The Weight Loss Challenge

I have dieted in the past. Probably three times over the past 10 years I have made conscious efforts to lose weight. Were these attempts successful? Well, in terms of losing weight, yes. But my understanding of how to lose weight was very rudimentary and not particularly healthy. In my mind, it all came down to a simple principle: Just eat less.

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In March, COVID-19 took hold of our country. A response of many states, including Washington, was to shift into lockdown mode. In addition to restaurants and movie theaters, another industry hit particularly hard was the fitness sector. Gyms were forced to shutter. As someone who made it a priority to hit the gym five times per week, the closures messed with my routine and personal fitness. Although I did do workouts at a high school track, it didn’t fully compensate for missed gym hours and the increased time I was sitting on my butt in my home office.

I put on some COVID pounds.

Due to the closure of gyms, I put on some COVID pounds.

Thankfully gyms would re-open and I found Snap Fitness. I got back into a routine as I grew to really like my new fitness home. However, the extra pandemic weight wasn’t exactly melting away. A couple months ago, a fellow Snap Fitness gym-goer asked me if I wanted to enter a weight loss challenge.

When the governor allowed gyms to re-open, I found a new facility to go to…Snap Fitness.

This fellow gym-goer happened to be my wife. When we moved to Spokane Valley, we purchased a “couples” membership and joined the Snap Fitness at Montgomery and Argonne. Sidney was a complete rock star and jumped headfirst into the gym’s many offerings. She started taking classes and engrained herself into the vibrant Snap Fitness community. When the weight loss challenge was initially advertised she had the confidence to do it. Me? Not so much.

Sidney initially texted me this graphic and asked if I would do the challenge with her.

Remember, I was the one who lost weight on my own terms. Why did I need some fancy program to shed pounds? You just eat less, right? Well, to be honest, I was really dragging my feet because I was a little intimidated. I didn’t want to sign up and fail. But because of Sidney’s encouragement and the structure of the challenge, I decided to give it a shot.

The challenge was six weeks long and ran from Oct. 5 – Nov. 16. The goal was to get in shape for the holidays. That was something I could get behind. Overseeing the challenge was Christine Avery, the owner of Snap Fitness and a good friend of Sidney’s. Participants would weigh in with Christine each week with body fat measurements taking place every other week. My designated weigh in time with Christine was every Monday at 4:45 a.m.

This is Christine and she is the owner at the Snap Fitness at Argonne and Montgomery. She helped me tremendously during the Weight Loss Challenge.

That first day of the challenge I tipped the scale at 189.2 pounds. I asked Christine what I needed to cut out to be successful. She explained that my progress wouldn’t just depend on what I didn’t do but also what I did do. Sure, she told me to stop drinking soda and to limit my ice cream intake but it was more about what she suggested I add to my diet. Eating more protein, drinking more water, and consuming well-balanced meals were all pointers she gave me.

This was me on Oct. 5, 2020–the first day of the challenge. I tipped the scale at 189.2 pounds.

Using Christine’s advice and Sidney’s cooking, I decided to give the weight loss challenge my best effort. At home, we traded in our large plates for medium-sized plates as Sid made some delicious, yet nutritious, meals. Lean meats, salads, and vegetables were served on a nightly basis. I would leave the dinner table feeling good about how I ate.

A look at some of what I would eat. For breakfast I would have a protein bar and shake. For lunch I might have scrambled eggs or a pork chop and banana.

Early in the morning I would do my part at the gym. I would then come home and start drinking water. I learned that protein bars and protein shakes really don’t taste that bad. Everything seemed to come together. For me, it was like a formula. And, with this particular formula, I was seeing results. At my weekly weigh ins, the pounds were coming off.

I became pretty good friends with my water bottle during the Weight Loss Challenge.

In the past I had used a different formula that achieved results but at a slower and unhealthier rate. This time around I wasn’t starving myself on personal pizzas or soup. Instead of simply denying my body, I was supplying it too.

A photo on the first day of the challenge and a photo the day after the challenge ended.

When I would step on the scale for my weekly weigh-ins I would lose anywhere between 3-5 pounds. I had initially set a goal to lose 10 pounds but by the second week I had adjusted it. Although the challenge was never easy, I felt like I had momentum on my side. The positive weigh-ins helped me to stay the course for the next week.

Every week during the challenge I would see progress.

At my final weigh-in last Sunday, I crossed my fingers that I would meet my goal of 20 pounds. As I stepped on the scale I held my breath as the digital numbers tabulated…

167.6.

This was my “after” photo. I tipped the scale at 176.6.

I lost 21.6 pounds over the course of the six-week weight loss challenge. Additionally, I decreased my body fat by 5% and shed three inches off my waist. But that was only half of the success story. Sidney also lost double digit poundage and cut 5% body fat and three inches off her waist (that’s right, we lost the same body fat and inches off our waists). We went in for that final weigh-in together on Sunday afternoon and it was pretty sweet.

Sloan went with us to the gym for our weigh-in on Sunday. Christine let her step on the scale registering a weight of 32.4 pounds.

What made it so sweet, you ask? Well, I won the weight loss challenge. Because I shed the most weight out of all the entrants I received a $50 gift card to a popular Spokane restaurant, a Snap Fitness sweatshirt, protein powder, and a month of free membership.

I won some pretty great prizes! Thanks, Christine!

But that paled in comparison to what Sid and I accomplished as a team. We walked out of the gym a combined 30+ pounds lighter. We committed to doing something together and stuck with it the whole six weeks. Believe me, it wasn’t easy. There would be times when we would both get hungry and snap at each other. However, it was all part of the journey. We got through it with words of encouragement and shared fantasies of the favorite foods we would eat once the diet ended.

Thanks to my wife and Christine, I had the motivation to win the challenge.

And now the diet has, in fact, ended. But while the challenge is a thing of the past, the lessons learned are not. The key to losing weight isn’t simply just eating less. Listening to someone who is knowledgeable about weight loss is helpful. Most importantly, completing such an endeavor is so much more rewarding when you get to do it with your wife. Thank you Sidney and Christine for getting me through this! Don’t Blink.

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