By ANGIE THORNE, Guardian staff writerNovember 7, 2008
It's time to check in on the spouses of the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk's 46th Engineer Combat Battalion as they continue their Biggest Loser journey. They have been sweating their way toward smaller sizes since Aug. 12. In the nearly three months since they set their weight loss goals, they have established workout routines and given up burgers, fries and a plethora of other yummy items to lose weight, be healthy and knock their husbands' socks off when they redeploy.
According to the spouses, progress has been made, but it has been slow and arduous. This is reality, not television. Controlled environments where contestants work out all day instead of work, don't have to help kids with homework, have their meals worked out to the last calorie and don't have to deal with any stress or distractions aren't an option. Bob and Jillian, the personal trainers on the television show, aren't around to hound these contestants every second of every day to eat the right foods or do the exercise required to lose weight.
These ladies have had to do it on their own. They support one another, but when it's all said and done, it's up to the individual to make the life change that will see the pounds melt off. They work toward their goals while living with the stress of deployments, single parenting and loneliness -- challenges that would be enough to make most women reach for that second bon bon or dive into a quart of Ben and Jerry's ice cream.
"It has been pretty hard. I started off jogging at the beginning, but the humidity was killing me, so I slowed down to speed walking and doing intermittent workouts instead," said Joycelyn McIlquham, Alpha Company Family Readiness Group member. "I've probably lost about nine pounds and have three more pounds to go before I get to my goal. The biggest thing I've done is switched to healthier food in smaller portions. It has been hard to cut back on how much I've been eating, but I've done it. I think for me, cardio is the key to losing the last of my pregnancy weight," said McIlquham.
Jennifer Williams, McIlquham's Alpha Company teammate, has also worked hard and had success. "I go to the gym and work out about one and a half hours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I do both cardio and weights. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I walk in my neighborhood. I've lost about eight pounds, which has helped my asthma and I'm more energetic," said Williams.
The trick now is maintaining the weight they have already lost in the face of the holiday season, which kicked off Friday with Halloween and all its inevitable treats. Even better than maintaining their current weight is the aim to continuing losing pounds - a task that may be even harder as the spouses wind their way through the Thanksgiving and Christmas season parties and Family gatherings.
Most of the spouses say they don't want to gain back what they have worked so hard to lose. "It will be kind of hard to get through the holidays, but I think I can do it because I've done a calorie journal to keep track of what I eat and I use my 100 calorie snacks to help me," said Williams.
McIlquham doesn't think the holidays will be a problem. "I just have to keep doing what I'm doing," she said. The spouses plan to continue the Biggest Loser competition until the first of the year.