Thursday, April 28, 2011

End of 8 Weeks is Only Beginning of Transformation

Yesterday marked the end of Katie’s eight week Teen Camp Champ program that she won as part of my teen contest.  However, I am pleased to announce that it is only the beginning for Katie.  In our eight weeks together so far, she has lost 18.6 pounds (nearly 8% of her starting weight).  She has lost 3.0 inches from her waist, 0.5 inches from each arm, and 0.75 inches from her thigh.  Also, she has dropped her blood pressure by an incredible 12%.  You can see the visual progress and details on her stats below.  I am also very happy to announce that Katie and her mom have asked me to continue to work with her in an effort to lose weight and stay healthy.  So, our work and Katie’s transformation has only just begun.   

Start                                    Week 8
Weight: 235.4 lbs                     Weight 216.8 lbs
Blood Pressure: 136/92          Blood Pressure: 125/76
Pulse: 89                              Pulse: 83
Waist: 46 in                            Waist: 43 in
As you may recall, as part of the teen contest, our winner will also be provided with a fashion and beauty makeover from some very generous and kind local businesses.  So, in the coming weeks, Katie will get a haircut & style provided by Jackie Crow at Studio West Hair Salon and a facial & brow shaping provided by Melanie Williams at Melanie Williams Advanced Skincare.  And she will get a fashion makeover at Tickled Pink, a Bellevue boutique owned by Carey & Lori King.  I will be accompanying Katie to all of these makeovers and will take lots of pictures so you can witness beauty in the making!  These local folks are amazing and I appreciate them very much.  I highly recommend you stop by or call to make yourself an appointment. 

If you have followed Katie’s story over the past eight weeks, you know that it has been a tough road for the both of us.  But, it has also been wonderful and awesome to see changes take place – both on Katie’s outside as well as her inside.  We’ve lost pounds and gained confidence, shed tears and build courage, and wiped sweat & blood to find potential.  I have asked Katie to write about her experience over the past eight weeks and her thoughts on what she has accomplished so I could share it with you.  The following is what she wrote:   
“Coach D – I want to say that I am very glad that I won this contest and that you opened your business to me.  I appreciate your support during this whole process.  It has been hard (literally blood, sweat, and tears) but what I needed to get healthy.  Going in to this I had high blood pressure and weighed 234 pounds.  Being this overweight was nothing new to me, I have been overweight for a long time.  At our first meeting you promised that if I ate and exercised how you taught me I would be healthier.  At the end of eight weeks I have more energy, sleep better, eat healthier and have lowered my blood pressure.  I am in a new place now and know what I need to do to stay on this track to keep getting healthier. The experience has been great and was definitely needed.  I could not have done it without Coach D.”  

I am super proud of Katie and am very appreciative of her words.  And, I will definitely make sure she stays on this track to getting healthy.  It is imperative to her future and her quality of life that she does.  Just like the poem The Race, Katie has gotten up each time she’s fallen and she is winning this race.  And as we continue on this track, I will make sure Katie continues to rise each time she falls and wins this race.  And we will continue to find the beauty, confidence, and pride that radiates from within her. 

Are you winning your race?  Or maybe you’ve fallen and need help rising?  Or maybe you have yet to start your race?  I am here to help you win your race – take the first step by emailing me at  And please share this story with those you know and love so they have a chance to win their own race!        

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fueled by Confidence

Katie holding the weight she's lost!
This has been a week of discovery, revelation, blossoming, and joy…and it had absolutely nothing to do with Easter.  This week was all about Katie finding confidence to push herself past fear, pain, and obstacles to get healthy.  During yesterday’s meeting, I was blown away by the progress Katie made this week.  She lost 5.2 pounds this week for a total of 18.6 pounds so far.  That is nearly 8% of her body weight and she is now under 220 pounds!  Wow!  During our workout today, I had Katie walk around while holding the weight she had lost in her arms.  I sent her up and down stairs and to show her mom the amount of actual weight she used to carry.  After a few minutes, she threw the weights down and declared she would never put that weight back on!  I intend to ensure she doesn’t! 

This week’s progress is amazing for anyone, but as I found out this week, it is even more awesome for Katie.  At a doctor’s appointment last week, Katie discovered that she likely has Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).  For those of you who are unfamiliar with this, it is a condition in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance.  The principal features are irregular menstrual cycles, fertility issues, and obesity.  While the causes are unknown, insulin resistance, diabetes, and difficulty maintaining a healthy weight are all strongly correlated with PCOS.  When I heard that Katie may have PCOS, my first thought was how glad I am that we have begun this process.  By Katie choosing to lose the weight and get healthy now, she is greatly improving her odds of having children someday and minimizing her symptoms of PCOS.  My next thought was how super proud I was that she has lost over 18 pounds in only seven weeks.  More than six out of every ten women who have PCOS are also overweight.  This is because with PCOS, the body has more difficulty using the hormone insulin, which normally helps convert sugars and starches into energy – or insulin resistance.  High insulin levels increase the production of male hormones and weight gain, typically in the abdomen. So instead of having a pear shape, women with PCOS have more of an apple shape.  This is exactly where Katie carries most of her weight.  As I have said before, abdominal fat is the most dangerous kind of fat because it is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and other health conditions.  So, while it may be more difficult for her, Katie is on the right track to protecting her weight, health, and fertility.  In fact, Katie’s doctor said my Camp Champ program was an excellent step in the right direction for improving her symptoms of PCOS.  It’s always nice to receive kudos from a doc! 

I was so proud to watch Katie today.  I can see a confidence emerging.  Her food diary improves each week and she is becoming very consistent in her intake, which is key to losing and keeping off weight.  I can also see determination on her face during workouts.  She is becoming more confident in her body – discovering what it needs, what it is capable of, and the limits to which she can push.  Katie has really found that fire and she stokes it each week with confidence and self-pride.  She has pushed through the pain and the fear.  And as I promised her, if she got up, I will help her win this race! 

Are you being fueled by confidence or are you allowing pain or fear to dowse your fire?  Even if you are struggling with PCOS or any other condition that makes it harder to lose weight, nothing is impossible!  Katie’s amazing transformation proves that!  Whether you need personal encouragement or you want to offer support to Katie, share your story by commenting below or email me at  And please share this story with those you know and love.  Everyone has the choice to fuel or dowse their fire.  I promise if you fuel it, you will win your own race!   

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pain is Temporary, Pride (& Health) is Forever

Katie had a fantastic week this week – she found pain, but she also found pride.  After a difficult week last week, I showed Katie tough love in an effort to motivate her to really make a change.  As I talked about in last week’s post, Katie whined more than she worked last week.  As we embarked on this week, I told Katie that during our workouts together, I expected nothing but hard work and zero whining.  I also asked her to express (either through writing or talking) why she wanted to lose weight and what she hoped to gain from the process.  In our first few weeks together, Katie had “signed up” to lose weight with me, but she had not made the full commitment to herself.  When I went back this week to meet with Katie, she said she realized she had to make the change for herself and not because someone else wanted or expected her to.

Not only had Katie made the commitment mentally and emotionally, she finally made it physically.  This week Katie had developed some serious blisters and expressed pain in her ankle.  These are discomforts and pain that are not life-threatening; however, her obesity is.  So, I encouraged her to push through the pain.  She wrapped her blisters in bandages before we left the house for our workout on Sunday.  However, about halfway through the workout, they were coming loose.  I was so proud to see Katie rip them off and continue pushing.  She didn’t give up and she replaced shedding tears with shedding blood!  I couldn’t have been happier to see that!  I told her as we cooled down that sometimes we have to fight through the pain and fear in order to come out stronger.  The blisters will heal and the fear will subside, and she will be left with pride and health, which will stick with her for the rest of her life. 

When I went back yesterday for our weekly weigh-in and another workout, I was hopeful to see good things.  Katie lost 2.6 pounds this week for a total of 13.4 pounds so far.  This is over 5% of her body weight and an average of over two pounds per week!  She is really making a complete lifestyle change – and I expect that she will keep this weight off.  Unlike the reality weight loss shows where contestants are taken out of their daily routine (and the behaviors and enablers that allowed them to gain the weight in the first place) and playing for prizes, I am helping Katie and her entire family find ways to make healthy choices in their everyday lives.  This is the method that will help them get AND STAY healthy for life. 

Katie's family freezer - color coded!
In fact, in a recent email from Katie’s mom, she wrote to me, “I told her that I will cook like this and buy healthy food forever.  I do feel that it has been a success for our family.  We are all eating healthier and much more aware that what we eat affects our mood and energy level.  Exercise will continue to be a very important part of our life from now on too.  And Katie has certainly lost weight and strutted around here last Saturday with cute jeans and a tank top on feeling very proud of herself.  I don't want it to end, she has gained self-confidence.”  And during yesterday’s workout, for the first time I could see confidence on Katie’s face.  I even made her run up a steep hill – I found an embankment on the side of a large drainage area and I couldn’t resist seeing how Katie fought to make it up.  She ran up that hill five times in a row!  I stood at the top cheering her on and gave her a high five each time she reached the top.  At the end of our workout, we went back to try a few more times – and she ran up it three more times!  On the last climb, she had a huge smile on her face as she slapped my hands.  I’m not sure who had more pride at that moment – me or her! 

Katie is no longer allowing temporary pain and fear to hold her back.  She is pushing through so she can find pride and health that lasts forever.  Are you allowing a temporary pain to hold you back from discovering your own health and pride?  Fight through the fear and pain because your pride and your health will be waiting for you on the other side.  Whether you need personal encouragement or you want to offer support to Katie, share your story by commenting below or email me at  And please share this story with those you know and love.  Allow Katie to be the proof that fear and pain can be replaced with pride and health, and that is definitely worth fighting for.      

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Find the Fire in You

I have been through a lot of difficult things in my life – some painful, some difficult, some sad, and some just plain discouraging.  I have learned from each moment and have come out on the other side stronger, wiser, and better for having survived.  Looking back, there were times when I was in the eye of the storm that I wasn’t sure I would survive, but that never stopped me from fighting as hard as hell to make it through.  And, in the calm after the storm is when I realize my strength and how proud of myself I am for surviving.

This is a lesson that we can only learn for ourselves.  It is not something that can be taught – it comes from experience.  And I can only hope that I am in the process of teaching this lesson to Katie.  She is on the brink of morbid obesity and is only 16 years old.  While we have had good days and bad days, I think yesterday was a low point for both of us.  Last week, I posted about our breakdown leading to a breakthrough.  But, I am not sure we fully broke through.  At yesterday’s weigh-in, Katie only lost 0.8 pounds since last week.  While any weight loss is good, she has the potential to lose much more – our goal is five pounds per week. 

Quitting is not an option, so I got her up and we started out workout – I planned to walk/jog to the tennis courts in het in a good bootcamp workout and walk/jog back home.  Last week’s breakdown happened on our way back home after we had made it through the majority of the workout.  But, yesterday the crying and complaining began during our first jogging interval.  When we finally made it to the tennis courts, we did a few circuit training moves using the lines on the court.  Katie really wasn’t pushing very hard and whined most of the time.  After a few minutes, she asked “Can we do something that doesn’t involve my legs?”  That really aggravated me.  I asked if she just wanted to sit, because that was really the only option…unless we wanted to try headstands!  After more crying and complaining, we went back home. 

When we got back home I had a serious conversation with Katie and her mom.  I asked if she thought she was really pushing herself when she worked out on her own.  I also asked her what she expected from the process.  She said she has tried to push herself but that she is always tired.  My assessment is that she is used to being lazy and doesn’t want to push herself past anything that is difficult.  And she said she knew it wouldn’t be easy, but she didn’t expect it would be this hard. She even admitted that for most of her life, if something was difficult, she simply stopped.  As I have said before, in addition to losing weight, Katie will have to drop the emotional and mental baggage that comes with it.  I want Katie to find that fire within her – something that will motivate her.  I can push and encourage all day long, but only she can truly make up her mind and her heart to make a change.  I want her to fight FOR this – not AGAINST me.  My only hope is that Katie fights like hell through this eye of the storm.  It will be difficult physically, mentally, and emotionally, but when she makes it through, she will see how strong she truly is.  And it will feel so good when she has self-pride rather than self-doubt. 

Do you have the fire within you?  Do you need to find it so you can make a change today?  This is your time to step up and fight for your health, your life, and your future.  I know Katie can do it and I know you can too.  Whether you need personal encouragement or you want to offer encouragement and support to Katie, share your story by commenting below or email me at  And please share this story with those you know and love because Katie is not alone.  There are many Katie’s out there – young and old – who are struggling to find their own fire.  Each of us has it and it only takes a spark to get it going.