How my life has changed by reaching for my goals
These last two years, and especially these last few months, have been filled with change and great potential all because I decided to change my lifestyle and the direction my life was heading. A little over two years ago I was overweight, out of shape and very unhealthy. My personal and professional life was in shambles and neither was heading in a direction which I was happy about. So I made a decision to lose weight, get in shape and change the way I was living my life. I also promised myself that I would give back even more to my community as well as commit to improving the lives of as many people as I possibly can.
The real changes in my life started shortly after I began writing this blog. I had already lost over 75 pounds when I first started "I AM AN OVER EATER!!,"and it was only a few weeks later that I created The Chippewa Valley Challenge. My life really started making strides in a new direction.
After the 2012 Challenge started, we received numerous emails, posts and texts from people in need of help and advice. Many also expressed their gratitude for the Challenge and told us how it was helping them change their lives. It was at this point I realized that I was getting closer to achieving my goal of helping people achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
My goal for the 2013 Challenge was to double the number of participants we had in 2012, which was 224. On the first day of registration, we had 400 slots filled and still had 2 more days for people to register. After making a few phones calls we increased our numbers to 500 and by noon the following day we had hit that mark. We finally had to cut off registrations at 525 participants! We learned quickly that people not only wanted to lose with, but they wanted to change their lives and live a healthier lifestyle. I was now playing a role in helping these people reach their goals.
During the 2013 Challenge, it seemed like the more I kept chasing my dreams the more life kept helping me reach them. I was doing more public speaking which I love to do, talking about topics such as inspiration and motivation. And the Challenge had become the largest non-online weight loss competition in the country. During this time, I started working on a project that would be completely different for our city and for Western Wisconsin. The Biggest Loser RunWalk is a race series that encourages people of all athletic abilities to participate. Their motto is "Compete or Just Complete!" I thought this would be something that we could all benefit from. I also saw a connection with the Challenge where we encourage people to change their lifestyles instead of just "dieting," and they can chose to compete to win the Challenge or simply reach their goals.
In July of this year, the Challenge wrapped up with over 50 participants making it all the way to the finals. Seven of these participants had lost over 30% of their starting body weight! Toward the end of July, we were finally able to announce that The Biggest Loser RunWalk was coming to Eau Claire! From the first day we opened up registration, the event took off. My personal goal was to have 1,500 people sign up for the race. It wasn't long before that number was blown out of the water. We had to rethink our goal. Our new goal was 3,000 participants. After a lot of hard work and promotions, the Eau Claire Biggest Loser RunWalk became the BIGGEST event ever held in the series with 3,046 people taking part on October 20.
As you may have noticed by now, incredible things can happen while you are pursing your dreams. On top of all the other exciting things happening in my life this past year, I also competed in three different physique and bodybuilding shows, bringing home four trophies in the process. For me, competing has nothing to do with the trophies; it is all about keeping myself motivated to continue to improve my life.
Another passion and goal I have is giving back to the community by volunteering. As a member of the Eau Claire Children's Theater Board of Directors, there are so many things we need to do to help out the theater. I firmly believe that we all need to give back to our community, and a great place to start is with a not for profit organization.
Recently I was chosen by WQOW News 18 as the recipient of the Jefferson Award. I thank all of those people who wrote to WQOW and nominated me for this prestigious award. The one person in particular who I need to thank, for not only nominating me for the Jefferson Award but for so many other things, is my best friend and partner, Jennifer Bailey. Jen helped me with every aspect of my lifestyle change and is also a major contributor to not only the blog but The Chippewa Valley Challenge. It has been amazing to be able to share my life with someone who has the same goals and drive as I do. Thank you Jen!
And now on to what the future is looking like! Because of the success of this year's Challenge, we are expanding to more cities, more clubs and opening up registration to 1,000 people. We are also upping the ante! In addition to other amazing prizes, this year's Champion will win a lease on a 2014 Ford Focus!
In 2014, we will be focusing on the education and prevention of childhood obesity. This has become an epidemic in our country and it doesn't seem to be getting any better. So if we can help educate adults on the benefits of eating healthier and exercising, making it a part of their lives at an early age, and being a role model, we believe we can make a difference in the lives of children in the Chippewa Valley and Western Wisconsin.
Now, let's get back to The Biggest Loser RunWalk. After helping to make the Eau Claire RunWalk the biggest event they have had to date and making friends with the staff and ownership, I have been given another big opportunity to help even more people, not just in Wisconsin but across America. The Biggest Loser RunWalk organization has offered me a once in a lifetime opportunity that I really can't pass up.
So 2014 will be bringing even more changes and challenges to my life and I look forward to each and every one of them because I am now in pursuit of my goals and dreams. Don't stop believing in your dreams. Don't stop setting goals. And above all else...NEVER GIVE UP!