• Photo for Congratulations to the Winners of the RJ/Nu4You Weight Loss Challenge
    Photo Credit: dr_jackl

Congratulations to the Winners of the RJ/Nu4You Weight Loss Challenge

By L. K. Regan

After 12 weeks of competition, education, friendship and growth, our Weight Loss Challenge participants have reached the end of this stage of their journey. With expert nutritional counseling from Manuel Villacorta and the team at Nutrition For You, and fantastic workouts from Billy and Mike at San Francisco training gym Diakadi Body, the 14 participants who finished the challenge lost a collective 279 pounds. And, we have a winner and a runner up! Read on for details.

The WLC (as it is fondly known) began with 25 participants. Of those, 14 completed the 12-week program. All of those 14 lost weight, at an average of 1.3 pounds per week (a healthy and sustainable average). The average weight lost was 15.1 pounds per participant, and one participant lost 15.7 percent of his body-weight. Furthermore, one participant lost 32 pounds! But it is important to remember that the scoring for the WLC depended on more than just absolute number of pounds lost. Rather, participants were scored on a variety of measures—such as eating breakfast and keeping a food journal—that are important for making the kind of lifestyle change that sustains long-term weight loss.

And First Place Goes To...
Using these measures, the team at Nutrition For You settled on a winner and second-place finisher for the Challenge. So we are proud to congratulate dr_jackl, who with 19 pounds and 12 percent of original body-weight lost comes in first place. Now, COJock1974 had the highest percentage of weight lost, with 32 pounds and 15.7 percent—but dr_jackl, in the words of Nutrition For You's Dennis Allio, "excelled across the board in all of our critical numbers and managed to take the lead in the last month with persistent attention to all of the critical areas and extra points." And there's no doubt that that hard work paid off—check out dr_jackl's before and after photos, and we're sure you'll be impressed:

We spoke to our winner about his experience of the Challenge, and here's what he had to say: "This experience, for lack of a cheesier phrase, has been life-changing. I didn't realize the extent to which my life had been prewired to a lifetime of eating habits that really were never in line with my body goals. The hardest part of the Challenge was integrating nutrition into my social life. During the week, I had good control over my nutrition, but when I went out to meet with friends or family, my nutrition was at the mercy of their cooking or places we'd choose to eat. In addition, being away from the computer prevented me from fully seeing how balanced my diet was; this was especially a problem if I was gone all weekend, unaware of how certain foods were tipping the scales of balance over the course of 10 meals. I still remember one weekend where I ate a huge a cookie only to find out later when I entered it in that I had eaten my fat allowances for two entire days! The most important lesson I learned was definitely how to eat healthy and to do so in any given situation life throws at you especially when you're not at home. This is a big one that I'm continuing to get better at even after the Challenge has ended." This embodies the mission of the Weight Loss Challenge: to learn habits that will last a lifetime.

A Close Second
Now for our second-place finisher! Congratulations go to DFW54 who was in a close race with COJock1974 and Chitownstud70. DFW54 lost 16 pounds, or 6.4 percent of his original body weight—an impressive total! We spoke to him about the experience, and he provided us with a list of lessons learned. We think it's pretty great:

  1. "To get in shape and stay there, you need to not only exercise, but watch what you eat. I cannot pig out and the next day expect to burn all that off."
  2. "Know what you are eating. I was surprised when reading the food labels how much fat or sugar some of my favorite foods contained."
  3. "If I want to stay in shape and healthy, it is a life-long commitment."
  4. "The biggest surprise to me was how hard it is to consistently eat 1800 calories a day. It sounds like a small amount to a novice, but there were many days when I had to struggle to reach 1800 calories."
  5. "I also found it interesting that it did not take that much effort (diet or exercise) to make me feel good about myself and to fall back into a workout routine."
DFW54 tells us he's gone from a 44 to a 38 inch waist. He's aiming for 34, and promises us a picture when he gets there. We seriously cannot wait. Congratulations to our winner and second-place finisher, and to all the guys who made it through the Weight Loss Challenge. Bravi!