“Seeing my success so far really has me motivated to continue on and strive to the next goal. I feel healthier by the day and feel able to push myself a bit more with each workout.”
This year our three contestants each had their own reasons for participating and each one had incredible experiences that we have to share with our readers. Their inspired attitudes should make even the most dedicated couch potato want to get up and move!
Our special thanks to the team at Orangetheory Fitness and Simply for Life for giving our contestants 12 weeks on the road to a whole new lifestyle!
THE WINNER: Donna Kitsch
Tell us how you feel overall
I am feeling great overall. I’m really enjoying the extra pep in my step as I have more energy, and I got to get some new clothes with the weight loss and inches! Seeing my success so far really has me motivated to continue on and strive to the next goal. I feel healthier by the day and feel able to push myself a bit more with each workout.
What challenges were the hardest? Overcoming anxiety around working out. Some days at the start I felt as if I couldn’t catch my breath. I was so worried of making a fool out of myself. Very near the start of the challenge I did fall off the treadmill, but I got right back up! And guess what? I was OK and really was worried for no reason! All the Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) coaches have been so encouraging and giving tips along the way. (Looking at) some of the equipment at the start I thought there was no way at my size I could do it but I did try and did my best. Now I get excited for those days of the Bosu and mini bands!
What are you most proud of?
My commitment to myself. In the past I feel I did well for a few weeks and then just sort of convinced myself with excuses to not continue on. I actually miss Orangetheory when I take my rest days now! I am proud of getting to all the workouts I planned on, and taking it all one day at a time. Meal by meal, following the plan and not stressing about it all.
What you are planning to do next?
I have already signed up with Orangetheory as a member. (They are stuck with me now!) I want to continue my focus of four to five days a week working out. I want to continue on with pushing myself to move past being a power walker to a jogger! I‘m looking forward to get back to doing some 5 Ks in 2020.
What parts did you enjoy the most? Meeting new people, and learning tips and tricks on maximizing work efforts in the workouts I attended. I used to always hold onto the bar on the treadmill and had no idea doing that lowered the impact benefit of the workout by 30 per cent. I haven’t held on since I got that info!
What did you learn about yourself, about fitness, about diet?
I am into a good routine of meal planning and want to keep making sure to have time planned to prep. I have found tracking all progress, a food journal, measurements, the scale and paying attention to how I am feeling all play a bigger role than I thought in the overall motivation. Where one part doesn’t seem to progress, other parts are. I also learned that measuring out portions and using a kitchen scale is a HUGE help. It really helps to see what I was eye balling in the past being way too big of a portion. I now have a kitchen scale as a permanent fixture in my day-to day-planning.
Donna Kitsch: 320.8 lbs
I feel amazeballs. So good. People notice and comment. I know I didn’t have as much weight or inches to lose as the other two ladies, but it was important to me to reach 15 pounds – and I did. Seventeen pounds and 10.5” lost. I’m even down another pound since weigh-in! I am half a pound away from being in the 140s (the high 140s, but still 140s).
The hardest challenge for me was Coach Lisa pushing me to be a jogger from a power walker but I wasn’t getting the splat points from walking anymore. So the first day I ran, I got 44 splats! I thought I was going to die but man did it feel good. I have been a jogger ever since. Who knew this 56-year-old Gammy of three grandchildren would be a jogger! I am currently working out four times a week at home (have a treadmill and elliptical) as we just had a grandson born and need to be available for help right now. I know I have it in me to continue this journey (and get in the 140s). I am super proud of myself and what I accomplished in those 12 weeks. I never missed a class – and having OTF making us accountable for them really helps. My diet has changed – no snacking, proper meal prep is a must. I have to do that; it’s a very key part of my diet. Going forward, health and diet need to be a priority. I like this healthy, happy body I have going on. Thank you so much for the opportunity – I truly appreciate it.
Jamie Kelly: 151.8 lbs
I lost 14 pounds – I’m not going to lie; I struggled with my mindset a little over this. I have a lot to lose and I had high expectations about how much weight I could potentially lose in 12 weeks. Once the challenge was over a friend asked me if I was happy with my results. I’ve given this some thought and the answer is absolutely YES! I lost five per cent of my original body weight. That is an average of more than one pound per week which is a healthy rate of weight loss. This is a marathon not a sprint so how could I not be thrilled with this result! Plus – I never gave up or got discouraged like I have in the past. My final weigh-in was the lowest weight I achieved at any point during the challenge so I didn’t rebound or back slide and that is awesome for me.
My blood sugar has normalized and I am no longer considered diabetic! My fasting blood sugar at the beginning of this challenge was over 13 which is dangerously high. My A1C was over 10. While I have not yet had the chance to repeat the A1C my daily fasting blood sugar is now in the range of 5.5 to 7. It has been nearly cut in half! I have my health back. This challenge got me to focus on my diet and gaining back my health and staying off of medications is priceless!
I am officially a runner! This is so exciting to me I can’t even tell you! I set this goal from the beginning of the challenge. I have been a member at Orangetheory since early 2018 and have always been a power walker. At the midpoint of this challenge I was getting closer to my goal, running my all outs and pushes but could not seem to graduate my base above a walking recovery. Deanna knew how important this goal was to me and helped me to tweak some things and before you know it I was running for 20 minutes nonstop! Every class I would go and it was more advanced and longer runs and I didn’t think I could do it – but every time I pushed and found out that I was capable of so much more that I thought I was. For the first time in my life I feel like an athlete and I can’t wait to see what I can accomplish next! I haven’t power-walked a class since I ran that first one. I AM A RUNNER! Ya baby!
Ten thousand squats in 2019! On the day this challenge started in September I started a challenge with my daughter for some extra motivation. We decided we were going to do 10,000 squats by the end of the year. I haven’t missed a day and we hit that 10,000 milestone on New Year’s Eve. I even recruited Deanna and last year’s challenge winner Laura to join me so now we are a team of four. And I’m already working on setting up next year’s challenge. Pushups? Burpees? The sky is the limit.
I lost 12 inches! I lost 3.5 inches off my waist, 4 inches off my hips, an inch off each thigh, and losses everywhere except a .5 inch gain on each calf. The amount of inches lost and the way my clothes are fitting now tells me that while I was losing fat I was also gaining muscle as my body composition is changing. Another reason I am not fazed by the number on the scale.
The bottom line is this. This challenge has been life-changing for me. I made major improvements to my health and fitness levels and I am so motivated to do more and do better! Now that I am a runner there is no turning back. Next it’s about increasing my base pace and running faster and lifting heavier! Deanna has been the most amazing coach and friend and I can honestly say that without her support and guidance I would not have met my running goal and would still be walking. And her joining my squats challenge shows her dedication to her clients and her craft. Tricia from OTF has also been incredible. I love these ladies and I love OTF.
No matter who wins this challenge we are all winners in my books. It has been wonderful to get to know these ladies and see their success. Thank you so much for this opportunity. I will never forget it and will continue to build upon my successes here far into the future.
Tina Parsons: 265 lbs