in person, a group of friends to do it with you.  Prepare for a larger-than-expected-group because your friends also have friends.  Everyone submits $10, or whatever amount the group leader decides, to said group leader who beelines to the mall.  Kidding!  He/she dutifully sets the money aside.  Then a blog is set up with your team name, motto, or whatever cute, witty title you can conjure up and everyone in the group is signed on so that they can all post in the blog.  They all add a picture and an intro post about themselves (including trash talk - "Go ahead and write your checks out to ME!") in the blog sidebar where they can display their ever-increasing point total.  Then a point system is set up and permanently affixed to the top of the blog for reference.  Here's a sample and is what our group (cleverly titled by Daughter as "A Little Less Talk") is using:  
1 point each day for: 
     drinking 48 (or more) ounces of water
     eating 4 servings of veggies
     eating 3 servings of fruit
     each 1/2 hour of exercise
     7 - 9 hours of sleep the previous night
     sticking with your own chosen diet plan
     no eating out
     no soda
     no desserts
     keeping a daily food journal
Plus 3 points each Monday for adding a new post in the blog just to check in about your week, your progress, ups and downs, etc.
Each participant keeps track of their own point count and updates it daily or weekly.  ADD TO THAT, occasional Pop Challenges, meaning each participant is assigned a week and on any day during that week they can put up a post awarding 2 extra points to all who've successfully followed (choose one of the 10 items in the list of "rules", ie. no soda) the previous day.  For added fun we have a facebook group where we can encourage, commiserate, or just share thoughts with each other -- or IOW, so that "A Little Less Talk" can talk a little more.
Finally, at the end of the 10 weeks, you earn one point for each percentage point of weight you have lost and the person with the most points earned WINS THE MONEY and gets to go shopping for new(!) smaller(!) clothes(!) ..... or just pay his/her electric bill.
As for me, I have proudly lost 3.5% of my weight so far and yes, I am using the Weight Watchers program as my chosen diet plan.  
This is really a win-win thing for me as it MOTIVATES me to keep up with my running (earning points!) and to lose a few extra pounds so that I don't have to haul them along during the marathon.
So THANK YOU to Former-Walking-Buddy's-Daughter for passing on this GREAT IDEA!  And THANK YOU to Favorite-Daughter for getting our group started.  
(I don't know who deserves credit for the original idea, but he/she should get a medal for BRILLIANCE.)

(Update:  for another, and better version, see this post.)


  1. I want to join after I'm done having/nursing my baby!! Sounds like a FUN way to stay motivated and healthy!

  2. Our fitness challenge group started March 25th (hosted by Val Stock). I've already lost 11 pounds! I've been keeping track of my food and kind of exercising not very regularly since the end of January, but this has been a real motivation for me! (I've lost 18 pounds total since I started at the end of Jan.!!!)

    Also, to tell you the truth, I saw the "A Little Less Talk" group on someone's facebook status and was kind of jealous that I hadn't been invited. NOW I know what it's all about! Good luck with your challenge!

  3. This is the greatest motivator! I am in my second go round just to keep good habits. I am down to my wedding weight, and think I may hit high school weight by the end. Didn't think I would ever say those words in this lifetime! Thanks for sending this along! And weight to go on your challenge!

  4. Becky, you hardly seem to need it, but that's what people say to me.

    Ellen, Hooray! (I'll know from now on to always invite you into my fb groups.) :-D

    Barb, I may have to quote you. Yours is a great testimonial and added motivator for the rest of us. Thanks!