Money is a Great Motivator!

I debated about whether to blog about this. Don't want to sound vain, or self-absorbed or boastful ... but it is what it is! Truly, I hope to convey a "if I can do it, you can do it" motivation when it comes to taking control of our health and our choices!

Back in February, when the producers of the Biggest Loser TV show came to Oklahoma to screen future contestants, two of my friends came up with a great idea to do their own "biggest loser" contest. So, they sent out a blanket email inviting friends to join them for this contest. They invited us to show up, weigh in and plunk down $100 each.

Then we were to head out the door and try to lose as much weight as we could over the next 13 weeks and meet back to weigh in. The winner would get 70 percent of the pot. Second place would get 20 percent, and the rest would go for a door prize to whomever showed up that day.

A hundred bucks is a lot of money for me to throw around for our family. But I knew that I needed to unload some pounds. And even though I am not particularly competitive, I was in it to win it.

The quick end to the story is ... I WON! By a hair (less than two pounds) ... and under a bit of controversy (reminding me why I loathe competition).

I lost approximately 11 percent of body weight. I would share the numbers of pounds, but I don't want to. I'm not done yet. Goal. Not. Reached.

Here's the picture of me on weigh in day.

Nice, no?

Immediately, I began counting calories. I had never really done this. I am very good at counting Sodium because of Stan's specialized diet (450 mg a meal), but c'mon ... now I really had to pay attention to calories, carbs and fat, like for real? Yes!

About that time, I also found this review from one of my favorite blogs. And set out to incorporate as many of the superfoods as I could ... almonds, spinach, eggs, lentils, oatmeal.

I cut out white food. I always heard you should. And really really loathed refined flour and sugar anyway.

I heard Bob say on the Biggest Loser that pop, even diet pop, produces belly fat. So I gave up Diet Coke and Coke Zero.

I did NOT join or a gym nor did I start running (hate running). I just can't disappear from my family for long periods of time, nor can we afford a gym membership. But I did buy Jillian Michael's 30-Day Shred video, and committed to WALK by myself in the neighborhood or with friends at parks while the kids played. Thank you friends!

I plugged along. Did my Jillian video. Did other exercise videos that I got from the library including the Abs Diet workout, and Bollywood dance workouts (that I loved so much the family got me an entire set of videos for Mother's Day). Walked. And watched calories.

Most mornings, I whipped up delicious spinach smoothies ... inspired by my friend Kevin. A handful of frozen spinach (or other green leafy stuff - including romaine or other salad greens), a frozen half-banana, handful of frozen berries, 8 oz of water and ice. Do NOT knock it til you try it. Seriously. Not bad at all. (Banana is the key.)

Sometimes, I'd also eat one for lunch. I ate lots of raw almonds (lots). And Kashi bars. And oatmeal. I would make sensible dinners for the family and watch my portion control. And I would try not to pout when everyone else ate ice cream or desserts!

Instead of sitting at the computer watching the kids play basketball outside, I played with them. And we played hopscotch. And I practiced the 50 and 100-yard dashes with the kids for their field day. And I would throw in extra squats or reps when doing springtime yard work - bagging leaves, planting flowers, hoeing weeds.

And I did situps and push ups and chest flys with weights and leg lifts and whatever exercise I could think of while watching TV ... 24, Loser, American Idol.

The clothes kept getting looser, and I found myself NOT dreading shorts season (I'll always dread swimsuit season).

I'm writing all of this to say ... if I did it, anyone can do it! :-) I didn't need a gym membership, a trainer or super regimented diet ... or even a treadmill (tho I really want one).

But what I did have were three unbelievably supportive accountability partners who encouraged me. When I might try to swipe a french fry from Grant, or just a little taste of a shake from Giles ... they would scream at me "a thousand dollars Mom. A THOUSAND DOLLARS!" And it worked. Stan was also very encouraging.

The pay out was actually $910! Minus the hundred, the video and all of the almonds!

Oh, the controversy. We were supposed to do the final weigh in wearing the same clothes. I dug out the sweater from the winter clothes bin, and I had already ditched the jeans in a garage sale.

I had another pair of jeans selected. But morning of, my old pair of size SIX j crew jeans that I was saving "just in case I ever got thin enough again" beckoned. I was quite certain they wouldn't fit and didn't try them on one time during the contest. But that morning, they went on ... easily. Since they were heavier jeans than the weigh in jeans, I felt okay about it.

However, at weigh in, I FORGOT to put on the stupid sweater. It went unnoticed until after we got home (Lydia went with me to the weigh in). So, I went back and reweighed with the sweater, and still barely won. And that reminded me why I don't do well with competition. Yucky guilty feeling for second place! And feeling like people might have thought I tried to cheat. All of the contestants did great ... and I wish we all could have won. We did all win though ... we won our health!

But still, there had to be a winner! And now, the cash is gone. We had sold and given away our junky living room furniture in the same garage sale that I sold those baggy weigh-in jeans, so we've been sitting in camp chairs since March. We went today and I plunked down nine Bens for some brand new living room furniture! CASH! We thought about getting that treadmill ... but like the lure of getting outside instead.

That's the story. Money, turns out, is a great motivator! So, start your own contest, just remember to wear the sweater ... and eat your almonds!


  1. Congratulations Dawn!!!!! You are so healthy and cool! :0) love, Keli

  2. CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!!!! You look amazing, and healthy and full of energy!!! So proud of you, funny I thought of that yesterday and wanted to see what had happened.