WebMD Fitness Rx Challenge: Final Leg

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The goal is so close, Jeff and Stefanee can almost taste it — and it’s going to taste a lot better than those doughnuts they’ve been forgoing. Just two more months remain in our yearlong WebMD Fitness Rx Challenge, and Jeff Kibler and Stefanee Williams are working harder than ever. The numbers on the scale are dropping, their workouts are getting tougher as they get fitter, and their bodies are looking buffer by the day. Let’s check in on their progress.

A Shrinking Waistline

Jeff Kibler

Age: 53

Weight: 188 lbs.

Goal: 170 lbs.

Jeff’s spent several months teetering between the low and mid-190s — tightening his muscles and loosening his clothes with his workout devotion, but struggling to rack up results on the scale. But this month, he waves goodbye to the 190s plateau, weighing in at 188.

“It feels great!” he says. “I’ve really lost a lot this time, and I’ve shrunk. All my clothes are loose. I haven’t bought anything new, because I thought I’d wait until I’m completely done with the Challenge. But the other day I put on a pair of my partner’s pants by mistake. I was worried because they were a little snug, but then I realized that they were 32-inch pants. I haven’t worn a 32 since I don’t remember when.”

How did Jeff beat the plateau? He already “shops the perimeter” at the grocery store — you’ll usually find healthy items, like fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods in the outer aisles and most processed, less-healthy foods in the center. But he needed some help with portion management.

“I gave Jeff precise guidelines about what quantities to eat, and after following them for three weeks, we finally broke that 190 mark,” says trainer Michael Lin. “For example, his carb portion for a single meal shouldn’t be bigger than half his fist. Meat should be the size of his palm or smaller, while vegetable portions can be much bigger — as long as there isn’t too much in the way of toppings or dressing.”

Meanwhile, Jeff’s hard at work slashing the fat content in his meals. “Because of my family history of heart disease, I’m very conscious of keeping my cholesterol under control,” he says. Nutritionist Kathleen Zelman has urged him to eat more jicama, , and legumes — foods with heart-healthy soluble fiber that help keep cholesterol low and fill you up at the same time.

Find out Jeff’scurrent vital stats — weight loss, inches lost, cholesterol levels, and more.

Weight-Loss Merry-Go-Round

Stefanee Williams

Age: 31

Weight: 167 lbs.

Goal: 160 lbs.

January was a tough month for Stefanee. Her toddler son went through a merry-go-round of , bronchitis, and ear infections, and overwhelmed by the regular trips to the doctor and one nerve-racking jaunt to the emergency room, she confesses she missed her workouts three weeks in a row.

She’d just gotten back on the workout track when temptation reared its ugly head — in the form of gourmet cookies. “We had training for my job, and there was free food everywhere,” she says. “I’m very picky about cookies, and these were wonderful. I fell for it!”

How did the cookie crumble? After the two-week training, Stefanee was horrified to see she’d gained two to three pounds. That shock spurred her back into action. “Once you see the scale going up, it’s just a slippery slope, and I was trying not to head the opposite way.”

Now that her job training is over, she has found the discipline to jump back into her regular eating routine, with oatmeal and green tea in the morning and healthy snacks, such as the 90-calorie Quaker granola bites that she keeps on hand at work. After less than a week back in the saddle, she’d pared the new pounds off — and is now just 7 pounds from her goal.

Because Stefanee has a tendency toward high cholesterol, she’s seeking every chance to pack her meals with heart-healthy foods, especially ones high in fiber, which was AWOL from her diet before. Zelman has helped her broaden her fiber horizons, with legumes, nuts, whole grains, and other fiber sources, in addition to the oatmeal that has become a staple. She’s also pushing Stefanee to include low-fat protein with every meal to help keep hunger at bay.

Building on her gym workouts, Stefanee’s pushing herself to add more exercise — and more energy — to her day with workout breaks at the office. “If I’m feeling lethargic, I’ll take a break and run up and down some stairs, and come back to my office huffing and puffing,” she says. “The pressure is on, because this thing is almost over and I don’t want to let the WebMD community down!”

See Stefanee’s current vital stats — weight loss, inches lost, cholesterol levels, and more.

Check up on the progress of the WebMD Fitness Rx challengers. Read Jeff’s blog and Stefanee’s blog.