If you wonder what the real story is of the contestants on “The Biggest Loser,” Marge Lyse is willing to tell — she lost 208 pounds.
The trainer at Reality Fitness in Naperville recently returned from speaking at The Biggest Loser Ranch (BLR) in Malibu, Calif., where she shared her inspirational story about losing more than 200 pounds. On Dec. 11, she’ll bring her story and experience here to Naperville.
At almost 400 pounds, Lyse knew she had to do something. After making the decision to get fit, she used different strategies that ultimately helped her lose 208 pounds. Her last 30 pounds were the hardest, so she started using a tool she found useful, the Body Media Armband.
“In August of 2012, Body Media sent out a generic email asking about weight loss stories,” she says. “I answered it and found myself one of the featured profiles in People Magazine’s January 2012 The Half-My-Size issue. From there I decided that helping others with healthy lifestyle changes was what I wanted to do.”
Lyse went on to run the Biggest Loser 5K race in Rockford where she was introduced to Jackie and Dan Evans, contestants from season five of “The Biggest Loser.”
“Jackie suggested I send my weight loss story to the Biggest Loser Resort because they are always searching for unique weight loss stories, and she felt mine was unique,” Lyse says. “I took her advice and soon found myself being asked by Amanda Fitz, the social marketing manager of The BLR to be a motivational speaker at the resort. She said I was living proof that a lifestyle change was possible.”
Shortly after that conversation, Lyse was on a plane to California to live the Biggest Loser lifestyle. She is in communication with the Biggest Loser resort in Chicago to spend a week there as well.
Some of what Lyse shared with the BLR attendees focused on what finally caused the change and how she has maintained her lifestyle changes. Typically, maintenance is the hardest part for people who have lost a lot of weight.
“For me, my ‘a-ha’ moment came when I realized the only way I could finally be successful was committing to myself,” she says. “You can’t do it for anyone else; you have to do it for yourself. There is no one else in charge of what you put in your mouth or what you do with your body except for you.”
She also made it clear to attendees that the disease of obesity, and the addiction — food — is the hardest one there is.
“At the ranch, I introduced myself as an addict suffering from an incurable disease,” she says. “Food addiction is the hardest of all because you cannot quit food. You have to control food. Obesity is a controlled disease, but it can’t be controlled without personal commitment.”
Carla Linder-Mayer, owner of Reality Fitness in downtown Naperville, thought it was important for Lyse to share her story at her studio.
“Marge is a personal trainer here, and her life experience with obesity, the emotional and physical challenges gives her a unique understanding of how to work with clients with the same struggle,” Linder-Mayer says. “She is empathetic, but at the same time, offers a ‘you-can-do-this’-training style when a client is feeling defeated. People need motivation and the belief that change is possible. Marge is a great example of that.”
With the holidays upon us, it is the most difficult time to control what you eat. Lyse shares her strategy.
“Most people feel that if they just take a taste it’s no big deal,” she says. “Have you ever thought about the calories in every little taste you take? That was my mistake. My tastes probably added up to an entire meal. And that was before the meal!
“When I’m asked to go to a party, I bring a healthy dish that I can eat and others will enjoy. I also never go to a party hungry. Eat before you go.”
Lyse believes the most important tenants of maintaining a healthy lifestyle include a solid support system, a regular routine and commitment — not resolutions, commitment.
“I made a promise to get healthy not to my kids or my spouse but to me,” she says. “I never broke that promise. I made myself a priority, and you should, too.”
Her story might just help you make it through the holidays without looking for redemption in January!