Biggest Loser

Henrico County Version

January 23rd Weigh-In

Use this link to weigh in today!

It was a good week last week, I hope you all saw the graph on Tuesday. #2 and #10 are the leaders and we almost have everyone in the positive zone.

Have a great weekend! Get out there and move.

Jarrod Hobson's Story

While I have kept the Biggest Loser club anonymous, thus far, one of our group members told me his story a few weeks back, and I asked him if he was willing to share it. He was. Jarred Hobson is a SPED Teacher at Holman Middle School, this is his first year at HCPS. Below is a more detailed story than what he first told me. This isn't a story about "fat" or "body shaming." It's about health, determination, and relationships. I hope you enjoy it. If you want, you can leave comments at the bottom of this newsletter. Thank you, Jarrod!

In February of 2012, I weighed 340 pounds. More importantly, I was told by a physician to make adjustments to my life or face a very tough road that laid ahead of me. The decisions I have made since that conversation have greatly impacted my life. Today, I weigh about 225 pounds. The last time I went to the doctor, he was speechless. My lab results were much better and it appears that I have reversed most of the things the doctor reported to me initially.

Over the last three years, I’ve tried just about everything. Some things have worked really well, but were not sustainable over an extended period of time. Others did not work at all. But there are some common themes that have worked for me, that I believe go beyond the “individualism” of dieting.

I used the buddy system. I have two friends who were also overweight. We were college friends who all put on the freshman 15 . . . or 40. I was in my senior year of college when I started taking my health much more seriously. I had lost about 10 pounds when I first talked to them about my plan for losing weight. They immediately wanted to make this a group effort. We were all three at different “tiers” of weight. They were looking to lose about 60-80 pounds, while I felt like I had 150 to lose. I, still talk to them daily. We have a group text message that is designed to motivate each other. We were never competitive about our weight loss besides short term goals with the loser paying for dinner. On the weekends, we would still communicate – even if we were ordering pizza or going out for drinks. We have held each other accountable while using positive reinforcement. We all use different methods for losing weight, but one thing we had in common was that we never felt alone over the entirety of this process. This system has allowed us to lose about 230 pounds between the three of us.

I feel like I could write a book about the last couple of years of my life. However, I won’t-because I know we are ALL extremely busy at this time.

The other thing I wanted to mention is the importance of setting (obtainable!) goals. At 340 pounds, I would never have imagined that I would be able lose over 100 pounds. I credit my success to the small goals that I set. I wanted to lose a ton of weight overall, but I had to do to it in spurts. I set goals 10 pounds at a time on a regular basis. I would set three day goals of losing one pound when I felt like I had plateaued. When my body didn’t respond, I didn’t panic or get upset – I reevaluated and I changed it up. To me, long term goals have always enabled me to procrastinate. But when I created short term goals, I felt like I was able to keep a routine better and be more consistent.

Thanks for allowing me to share with you all a little bit about my journey. I know I didn’t really talk much about what kinds of food to eat or what kind of exercises to do. I didn’t do this because I think Mike has it spot on with his list in this newsletter. Eat real food, control portions, stay hydrated, be active - and most importantly – Stay positive!

If anyone would like more specialized information on my methods for general wellness/losing weight, please feel free to e-mail me at or add me on myfitnesspal: jdhobson. Keep up the good work!

Free Gym!

For those who don't know, HCPS employees can use two fitness facilities in the county for free. One is at the Henrico Training Center near Hermitage High School on Parham and Schrader Roads.

The other is near Fairfield Middle School/Central Office on Laburnum, the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center.

It's About Two Things

So you're thinking health. It's a good thing to think about when you consider life expectancy and what people want to do in your everyday life. And while our Biggest Loser contest goes until the end of March, this really should be a lifestyle change- not a diet. Think long term.

To be successful, there are two things to think about when maintaining a health lifestyle: 1) what goes in; and 2) what goes out. And while that idea is simple, following through isn't as easy.

What goes in

This, too, is easy. What are you eating and drinking? There are 1000s of books that you can read on this subject, which is confusing enough. But the other confusing part is that what is "scientifically proven" in 2004 has now been debunked. The best thing to do is talk to your doctor, obviously. Also, do your own research based on your own needs (maybe you're a vegetarian). But here are some truths that I doubt anyone can disagree with:

  • You won't be a perfect health NAZI all the time. In fact, splurge on occasion.
  • Whole foods are better than processed foods.
  • Eating processed foods is often easier and cheaper. And bad for you.
  • Eating whole foods takes more prep time and is more expensive. But better for you.
  • Find a "diet" that works for you. For example, as educators, we often hear about Howard Gardner's 7 Intelligences, so teachers will try to create a lesson more geared toward "visual learners." People are like that with diets. Some can handle restrictive diets, others cannot. Just because your buddy lost 30 pounds on Weight Watchers, doesn't mean you will have the same success.
  • Vitamins from food is better than vitamins from a pill

What you eat and drink is the main pillar of a healthy lifestyle. If you want to lose weight, I'd say that 80% of weight loss is what you eat and drink and how you cut calories.

What goes out

Along with the calories you eat, and cut, you can also burn off calories. But it takes 3500 burned calories to lose 1 pound. For example, can you run for 5 hours at a 10 minute/mile pace? You have to do a lot of exercising to lose just 1 pound.

But, exercise is invaluable. Added to the right diet, losing weight is like compound interest. Also, building muscle is important for a long and healthy life.

But as with diet, finding the right exercise is important. Different things work for different people. Again, there are a 1000 books out there. So, here are some truths, no matter what:

  • Buy new shoes and at least start walking
  • If you have a gym membership, start using it. If you don't have one, you don't need it yet
  • Move at least 30 minutes a day, on top of what you do at work
  • Tell people what you're doing. Accountability helps.
  • Don't sit as much.
  • Sleep!

There is so much more to write, but this is enough to get you started successfully. Make it fun. Find new foods to cook! Enjoy the experiment. If you like walking/jogging, find a 5k to sign up for. Make it an adventure. Set goals.

Tracking Calories

A great way to be successful in weight loss is to track your activity and the food you eat. As I mentioned above, a healthy lifestyle involves what goes in and what goes out. Today, this is very easy. You don't need spreadsheets or journals. You just need your smartphone.

Here are some apps you can use to track the calories you eat with your smart phone. I use MyFitnessPal. You can find me using: mjhasley. It's a good way to support people in reaching their goals.

Here are some apps you can use to track calories burned through exercise. Again, find the one that best fits your needs. See what your smartphone does automatically or look into getting a wearable band, like Fitbit. I use Nike Plus for running and other apps for different activities I do. But I'm a bit of a nut.

Once you start tracking, and see what you've accomplished, it becomes easier to do. For example, for 2014, I'm 2000 calories from burning 100,000 calories this year through running. That's 28 pounds burned.

The Basics...

Just a reminder of the basic rules:

  • On Dec 19, I will mail you the original weigh-in form. You will simply submit your name, date, current weight, and goal weight. That’s it. All you need is a scale in your own home. The 19th will be the initial weigh in.
  • On Dec 26, I will begin emailing the weekly weigh in form which is just name, date, and weight. This means that weigh-ins are on Friday. It’s funny, this is a debate. A Friday weigh-in “forgives” the weekend. But a Monday weigh-in means you’ll try harder. So for this first time, I’ll go easy on folks. This means, going into the weekend, you’ll know if you’re ahead or behind your goal. BE GOOD!
  • You will be assigned a number and I will email you this number. Each week, I’ll post results for the whole group, by number, not name. Currently, there are 14 of us.
  • Also, there is an optional $10 fee. This is for incentive, the winner receiving 80% of the winnings. You DO NOT need to contribute. Please put that in the PONY for me using Central Office as the location.
  • This competition will last until March 27, just in time to show off for Spring Break.
  • The winner will be the person with the greatest weight loss percentage (not the number of pounds lost)! A 200 lb. person losing 20 pounds is the same as a 100 pound person losing 10 pounds.
  • All information here will be confidential between me and my bookie. If you are playing along for fun just to lose weight, that is great. If you are competing for the grand prize, please be honest with your weigh-ins since money is on the line. Use the same scale and weigh yourself at the same time of the day. It’s a gamble doing it this way but I really don’t care – it’s called karma. I just want to lose some freakin’ weight!
  • And, this shouldn't have to be said, but please: Diet and exercise responsibly. No starvation. No 80 mile runs daily. Be safe!!! See a doctor if you need to. If you start feeling ill, let me know. There, no one can sue me.