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.