2012 Suwanee Get Fit Challenge: The Results


As 2012 came to an end, so did the Get Fit Suwanee Challenge.
The Grand Prize winner, with the highest percentage of weight lost goes to… Michelle McShane! Congratulations Michelle! Erika Beckwith won the points challenge, with points being earned for documented workouts, blogging, group workouts, 5K’s and more. Both winners will enjoy prizes including a romantic getaway to Chateau Elan Winery & Resort located in nearby Braselton. Salon Greco also gave Beckwith and McShane an amazing makeover!

It has been a great year! Although the contestants have not yet reached their final goals, they are still working toward them and have had many victories and accomplishments. McShane, Beckwith and Desai all did their very first 5k during the challenge. Bill King brought his old belt to the finale- it is much too big and cannot fit on the smallest hole! Beckwith shared that she loved Skyrobics at Sky Zone Trampoline Park and never would have tried it if it hadn’t been for the competition.

McShane shared that she never would have gotten started if it had not been for this competition. She has learned so much and has slowly but surely changed her lifestyle. All of the contestants agreed that the journey would not end here. They will continue to push toward their goals in 2013.

We at Suwanee Magazine want all of the contestants to know that we believe in each one of you and know that if you continue to push toward your goals, you will reach them! The staff and I have very much enjoyed getting to know you and sharing in some of your accomplishments and struggles. We appreciate your hard work and are so proud of you all! Beckwith said it best in a recent blog, “Take pride in how far you have come and have faith in how far you can go.”

Michelle Get Fit Suwanee Magazine

Changing your lifestyle for the better is a decision that takes commitment and dedication. It’s a journey, not a sprint. Change little things for the better at first, slowly…get comfortable with the idea of change. Changing everything at once is too overwhelming and the risk of failure can be enormous. When you feel you’re ready, maybe after a few months of small changes, then take the bull by the horns! My advice on weight loss goals is to focus on five pounds. at a time. This is what I have done throughout the Suwanee Get Fit Challenge and what I will continue to do until I have reached my ultimate weight loss goal. Not 20. Not 10… just 5. Once you hit the five pound mark, maintain it for a few days and then begin to focus on the next five creating small, achievable goals that will ultimately lead to significant success!

Erika Get Fit Suwanee Magazine


1) Get a physical – I’m talking about getting checked out from the top to the bottom; blood work, heart, everything. Also let your doctor know that you are planning on starting a workout regimen and get “an okay” from him/her before doing so.

2) Losing weight is 90 percent what you eat and 10 percent exercise. As Levi Lee from Fit Forward loves to say, “you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet.” And boy was he telling the truth! If you are trying to lose weight you HAVE to change what you eat…period.

3) If you put it in your month, write it down! I didn’t realize just how much I was eating (calorie wise) until I started writing it down. That burger, fries and milkshake you just ate…well that cost you a days worth of calories. Writing down what you eat will help you make better food choices (healthier) which in turn means losing weight. Apps like LoseIt! make tracking your food and exercise much easier and it’s FREE!!!

4) Get lots of rest (at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night) and drink lots
and lots of water.

5) Surround yourself with people who will encourage and support you and get rid of those who don’t. Sometimes your support system will turn out to be people who aren’t a part of your inner circle of friends and family. It may be those three women that take the same spin class at the gym that become your support system. Sometimes friends and family, although they mean well, will lovingly sabotage our weight loss plans by cooking those fatty comfort foods we know aren’t good for us, Or by telling us we look good just the way we are, which is overweight and out of shape. A good support system will encourage you to stay on the program, help you find healthy alternatives to those fatty foods you love and motivate you when you’ve hit a wall.

6) Last but not least, don’t be too hard on yourself. Life happens, you have a bad day, get into an argument with your spouse, or your kids are driving you crazy. Stuff happens and when it does we sometimes find ourselves making poor eating choices (enter burger, fries and double chocolate milkshake). When you find yourself in this situation (and trust me it will happen), don’t beat yourself up. Just chalk it up to having a bad day and start the next day fresh.

Although I didn’t reach my goal weight, I am very happy with the progress I have made. I am making better food choices and moving with more regular exercise and I feel great! I still have a lot more weight to lose, but I am reminded that weight loss is not a sprint, it’s a marathon and slow and steady wins the race.

Divya Get Fit Suwanee Magazine

One year went by, and I would be lying if I said I tried my best. I wish I could go back to the past to do many things differently.But there is no going back. I had my chance. However, in all adversities there lie the seeds of equivalent advantages. In every defeat there is a lesson that shows you how to win the next time. It’s the present which changes our future. I can only live in the moment I am living now to change my next minutes, hour, days, and months.

We can look for answers to weight loss and living healthy in many sources out there. However, none are useful until one shows dedication and determination. Each step toward a healthy lifestyle is a step closer to your goal. Nothing is easy, and yet nothing is impossible. Please don’t let life, the “ultimate challenge” give you a reason to make an EXCUSE to change your personal health goals.

A quote my husband shared with me, that I am using to change my path is, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” That is why I will always face my fear, as I want to defeat it.

In summary, even though I did not achieve my goals, this challenge changed my life in many ways. One of them is realizing that if you don’t fall, how will you learn to rise? I met some amazing people, and I want to thank everyone who helped me in this challenge. I will keep striving each day to meet my goal because life, in and of itself, is a challenge that leads me to make excuses, and weight loss is a challenge and I choose not to make an excuse anymore. I will strive to reach my goal.

Bill Get Fit Suwanee Magazine

Bill’s tips to Get Fit!

1) Don’t eat after 8pm
2) Don’t eat fried foods
3) Keep moving!


BY: Dr. Curtis Pierce
Erika Lost 14.5lbs and lost 13.5 total inches. Erika continues to work out 3-4 times a week and is dedicated to applying what she’s learned from her trainers. She is currently eating 1200 calories a day evenly spread out over 6 balanced meals.

Due to some food sensitivities she is currently trying a Gluten Free Diet. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye (and countless food products — like bread and pasta — that contain those grains), gradually damages the intestines of people with celiac disease, preventing the absorption of vitamins and minerals and setting off a slew of related health problems, which can include fatigue and bad skin. However, for most people (ones not officially diagnosed with Celiac Disease) who decide to try a Gluten Free diet, the science shows us that they typically are more likely to lose weight and feel better because they went from eating a diet heavy in refined, processed foods (ones that contain gluten) to eating more fresh, whole foods (that are naturally gluten-free).

BY: Dr. Curtis Pierce
Based on our comparison from our initial evaluation with the final evaluation Michelle lost 34 lbs and lost 27.5 total inches. A review of her blood work showed that she dropped 42 points off of her cholesterol total and it is now 129 (normal is 125-200). Research suggests that being overweight disrupts the normal metabolism of dietary fat. So even though she may have been eating less fat, she probably truly saw the difference in her cholesterol profile when she started to unload the excess pounds. In fact, it has been suggested that shedding just 5 to 10 pounds may be enough to improve one’s cholesterol level.

McShane also had a drastic improvement in her blood pressure. Her initial BP was 136/90 and on her final follow up visit it was 105/76. This is most likely because when she started exercising and dieting her heart started using the oxygen more efficiently and therefore her heart started not having to work as hard to pump the blood. Regular physical activity — at least 30 to 60 minutes 3-5 days a week— can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). And it doesn’t take long to see a difference. If someone has not been active, increasing their exercise level can lower their blood pressure within just a few weeks.

We noticed a complete change in confidence with Michelle. She has an overly positive attitude and because of this journey provides encouragement to others. She is not as easily distracted from her goals of eating properly and getting healthier like she was when we first met. With the recommendations from her trainer and our weight loss workshop she is eating 6 balanced meals a day at 300 calories per meal. She generally feels better and has more energy. Whenever you exercise, your personal worth increases because it gives you a feeling that you have done something rather than sitting passively and brooding over issues.

In addition, when you exercise, the body releases chemical substances known as endorphins which relieve stress and make you feel good psychologically. This boosts your confidence.

Click here for pictures of Erika & Michelle’s makeovers!



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