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WebMD Fitness Rx Challenge: The Finish Line

In one year, our two participants shaped up, shed 63 pounds, and transformed their lives.
By
WebMD the Magazine - Feature

The finish line -- at last. Jeff Kibler and Stefanee Williams have been on a yearlong marathon to health and fitness, under the watchful eyes of WebMD Chief Medical Editor Michael Smith, MD, nutritionist Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD, and trainer Michael Lin and his staff.

Before you look to see if they hit their goals, let's pause for a moment to consider their post-Challenge challenge. How will they take what they've learned and fly solo? They're both determined to make these healthy lifestyle changes last a lifetime. What can they do to make sure that happens -- and how can you learn from them?

Develop some perspective, says Zelman. "If you're doing your best and still don't like what you see on the scale, think about other, less obvious signs of progress to keep yourself going: Are you more energetic? Can you bend over and tie your shoes effortlessly? Can you carry your child or grandchild farther?"

Second, hold yourself accountable. "Once you've set that realistic goal, write it down," says Lin. "If you don't have specific goals, you're working aimlessly, and I'll guarantee you won't get where you want to go."

Third, keep your changes small. If you try to radically overhaul your life by vowing to go to the gym for an hour every day or never to eat chocolate again, you won't stay with it. "Jeff and Stefanee identified a series of small behavior changes and stuck to them. The key to their success was perseverance," Zelman says.

"It's easy to start a weight loss program. The challenge is keeping it up. And Stefanee and Jeff did a great job at this," agrees Smith. "They didn't let the struggles get them down. That's a real-life weight loss success!"

Jeff's Goal: Lose Weight, Gain Energy

Jeff Kibler

Age: 53

Starting Weight: 210 lbs.

Final Weight: 178 lbs.

Jeff, who started at 210 pounds, didn't quite reach his original goal of 170. But partway into the Challenge, he began to wonder if 170 might be too low -- if he'd lose muscle mass rather than fat trying to get there. His final Challenge weigh-in found Jeff at 178 on May 25, with his eyes on a new prize: staying in the 175 to 179 range. "If I just stay in the high 170s, I'll be thrilled. I know I can do it. My measurements are all looking pretty good, too."

A lot of things about Jeff's life are looking different these days: his dinner plate, his kitchen cabinets, and his commute to work. "There's a lot less food on my plate now, and I'm eating more vegetables," he says. "And I just feel better overall. I have more energy. It's easier to get around and do anything. I'm in the midst of moving out of one house and renovating a new house, and I still have the energy to do that after working a long day and walking almost three miles to and from work. I didn't realize how lethargic I had become!"

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