“The Biggest Loser contest changed everything about the way I eat and the results were phenomenal,” said Donna Smith of Lusby. The 44-year-old mother of two said the hospital’s weight loss program started her on a healthy eating and exercise routine that she has kept up.
“I feel so positive and am excited about the future,” said Smith, who lost 15.1 pounds and 2.2 percent body as a result of the 12-week weight loss challenge that is co-sponsored by Calvert Memorial Hospital and World Gym four times per year at the fitness center’s Owings and Prince Frederick locations.
The program consists of weekly weigh-ins and provides participants with nutrition and exercise information. They also receive an initial and final body composition measurement, a free copy of The Culprit and the Cure and three months’ access to Vitabot online meal planning and nutritional analysis. The winner, who is determined by total weight and body fat loss along with participation in weekly weigh-ins, receives a Total Wellness Package that includes a one-year World Gym membership, four consultations with a registered dietitian and four personal trainer sessions.
“It was the best thing in the world for me when I read about the Biggest Loser contest,” she said. “I signed up the same day with a girlfriend. I thought it would be a fun way to start taking care of myself.”
“The weekly weigh-ins really helped me focus on my goal to get my (cholesterol and A1C) numbers under control,” said Smith who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at 34. “It didn’t feel competitive. It was more like a support system.”
Her lab work showed the program was working – her triglycerides went from over 600 to 125, her A1C level was less than 7 and her good HDL was up and her bad LDL was down. “I’ve also been able to reduce the number of insulin injections I have to take,” she added. “I sleep a whole lot better because I’m not getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.”
She replaced processed grains with quinoa and brown rice, limits her fruit servings and eats a lot more vegetables, especially spinach. “I tell myself if I don’t absolutely love it then it’s not worth the calories.”
Today, she gets together with a small group to do circuit training twice a week and then she goes to gym three more days on her own. “Once a week, I left weights and the other days it’s an hour on the treadmill,” she said. “My 16-year-old daughter is my exercise buddy and my husband has even started taking walks with me through our neighborhood.”
For Smith, the Biggest Loser was just the beginning. “I tell myself it’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon.” And she definitely plans to keep going.