At the beginning of the year, a few work colleagues and I decided to embark on a well journeyed path...getting our collective fat asses in shape. To provide extra motivation, we each coughed up $200, with the pot going to the people who could lose the a) highest % of body weight and b) the biggest % of body fat.
Since there were some serious leviathans in our group, we had to go with the percentages since it would encourage some "only-slightly-overweight" women to join. And, trust me, enlisting women is a tricky and dangerous task. Unlike guys, you can't go up to a woman and say, "hey, we're starting a contest to see who can lose the most weight, you interested?" And when the person posing that question is 300+ pounds, you're basically telling the woman, "I not only think you're fat, but you're SO enormous that you can compete with what *I* have to lose."
Anyway, we managed to get six guys and two girls involved, putting the pot at a sweet $1600. We also decided to have a midway "tax incentive" point on April 15th so that those getting off to quick starts would be rewarded. At the recommendation of a co-worker, I also decided to have a per-pound pledge drive for UNICEF to benefit the tsunami victims. People could either make a flat donation or offer a certain amount for each pound I lost. This way I could give myself an extra incentive by doing it for a good cause.
I came out of the gate fast, using the often-heard-of-but-rarely-used "eat less, exercise more" weight loss method. Except, as in most cases, the exercise never came to the level of intensity I had hoped. Regardless, the eating less was paying off and the results were showing and, I think, began to psyche out the rest of the group. Some people who had gotten off to slow starts quickly bacame jaded and started to give up. And one of the early favorites, a guy who had lost 70+ pounds a few years ago, wound up going to London on business. And anyone who's been on a business trip knows that, faced with eating only restaurant food, losing weight is near impossible. Come April, I took both the weight and body fat prize money easily. I also raised $600 bucks, which I was also able to get Dow Jones to match (via their previously existing plan).
Chalk up $1,200 for UNICEF.
Then lethargy set in. I spent most of the next few months coasting. Dieting, but cheating more than I should have. Exercising, but barely. Meanwhile James, someone I work closely with, went into overdrive. As I found out later, he began to go on a serious diet, even going vegetarian for a month. I saw him losing weight, but I didn't know how much.
Come the night before the final weigh in, I consulted a co-worker who used to wrestle in high school. Surely, he could offer suggestions on how to "make weight". His suggestion: lose all that water I've been drinking. Aside from some fasting, I now had to figuratively squeeze my body like a wet rag. So the next few trips in my car I made with the heat on full blast...with 90 degree temperatures outside. I ran a hot shower and spit frequently. Some other tips he recommended which I didn't do were sleeping in a nylon sweatsuit (who the hell keeps one of THOSE around?...although I did have some old parachute pants) and bringing my exercise bike into the bathroom, running a hot shower and exercising while in a sauna atmosphere. I did, however, decide on taking Ex-Lax the night before...usually coffee works fine as my morning laxative, but I couldn't risk the extra few ounces I would have to consume.
So the end result? I lost 41.2 pounds in six months. But I finished second in the weight loss percentage category...James had played tortoise to my hare and dropped 48 pounds. Considering he weighed less than me at the beginning, he took it easily and walked out with a thousand bucks. But all was not lost for me...I managed to take the body fat % portion. Apparently, even though I hardly exercised, James must have exercised less. So I still won 400 some bucks. Couple that with the $150 I won at the halfway point and I would up with almost 600 bucks. And, when it's all collected, I'll have pulled in an additional $200+ for UNICEF. AND I still lost 41 freaking pounds! Success across the board!