Tuesday, April 19, 2011

WHO Channel 13 News Evening Broadcast

The second airing at 6:00 p.m. this evening included my questions and answers... It was focused more on the Whip It 180 Fitness Challenge and the at-home aspect of getting healthy!!

Click here to view the video on WHO's website!

Rebecca's 4 Week Recap

As we drew to a close on week three, I got to meet with all of the contestants and check in with them – they have all come so far and I wanted them to see just how great they are doing. The contestants Wellmark chose for me to work with are truly giving their all! Now for the stats! In these few weeks, I must give props to everyone because they all have surpassed the 1 percent a week goals I set for them in the beginning! 

Based solely on inches lost Katie Borton is our top chica with a total loss of 12.5 inches!! These last couple of weeks have been up and down for this busy grad student! She got a new job and hit some food walls. With the support of her loving husband and the helping hand of our grocery store tour I think she is on track to KRUSHing her goals five pounds at a time. Did I mention she also is down 15.2 pounds?!  That’s 5.15 percent and counting. Expect GREAT things from this beautiful lady!

Based on total weight loss (as you’ve seen on “The Biggest Loser”) Angela Nelson is our top girlie at 6.29 percent, narrowly beating Russ (see more about his progress below).

Angela Nelson has hit the ground literally jogging down 14.4 pounds and 8.75 inches! I think this DMU student has discovered that working out and getting fit are things she and her husband can do together! I see amazing strength and determination in Angela and her future patients will benefit from her new-found knowledge. She has figured out meals but is looking forward to getting tips on quick snacks and lunches she can take with her before and after school! 

Taking all of the finalists on grocery tours has been my primary goal. Nutrition plays a huge part in the training regimen and getting all the participants to understand what foods they should be choosing is key.

Russ Gibson and I met later in the week because he was just getting back from a week down south!! Dealing with temptations like pecan pie and all the delicious fair Georgia and South Carolina had to offer. I am most proud he emerged from his midpoint mini-vacation relatively unscathed! This is a true testament to his sheer dedication to be there for the long haul for his family!  He is down 15.8 pounds the leader in pounds, which is 6.2 percent of his body and 11.75 inches off!  This savvy businessman has taken a great turn for healthy living and is going to be someone to time in that Grand Blue Mile!

Erin Feingold is such a beast … (meant in the best way possible)! This woman now rides her bike into and back to Altoona from their home in Bondurant to pick up her 3-year-old daughter Ellie! Running is not her strong suit because of knee and foot issues, so she is getting that “burn in” by biking he ‘lil heart out! Can anyone say RAGBRAI for this lady? I definitely know I want to follow her lead! But when we met this Saturday she was very worried about completion of the Grand Blue Mile. I assured her that her 11.5 inches lost and 15.2-pound loss (total percentage of weight loss is 4.99 percent) is going to inspire MANY others to push through injuries and prove that ANYHTING is possible!

Meeting Brad Feingold day one I knew there was work to be done. I know you may be saying to yourself “Yes Rebecca, these people are looking to lose some weight,” but for this misunderstood man it has been SO MUCH MORE!! Over the last couple weeks Brad and I have exchanged texts and e-mails about icing, exercising and food questions. But, most importantly, figuring out why he got where he is. Seeing him this Saturday and the loving look he had in his eyes while interviewing with his wife Erin was real food for my soul! He was regaining purpose. You could see it not only in his 10.4 pounds lost, 4.29 percent, and the 5 inches that’s gone, but he now has become a real part of his own existence. Going grocery shopping with him and his family last night was a good time. We found fruit snacks for his daughter Ellie and healthy versions of a pop tart for him.  He now realizes that making time for this new part of his life can be all right and I just can’t wait to see how far he pushes through his “old normal” to become the man he has stopped himself from being for so long!

Last but definitely not least is my little Rachel Tallman! When I first met Rachel she was the quieter of the two girls. She’s not a shrinking violet, but it wasn’t until we were in the oatmeal and cereal aisle that she really opened up!! Getting her on her own and seeing what really made this beautiful young woman tick was the best thing for our relationship!  I think she was able to tell me what scared her about going down this “healthy food journey” and how she just wanted to be a normal 19-year-old college student. This is a comment I hear A LOT! But the real question is … WHAT IS NORMAL? Why would you want to be anyone else’s normal? You can make time for working out and planning delicious food and sit and play video games with your friends! It NEVER has to be all or nothing. YOU are your own normal!

Rachel was worried at first about having “only” (her words) lost 8 pounds, which is 3.2 percent. Then she discovered that equated to 9 inches shed from her beautiful strong and (sore) new body! Rachel realized becoming healthy is a marathon and if she keeps up this fantastic pace she will hit the goals she wants and then some! I love that she is trying new sports like tennis (even if she swings a racket like a bat) and helping her friends around her get active! 

With (technically) one more week of the Whip It 180 Fitness Challenge, I have high-hopes for where ALL of these contestants are going to end up!

I feel very blessed to be a part of the changes they people are experiencing! And remember to ANY and EVERYONE out there … you can do WHATEVER you set your mind to! And most importantly, “be the change you wish to see in the world.”

WHO Channel 13 News Article

WHIP IT: Former Biggest Loser contestant shows central Iowans how to get into shape at home

WHIP IT: Former Biggest Loser contestant shows central Iowans how to get into shape at home


NBC's reality hit, The Biggest Loser, continues to inspire viewers each week as the contestants step on the scale. Des Moines native Rebecca Meyer lost half her body weight on the show in 2009, taking home the $100,000 at home prize. Now, she's paying it forward by whipping others into shape.
Meyer weighed in at 279 pounds when she started at the ranch. She shed 139.5 pounds before the live finale. Now, she says, "I don't weigh 140 pounds anymore. I'm not going to tell you how much I do weigh, but I don't weight 140 pounds anymore."

Meyer says she's settled into a healthy weight and trying to help others do the same. She's a certified personal trainer and motivational speaker. She's currently working with Wellmark's Whip It 180 Fitness Challenge. She's training a group of finalists to run next week's Grand Blue Mile using the knowledge she gained on The Biggest Loser.

She says, "I literally show these people how to do it at home, how to take some of the wisdom, and some of the things I learned and just apply it to their lives."

Angela Nelson is one of the finalists Meyer is whipping into shape. She says, "I'm a student at Des Moines University in the Physician Assistant program." Nelson says she packed on the pounds when she started school and wants to get healthy for her future family and career. She says, "I've taken a close look at myself and realized I kind of need to practice what I preach to my patients."

Nelson says she regularly does Meyer's strength training moves and pounds the pavement for cardio. Nelson also wears a Body Bugg, like The Biggest Loser contestants. Nelson says, "It kind of tells you how many calories you're burning every day."

The program also stresses nutrition. All the finalists track what they eat in a food journal. Nelson says, "Just really taking the time to write down and measure everything you're eating."

Meyer says these are all things you can do at home. And, she's living proof it works.

WHO Channel 13 News Morning Broadcast

The first airing at 6:00 and 6:30 a.m. this morning didn't include any of my questions and answers. It was definitely focused on Rebecca and what she's been up to since being on the Biggest Loser 2 years ago!

Click here to view the video on WHO's website!

Updated Videos!

Don't forget to follow all 4 finalists' progress at the Wellmark BCBS Facebook page here and the Whip It 180 Fitness Challenge website here [the updated at-home videos are now posted]!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Des Moines Register Article

'Biggest Loser' contestant helps Iowans lose weight    

Angela Nelson, right, gets a pat on the back from Rebecca Meyer, left, after a one-mile run on Saturday. Nelson will participate in the Grand Blue Mile race as one of the Whip It 180 finalists.
Angela Nelson, right, gets a pat on the back from Rebecca Meyer, left, after a one-mile run on Saturday. Nelson will participate in the Grand Blue Mile race as one of the Whip It 180 finalists. / BILL NEIBERGALL/THE REGISTER

Angela Nelson, left, stretches out with Rebecca Meyer, right, near Nelson's Des Moines home before running a mile last Saturday.  Meyer, at-home winner of the reality TV show  “Biggest Loser, “ is helping train and advise  Nelson, a finalist in the Whip It 180 Fitness Challenge.\uFEFF 
Angela Nelson, left, stretches out with Rebecca Meyer, right, near Nelson's Des Moines home before running a mile last Saturday. Meyer, at-home winner of the reality TV show “Biggest Loser, “ is helping train and advise Nelson, a finalist in the Whip It 180 Fitness Challenge. / BILL NEIBERGALL/THE REGISTER

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield were looking for some central Iowans willing to change their own lives for the healthier - and someone to help them do it.

Wendy Schmidt, a senior communications consultant at Wellmark, says the idea came from the company's commitment to making Iowa a healthier place to live. Brainstorming sessions led them to debut the five-week Whip It 180 Fitness Challenge. It also led them to Des Moines' Rebecca Meyer, 27, a "Biggest Loser" season eight at-home winner. "Rebecca has a compelling story, credibility and personality. This is an at-home program by design. And Rebecca lost just as much weight at home as she did while at the 'Biggest Loser' ranch," making her relatable to the contestants, Schmidt says.

A couple of years and 140 pounds ago, Rebecca Meyer was a part-time nanny and "kind of going to school."

But after shedding those extra pounds as part of the reality show, Meyer has found purpose and a career she loves in real reality: helping others change their lives from fat to fit as an International Sports and Conditioning Association certified personal trainer.

The idea behind Whip It 180, Schmidt says, was to make it a "conversation starter." And it started a big one. The challenge received more than 1,000 entries (which were narrowed down to three semi-finalists in each of four categories - male, female, couple and family) and 7,000 people logged on to vote for the challenge finalists.

The finalists are:
- Erin, 33, and Brad, 38, Feingold of Bondurant; Erin, teacher librarian; Brad, videographer
- Angela Nelson, 25, of Des Moines; physician assistant student
- Russ Gibson, 52, of Dallas Center; auto parts executive
- Katie Borton, 25, of Des Moines and Rachel Tallman, 19, of Altoona (best friends); Katie, graduate student; Rachel, college student

The goal was to set this handful of contestants on the road to wellness and to running the April 26 Grand Blue Mile, a street race created in 2010 by Wellmark and the Drake Relays. The race has three divisions - invitational, competitive (with age divisions) and recreational. Whip It contestants will be running with Meyer in the recreational division.

The finalists began training with Meyer on March 21 and received everything needed to train at home for five weeks. "I met with each of the finalists to assess their fitness and delivered their at-home workout equipment, new shoes and a BodyBugg (a personalized electronic calorie management system)," Meyer says.

Since then, Meyer has been in regular touch with the contestants via phone, email and text. "Some of them I talk to almost every day and some are more ready to do it all on their own."

Meyer sees this as a way to "pay it forward," she says - using her expertise to help others reclaim their health and their lives. "The program is designed for wellness, and these people are just beginning their journey."

Whip It 180 Progress Report
We checked in with the Whip It 180 finalists last week (about two and a half weeks into their journey). Go to
www.whipit180.com to follow their blogs, find information about the Grand Blue Mile and how to do an at-home version of the program.

- Katie Borton:
Katie was down 12 pounds on her way to a weight-loss goal of 120 pounds. Despite a crazy schedule of student teaching, job-hunting, grad school and running a college ministry, she says the program is going well. “The hardest part is just juggling time, fitting in an hour workout six days a week. But I am learning that I deserve to make time for myself.” Katie’s fondest hope is to become a runner. “I am very strong, but the cardio part is hard for me. And I want simple things, like to be able to hike with my husband. I’m just tired of limitations.”

- Rachel Tallman:
Ten pounds lighter than when she started, Rachel says meeting her program commitments is a struggle. “It’s been really hard — a complete and utter life change. I’m a student and a comfort-food person — I’ve lived on pizza and mac ’n’ cheese.” But, she says, she has been surprised at the enthusiastic support and participation of her friends and family. “It’s been amazing,” Rachel says. “I’m a picky eater, but I’m starting to enjoy the healthier foods and my family are good sports and are eating it, too.”

- Russ Gibson:
At the three-week mark, Russ had dropped 26 pounds and is “over the moon” about the whole process. “I am 100 percent confident and there’s no turning back. I hate to sound like a commercial but ...,” he says, waxing ecstatically about the changes in him. “Ask my wife. She’ll tell you I’m in a better mood. I can touch my toes! And I bought two new belts, but they’re already on the last notch!” Russ relies on his BodyBugg to keep him on the straight and narrow and credits it with helping him succeed. “I call it my electronic conscience.”

- Erin and Brad Feingold:
Erin says it’s “going really well” for both of them. “At the beginning I had some knee problems but they are straightening out,” she says. The couple sometimes struggles fitting workouts into busy lives and parenthood, sometimes having to take turns hitting the gym. But, Erin says, “the eating part of the program is going great. We’re eating a lot of things we’ve never had. Like, we didn’t eat tomatoes; now we eat them on everything!” Each Feingold dropped 13 pounds in the first two weeks. They are committed to the program beyond the five weeks. “We’re looking at this long-term, at incorporating it into our everyday lives.”

- Angela Nelson:
Though she was aware of a lot of the basics of a healthy lifestyle, Angela says, “it was a matter of actually implementing it.” She feels like she is able to do that now and the two-week check-in proved her right. “I was down 14.4 pounds and have lost quite a few inches.” Last Saturday, she ran a mile with Rebecca and shaved more than a minute and a half off her previous time. “Seeing those actual numbers is encouraging,” Angela says. “The first week was really, really hard. We’re really social and we go out a lot with friends who are eating and drinking anything they want.” Angela says other people are starting to notice a change in her. “My mood has been better and people have told me that I’m 'glowing’ or that I just look more confident.”

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Exciting News!

I have some updates with the Whip It 180 Fitness Challenge!  I received a phone call yesterday from a Des Moines Register reporter!  Right now we're playing phone tag but she has some questions for an article that she's writing about the challenge.  And I received an email from the Whip It 180 event manager that WHO Channel 13 news [along with Rebecca Meyer] will be coming to my house Thursday morning for an at-home interview taping!  So I'll definitely let you know when that is expected to air!  On top of all of that?  Rebecca and the Wellmark crew will be back to my house on Saturday afternoon for the Whip It 180 website's next video blog update!  One of my PA faculty said she was just waiting to see me on the cover of People's magazine... Bahaha, yeah right! :)

Don't forget to go to the Grand Blue Mile street run website to register for the race!  Registration is $25 for adults [which includes race entry, chip timing, an ASICS race shirt, individualized results and a commemorative certificate] and ends on April 22nd, which is about 2 weeks away!  Race day is April 26th, which is about 3 weeks away!  While you're at the website click on "Course Map" in the upper right hand corner!  It's an interactive race map... each star along the way is a landmark, and if you click on the star it will tell you about the landmark and how far into the race it is.  Pretty neat!

Click here for more information on the Grand Blue Mile street run and to register!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Keep Following The Finalists!

Don't forget to follow all 4 finalists' progress at the Wellmark BCBS Facebook page here and the Whip It 180 Fitness Challenge website here [the at-home videos are now posted]!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Des Moines Register

The Des Moines Register had a full-page Wellmark BCBS advertisement announcing the 4 finalists!

About The Challenge

While many of you are well aware of what the Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Whip It 180 Fitness Challenge is due to my extensive Facebook and e-mail campaigning, others may stumble across this blog without really having a clue.

Wellmark BCBS is a health insurance company that services Iowans and South Dakotans.  This is their first year putting on the Whip It 180 Fitness Challenge!  The challenge was open to residents in 9 counties [to enter the contest you had to submit your name, location, occupation, height and weight, write a short blurb about what your motivation was to enter the challenge and submit a photo of yourself].  A panel of judges narrowed the pool down to 12 semi-finalists. The general public voted for the 4 finalists, who are now the winners of the at-home fitness package!

The at-home fitness package includes many tools to train at home, including: a Body Bugg with a 6 month subscription, a workout mat, a body ball, an 8lb medicine ball, 3 resistance bands, a custom Wellmark BCBS gym bag, a scale, a food journal, $100 gift card to HyVee, ASICS shoes and socks, and exercise pants, shorts, jacket and shirt. 

And best of all in my eyes: 5 weeks of 1-on-1 training with Rebecca Meyer [who was the Biggest Loser Season 8 at-home winner]!!  At the end of the 5 week at-home fitness challenge the 4 finalists will run the Grand Blue Mile street run with Rebecca!

With that said, I am very fortunate to be the individual woman finalist!  There is also an individual male and 2 couples... Together we make up the 4 finalists!  Wendy told me that there was over 1,000 entries for the contest, the panel of judges narrowed the pool down to 12 semi-finalists, there were over 6,000 total votes casted, and, here were are, the 4 finalists!  Those are some amazing odds, huh?

For everyone else out there who missed their chance to enter the contest or were not one of the 12 semi-finalists, Wellmark BCBS is giving away 1 prize pack per week for 5 weeks!  For your chance to win all you have to do is "Like" them on Facebook!  What are you waiting for?? 

Where Do I Begin?!

Wow!!  Where do I even start with this post?!  There's SO MUCH to share so I'm going to try my very best to start at the beginning of this entire experience and get you caught up to today!  Questions are always welcomed, as I'm guaranteed to leave some sort of important piece of information out.

Tuesday 3/8:  As I was driving home from class I heard an advertisement on the radio for Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield's "Whip It 180 Fitness Challenge".  Intrigued, I went home and got onto the website, read up on the contest rules and immediately began typing my little blurb about what my motivation was to enter the challenge.  As soon as Josh got home, I had him take a [very unflattering] photo of me to submit with my entry.  With that done, off we went to Dos Rios to celebrate Fat Tuesday.  Very opposing ideas, I know...  As soon as I enter myself in a weight loss challenge I go indulge in margaritas and Mexican food. 

Wednesday 3/9:  I hadn't thought much about entering the contest the night before.  I'm going to be honest, Josh had pretty much set me up for failure saying "There are probably hundreds of people entering this contest so don't get your hopes up."  So on I went with life.  Until 10:30 a.m.  When the event manager Cathy called me and said I was 1 of the 12 semi-finalists.  WHAT!  I literally submitted my entry 16 hours ago!  So Cathy wanted me to meet her at a photography studio in the East Village the next night to get my photo taken for the website.

Thursday 3/10:  I wasn't supposed to share my news about being 1 of the 12 semi-finalists until Sunday when Wellmark would announce them to the public via the voting website.  I cannot keep secrets and it was a very long day for me [I seriously cannot keep secrets... Josh usually knows what he's getting for his birthday or Christmas because I'm just too excited about what I got him!].  As soon as class was over I went to East Court Atelier for my photo shoot.  I was way nervous and didn't know what expect, but everyone there was incredibly friendly.  I met Cathy, Wendy, a couple other Wellmark employees and the photographer Bill.  2 of the other 12 semi-finalists were also there, Russ and Ted, who were just finishing up reviewing their photos.   So my turn was up and I got to put on a way flattering gray t-shirt, stand in front of a huge white background with a seemingly huger camera and light right in front of me.  The photographer told me to act natural but what is natural about that entire situation??  So I just started smiling and trying different poses.  I even had an awesome "senior picture" pose but obviously it didn't make it to the website as I made sure it was deleted before I left the premises.  Many photos later, we reviewed them all and picked a few that I liked and that was that. 

Sunday 3/12:  The voting website opened at midnight!  The first time I looked at it I was ridiculously nervous, like racing heart beat and sweaty hands and everything.  Josh, his sister Beffy [her name is really Beth, but I like to say her name in the weird Mr. Bo Jangles voice... Don't worry, only the Nelson household will get this] and I were at a rock concert at the House of Bricks when the voting site opened, and instead of watching one of our good friend's band performing I was too busy reading all of the semi-finalists profiles.  I was totally checking out my competition... And it was going to be some stiff competition in the individual woman category!  Once I gained control of my excitement it was time for business!  That night I Facebooked everyone I know, asking them to Facebook everyone they know, etc. etc.  I sent emails to all of my family and extended relatives and even to the entire DMU campus, from faculty to the wellness department to my classmates.  And yes, this all happened after 1 a.m.! 

Friday 3/18:  With really no word from anyone involved with the contest I had no idea how voting was going or what to even expect.  Voting was ending at midnight... Was I even close to being in the final 4?  Luckily, Cathy must have sensed my thoughts because she called me that evening and asked if I'd be available 12-2 p.m. on Saturday for the at-home video.  I was far enough in the lead that she could declare me as one of the 4 finalists!!  So, congrats to me and she would see me tomorrow [Oh yeah, and Rebecca Meyer was going to be doing the entire interview... EEK!]!  So I cleaned the house like a mad woman until 1 a.m. and finally crashed on the couch.  In case you are wondering where Josh was during all of this, he and his brother were at their cousin's house in Ida Grove from Thursday to Saturday for March Madness...

Saturday 3/19:  I woke up at 6 a.m. and continued cleaning like a mad woman.  Places I couldn't even see in my house were dusted and scrubbed and left spotless [top of the fridge? DISGUSTING!].  After I showered and got ready, I waited anxiously on the couch for everyone to arrive.  Finally, around noon, the videographer and sound guys pulled up, then Cathy and Wendy, and then Rebecca [O. M. freaking G.! Rebecca Meyer is at my house!]!!  If you have been to our house then you know it's a super small Beaverdale bungalow that really has room for 2 people and 1 dog.  Not 6 people and 1 dog!  But either way, once again, everyone was incredibly friendly and very accommodating.  Rebecca was super nice... I can't remember how many hugs I got out of her!  And when the cameras weren't rolling she had very sweet words of encouragement and is definitely a down-to-earth girl that I could just spill my biggest frustrations and disappointments and fears and regrets about my weight to.  The entire experience was recorded: In a nutshell Rebecca showed me the fitness equipment I won, we had a sit-down interview at the kitchen table, she measured my inches and weighed me, she went through the kitchen cupboards and the refrigerator [no joke, my response to almost all the things she saw and didn't like was "I swear that is my husband's!", I'm sure everyone thought I was lying but the potato chips, Mountain Dew, hamburger buns, sausage links, almost all the stuff she pointed out was literally Josh's!], and lastly she showed me the strength exercises I was to work on this week. 
To tie the entire day up, I had a 1-on-1 interview with Wendy where she asked me all sorts of questions, like what my motivation to enter the challenge was, what my fears were in regards to my weight, what my goals were at the end of the 5 weeks and even months and years down the road, and many more [at some point the 4 finalists' at-home videos should be posted on the Whip It 180 site so keep on the lookout for those!].  3 hours later the at-home video interview was completed and away everyone went!!  It was such a blur... EVERYTHING about the last 2 weeks has been a blur.  But like Wendy asked me, "A good blur, right?"  Absolutely!  Words will never explain how great of a blur. 

That afternoon I met Josh at his parent's house for the night.  To "celebrate" my being in the final 4 we went to Unkies where I had my "last meal": a hamburger and french fries and 1 too many Coor's Light [yes, I'm unfortunately giving up all forms of alcohol the next 5 weeks]!

Present:  So hopefully this post can do some justice to how exciting my life has been the last 2 weeks.  I'm sure I'll come back and edit it and add some things or delete some things, but if you have any questions please feel free to post them in the comments section.  And once again, I truly want to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for all the support and voting I recieved from you and everyone else!  I would not be a part of this exciting challenge nor have the newly found motivation for my weight loss and my journey to a healthier lifestyle.  I believe this experience will make me a better health care provider and more importantly to myself, a better wife and mother for my husband and future family.