Friday, June 22, 2007
Fit Buddies enter the home stretch
The CNN Fit Buddies have made it through another week in their weight-loss and fitness challenge. Here's an update on their efforts to eat better and exercise more. Read about their successes and frustrations every Friday here on the Paging Dr. Gupta blog. And join the Fit Buddies by accepting the Fit Nation Challenge (details here).

Ed Lavandera, CNN Dallas correspondent

It's been the worst week of all for me.

I've been reporting from small towns along the Texas-Mexico border, crossing onto the Mexican side, working about 16 hours a day. Tex-Mex restaurants at every turn. I've worked out only one time. The hotel gym is terrible. And even when I could work out, I've just been exhausted.

I won't waste more time beating myself up over it. We have one week left in the Fit Nation program and I remind myself that I've come a long way since April. The encouraging sign for me is I miss my intense workouts. I'm eager to get back on the bike and to the gym.

There used to be a late-night sports show on CNN called "Calling All Sports." (If you remember this, you are a true CNN fan!) The host, Vince Cellini, used to end the show with a rapid-fire call-in segment. He used to scream at viewers "FINISH UP STRONG!" I loved it! That's a good rally cry for me as I head into another challenging week and the last days of our "Fit Nation" program.

Of course, the end of "Fit Nation" is really only the beginning for me.

Matt Sloane, Medical news producer

I had a vision last week of what I could look like 50 pounds lighter. My dad told me before we went on vacation that he was on a diet and that he planned to eat well and walk a lot while we were away. My first thought was, "Dad's been heavy for a long time, and he's been on a countless diets... we'll see how this works."

But when we met him at the hotel in Bermuda, my jaw hit the floor!! We started at the same weight, though he started his diet a few months before I did. The transformation was ASTOUNDING -- he lost 50 pounds!

He looks healthy, he had more energy, he ate less, had no desire to waste calories on alcohol, and he walked a ton every day. He actually looks like one of those "skinny guys."

If that, along with the thought of getting into a tuxedo in the somewhat distant future doesn't keep me going after this program is over, I don't know what will.

I've lost somewhere between 15 and 20 pounds now (scale issues making it tough to pin down an exact number), but my goal is to look like him. (Minus the gray hair of course!)

Stacia Deshishku, Director of coverage, CNN/US

I'm feeling really melancholy. I'm not ready for Fit Nation to end. Will I stick with it? Will I cheat? I feel it's simply too soon to "check out" of my fitness rehab!

What an experience this has been. Emotionally and physically. I have done more than I thought I could, faced demons I didn't know I had and learned what does and doesn't work for me. I've also met and talked with scores of people about fitness. My participation in this program and its visibility have given me a forum to talk about my challenges. Simultaneously it has given colleagues an invitation to talk to me about their struggles, share tips and become fitness buddies, if only vicariously!

As I reshape my body, I also need to reshape my thinking. This isn't an end, rather, just the beginning. I certainly hope my original fit buddies, as well as the ones I have added along the way, will continue on this journey with me!

Robert Dothard, Fit Buddies trainer

When I run, I sprint at the end. When I weight train, I drop the weight I am lifting by 10-20 percent, and I finish by doing as many reps as I can.

The Fit Buddies are in the homestretch, and I want them to "kick it" into high gear, but not for THEM -- for YOU! Allow me to explain.

In my 20+ years as a trainer, I have learned what makers of infomercials have known for years: Testimonials WORK! It is a formula: Have enough people talk about a product or service in a positive way, put it in front of people a few "hundred" times, and a good percentage will give it a try. Well my product is fitness advice and accountability, and the Fit Buddies' testimony is ongoing, but the jury is already in on the results: POSITIVE!

So if you have been waiting, I submit CNN's Fit Nation 2007 as my favorite infomercial. I believe if you invest the TIME and EFFORT, YOUR fitness results will also be POSITIVE, and ongoing!!!

Good luck and good health.
Wow Ed, I'm sorry to hear you had a bad week... Missing workouts? Oooh, I understand that one. After years of becoming used to working out everyday, if I miss a day I feel sort of weird!

Tuxedo, Matt? Well, that's an incentive. So is being in robust health for the rest of your life!! Your father has pretty much started reversing some of the effects of age. Keep it up! Both of you!!

Hey Stacia, don't think about it like it's ending. Think about it as the prep course for how to live the rest of your life, like you said. I personally have my own fitness buddy; my sister. We're 3000 miles apart on separate coasts but we share fitness and nutrition tips with each other on a constant basis, as well as trying to out brag each other on who is in better shape. I'm winning *grin*
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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