Friday, April 20, 2007
Introducing the Fit Buddies!
As Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes his 2007 Fit Nation Tour on the road, you can follow the progress of three CNN employees who are taking on the challenge of losing weight. Do you struggle with your weight? Does your hectic lifestyle contribute to your difficulties? Then you share something with our Fit Buddies. (More info)

A busy reporter, a medical producer traveling with the Fit Nation Tour, and the director of coverage in CNN's global newsroom in Atlanta work long hours, travel a great deal and rarely have time to get to the gym. Fitness trainer Robert Dothard has agreed to take a challenge of his own - get the Fit Buddies fit! Read about their successes and pitfalls weekly here on the "Paging Dr. Gupta" blog. (Watch Video)

CNN correspondent Ed Lavandera
The moment had finally arrived. After a few weeks of talking about joining this program, I finally had a chance to meet our trainer, Robert Dothard.

The plan was simple. We would do my first fitness assessment, have dinner and then work out.

Four hours later, violent storms and tornadoes started rolling through Dallas.

Robert was ready for dinner, and of course, I was 30 minutes late.

This is my life. Breaking news usually dismantles the best laid plans. But I love what I do, and I want to be successful and healthy chasing news and telling stories. I'm traveling this week too, but I've managed to work out every day!

Notable this week:

Best Meal: Grilled tilapia on a bed of rice with green beans and broccoli. Oh, and a great dinner roll.

Worst Meal: Holding two crying babies, eating a slice of cheese pizza, some sesame sticks and a protein bar.

Biggest struggle: Finding a consistent time of day to work out.

Best workout: First workout lifting weights with Robert. I haven't done that in years and it felt great to get those muscles burning again.

CNN Domestic director of coverage Stacia Deshishku
Look up Type A in the dictionary and you'll probably find my picture. Let the games begin! My competitive juices are flowing. In a million years I never imagined I would competitively exercise and diet!

It's been a great week. I got my husband on the fitness train too. He agreed to exercise with me. I really need the support.

Though my mind has been cheering me on this week, my body has been screaming back at me - a guttural scream. I've been using many long-dormant muscles. I can really feel the burn. I have found myself walking to the farthest restroom at work to get those extra steps in. I have taken the stairs A LOT more than normal. It has really become a mind game. May the best woman win!

Notable this week:

Best Meal: Sashimi - minus the rice

Worst Meal: Enchiladas and margaritas on Saturday night

Biggest Struggle: Staying away from "office" food!

Best workout: Tuesday - because I felt so guilty about missing Monday night's session due to breaking news at Virginia Tech

CNN Medical News producer Matt Sloane
Everything was going great… until I got on that plane to Virginia Tech.

I will say, had I taken this breaking news trip a few weeks ago, I would have eaten more than my fair share of the pizza we ordered, and I would have ordered a big steak at the saloon. What really bothered me was that I had to miss all my workouts!

By far, the thing that’s helped me the most is being accountable for what I eat. I was ashamed to write in my food diary that I had eaten pizza Tuesday night, but the fact is, I ate it... so I wrote it down.

The good news is, I'm back on track. If you fall off the wagon, that's no an excuse to throw in the towel! Get back on the wagon!

Notable this week:

Best Meal: Grilled salmon, brown rice and broccoli

Worst Meal: Pizza during breaking news

Biggest Struggle: Getting to my workouts!

Best Workout: Running ¾ mile! I haven't run since high school!

Fitness trainer Robert Dothard
I think people are far too hard on themselves, and we all seem to have very busy lives. No it's not just a CNN thing, but if you are careful with what you eat, and you try to be as active as your schedule will allow, that's always a good start!

Matt already had a challenge this week: being sent to the tragic Virginia Tech shootings. He has continued to report his food log to me, and he has managed some exercise on the road, but now that he is back in Atlanta, he can expect a "butt kicking" workout.

Stacia is simply amazing to me. She keeps more plates spinning than anyone I have worked with in a long time. I don't care if I have to sleep on the floor of their home, or follow Stacia around the CNN Center, we are going to reach her goals!

Not even the fact that we are training long distance is going to stop Ed from reaching what I feel will be the most drastic and noticeable changes of all three participants. And guess what: It is something we all can do. TAKE ACTION!

For years I have told people starting a fitness program to follow AAA: assess, accept, and act!

I will say, Ed has taken more action than Matt and Stacia, so that's my way to let everyone know it's GAME ON!

I know there are many people who have the same challenges we will face and overcome, and if we can help you, then I know we're truly on our way to building a Fit Nation!

Way to go, Matt! Glad to see that's you're honest about eating the pizza, but I'd say I really smiled to see that you ran a mile.

Now catch up to me- I run seven miles a day :)

Good luck to all of you!
Hearing your reporter's struggles about balancing family, unpredictable work schedule and just plan old life really hits home... I'll be pulling for and
ED and watching his progress closely -- hopefully on a hotel treadmill somewhere around the globe.

Good Luck Mr. Lavavendera, I'm pulling for you!

Sean (from Chicago)
Congratulations Ed! This is huge and we wish you the very best! Being a Latino myself, I know how hard it is to choose healthy foods with all the great, yet not so healthy options, we grew up with!
Ed- Deciding to change your life is a very big challenge and doing it publicly takes courage. Weightloss or any other personal change is an internal battle pitting will power and desire against body chemistry, behaviors and habits, and situational pressures. This is a hard fight - Thanks for being an inspiration and stay with it!
I think it's great! It is a big challenge. I undertook the challenge 3 years ago and lost 80lbs. I still am big by most people's standards (size 16), but I still exercize 4-6 times per week and try to eat healthily. It would be nice if regular people who are not affiliated with anyone or public figure could get this free personal training and following to help them through the difficult times (like days you don't want to work out, or you want to eat a banana split!) Where is the help for everyone else?
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends -- info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
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