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July 27, 2013

Rockwall family transformed while winning weight-loss challenge

The Fisher family competed in the HealthyWage Matchup challenge of March 2013 to lose weight and won $10,000.

Kevin Fisher first heard about HealthyWage through a New York Times article and although the challenge had already started, Fisher and his family decided to participate to see if they could lose weight before their summer vacation.

After the first week the family was in 10th place, but rose to third after two weeks, and after the third week they had taken the lead, and held onto it throughout the competition.

“We are a competitive family,” Tamara Fisher, wife of Kevin, said.

The family, whose motto became “Daring Greatly,” worked out twice a day to achieve their goal. They even turned their garage into a gym and their hard work paid off.

Kevin, who lost a total of 19.31 percent of his starting body weight, was the team leader. Each week he calculated the predicted amount of weight each person on his team would lose, then made adjustments when the end of the week was reached.

“We viewed the workouts as an accelerator, a bonus,” Kevin said. “The bottom line is food.”

Food was the main obstacle. The Fishers had to begin watching what they ate.

“We didn’t realize we were eating a lot of really bad foods,” said Tamara, an aspiring chef.

By dining at home, they could cook and monitor what they were eating whereas a meal at a restaurant was almost a whole days worth of calories. However, restaurants weren’t the only obstacle.

“I would regularly starve when I went to my friends house,” Rilee Fisher said about avoiding snacks and munchies in order to stick to his goal.

The Fishers did not forsake eating out completely, though. Their tradition of breakfast at Chiloso once a week was left untouched.

Counting calories was important, but the Fishers did not neglect exercise. Tamara and daughter Triniti ran regularly, and the youngest competitor, Averleigh, teamed up with her father.

By the end of the competition, Averleigh went from struggling on their runs to running two miles without a break. Triniti found herself losing weight more consistently than anyone else.

“You saw her confidence level go up,” Rilee said of his sister. “Everyone had times where they didn’t want to do some aspect of it,” Kevin said. “There were many times when Tamara and Averleigh were in tears.”

The family, who normally looked to Tamara for encouragement, found the tables had changed.

“From the very beginning I was the bottom runner from every single week and I was working my tail off,” Tamara said.

However, the Fishers are not only a team, they are a family. Kevin and the children encouraged Tamara, and everyone leaned on each other.

“Competing as a family, I do think gave us an advantage,” Kevin stated.

Often team members go periods of time without seeing their teammates, but the Fishers live together and held each other accountable. One method of accountability was incentive. Whoever lost the most weight in a week would get $25, had a special meal at the house, or got to choose where to eat out.

HealthyWage provided incentive, too. With challenges such as the recipe makeover and self-soothing picture, participants were competing in the less physical aspects.

“The first 10 weeks were about pure fun,” Kevin said. “The last few weeks became about winning.”

Seeing the weight lost was a motivating factor for everyone. They could see the progress they were making, on the scale and off.

“When most people drop out of a race they are near a finish line,” Kevin said, so the family tried to keep up the hard work. Especially toward the end when weight loss was hardest. However, the Fishers sprinted toward the finish, on their runs and in the challenge.

“It was transformative,” Tamara said of the experience. “We really want to be able to help other families do similar things.”

The work was worth the effort, but the Fishers are not throwing in the towel.

Kevin, Averleigh, and Triniti are currently taking the challenge again. Kevin wants to lose 30 more and Averleigh is hoping to drop another 15.

“If you really want something and you work hard, it will work out,” Kevin said.


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