Kat James is the author of the rereleased and completely updated The Truth About Beauty. James transformed her own body and skin after a 12-year eating disorder and liver disorder nearly took her life. She has been featured on the Today show, MSNBC, PBS, and in numerous national magazines. James regularly lectures and conducts workshops on healthful lifestyles. Hear her new syndicated radio show at thekatjames show.com. The show is broadcast live on Fridays from 11 a.m. to noon PST. See Web site for details.
Last month we updated you on three great starts on our redo YOU! contest with our 10 Biggest Gainers vying to gain the most health and win the coveted grand prize of being on Better Nutrition's June cover and attending my 5-Day Mountain Chalet Total Transformation Program at Vista Rejuvenation Lodge in Lake Lure, N.C.
With only one more issue to come between this story and when we reveal our Biggest Gainer, I want to share two other strong contestants gaining health. They were chosen from our runners up after a few contestants dropped out with logistical conflicts. These two dedicated health gainers were waiting in the wings and following along faithfully. So faithfully, in fact, that-as of this writing-they each may have a shot at being chosen the winner. And even if they don't win, I'm sure you'll agree that they are winners in the game of inspiring health transformation.
Leah from Alaska
Starting Stats and Challenges: 47, 220 lb. (5-foot-2), thinning hair, macular degeneration, rashes, dry skin patches, low "normal" thyroid test results, sugar and caffeine addiction, candida.
"I do fine at home, but we have an area at the office we call the trough where everyone brings in junk food to share for birthdays, month-long holiday ‘munch-a-thons,' and every excuse in between."
Tricks and Triumphs: "After cutting out sugar and all things that turn into it, my cravings are gone and I'm no longer tempted at work by the birthday cakes or other treats people bring. I got through the first holiday without sabotaging my progress. Now for birthdays, I just go over to sing ‘Happy Birthday' and then sneak back to my desk. It's easier than I thought because I truly no longer crave conventional sweets, and I now keep things, such as nuts or homemade sugar-free chocolates, at my desk."
Physical Changes:"I have lost 15 pounds pretty effortlessly, and I have no more sluggish jags in the afternoon-even through my usual ‘power-eating' premenstrual phase. My face and chin are slimmer and the blotchiness in my face has cleared so much that I don't need the foundation I've worn since I was a teenager. My energy is now greater than I ever thought possible. I actually enjoy things like the challenging hills on which I now push my grandson's stroller. I am sleeping deeply and waking rested. I also have a renewed belief in the power of supplements when taken consistently."
Jennifer from Colorado
Starting Stats and Challenges: 49, SilverSneakers senior exercise instructor, borderline obese, metabolic syndrome, adrenal fatigue, sleep apnea.
"I have struggled not only with sugar cravings and severe energy slumps, but with feelings of being a fraud. I'm a fitness instructor of all things, yet have not been able to control my weight or my sugar habit."
Tricks and Triumphs: "Getting through celebrations and holidays. I've been off all forms of sugar since December, with the exception of a glass of champagne on New Year's, which served as a great lesson (I felt lousy the next day)."
Physical Changes:"Energy-wise my severe afternoon slumps have been 99 percent eliminated. My energy level has risen to the point that my students are asking me what is happening. I no longer crave caffeine or sugar, and my hunger level has plummeted. My skin feels softer and looks clearer and my stomach feels tighter. Though the weight loss has been slow and steady, my body felt immediately firmer. In fact, I think I have gained muscle very quickly, which might explain why I look so different but have lost
only about 10 pounds."
Recent Update:"I couldn't wait to tell you about the results of my blood tests that I got from my doctor on Thursday. Previously, I was diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. This was mostly based on my triglyceride numbers and my low HDL cholesterol numbers. As of now, I no longer have metabolic syndrome! Here are my new numbers: triglycerides, was 170, now is 86; HDL, was 38, now is 57; LDL, was 100, now is 88. No matter who wins the contest, Kat, I'm already a winner and I want to thank you and Better Nutrition for changing my health and my life."