Last year, Frederick Memorial Hospital teamed up with the Frederick Gazette to present the Healthy Challenge, a 12-week competition to see which of five Frederick County women could make the most progress in her weight loss journey.
To set all five participants up for success, they each joined the Weight Management program at the FMH Wellness Center. The group committed to a nutritionally-complete, medically monitored liquid diet, nutrition counseling, and at least two workouts per week.
“I thought ‘I can either run from this opportunity or I can embrace it,’” reflects participant Jeannie Suriano. “I thought, ‘it’s 12 weeks, I can do this for 12 weeks.'”
By the end of the competition in December 2011, Jeannie had lost 48 pounds – nearly 23% of her starting body weight. One year later, she’s completed seven 5K runs and she and two of her fellow challenge participants are training for their first triathlon.
Top to bottom: Before and after photos showing proof of the great changes Theo, Jeannie and Gloria experienced through the Healthy Challenge.
“You’ve got the energy now to go do some exercise,” says Gloria Feldser, who lost 31 pounds and has maintained that weight loss for the past year. “Before, you’d get the weight back on and just drop in a chair, now you’ve got the incentives to get out there and do it, you’ve got the physical and mental strength to get out and do it, and you’ve got someone encouraging you who knows what you’re going through.”
That encouragement continues to come from Exercise Specialist and fitness instructor Kim Burdette.
“Kim emails us, ‘hey, you coming in today? What’s going on? We miss you guys’,” says Theo King. Theo lost 40 pounds during the challenge and has kept it off. “She keeps us all involved. We do it to each other, but if we didn’t have a center point who shows up every day and does it with us, we would have dispersed.”
Jeannie, Gloria and Theo agree Kim’s support has been a key factor in their success as a group.
“That first day we were all at the same level, none of us had been exercising regularly,” Jeannie says. “And she brought us in and showed us how to do things at our level. And we were not intimidated, not whatsoever, to be in her class. Before I came I was like ‘oh my god, I haven’t done an exercise class in who knows how long’, and I was so scared and then within five minutes you were comfortable because she would show you – ‘you can do it like this, or you can do it like this, if you can’t do either of these, just walk’.”
“I’ve been to so many classes where I’d start out and I could never keep up and I felt so out of place, or they would give you something to do and then let you hang,” Gloria adds. “You were kind of on your own.”
This trio of women with weight loss success stories isn’t alone any more. They have each other, their fitness instructor, and the continued support of the team at the Wellness Center.
Are you ready to start your weight loss journey? The behaviorists, exercise specialists, dieticians and nurse practitioners at the FMH Wellness Center are ready to help. The program includes a wide range of options to fit your lifestyle and goals.
“I never saw my weight as hindering me, but now I’m running 5Ks, swimming — who would have thought I would have done a spin class?” Jeannie laughs. “If you just get started, you get to a point where you start feeling so freaking good because you’ve gotten healthier, then it’s a little addictive. It’s hard to give it up; I can’t imagine not exercising now. I don’t always enjoy it, but I feel so good.”