Archive for February 2011

Tonight at 10/9C, Another HEAVY Transformation

Jill beforeTonight you will have the opportunity to witness the transformations of Jill and Johnny.

Jill wants nothing in the world more than to have a baby, but at 35 years old and 305 pounds, her doctor told her she has a hundred pounds to lose before she can become pregnant. Will Jill be able to reach her goal to be a mom, or will her history of being a closet eater come back to haunt her? 

Johnny beforeJohnny, at 443 pounds, has spent most of the 19 years of his life using food as a comfort. Abandoned by his biological mother at age three, Johnny has struggled with his weight ever since. Now Johnny is ready to let go of the anger, and get a fresh start in life.

If you were here last year, you likely met one or both of these amazing individuals at some point during their stay – and now here’s your opportunity to see their entire journey!  Be sure to tune into A&E at 10/9C tonight! 

If you missed last week’s episode featuring Ronnie and Debbie, visit to watch the full episode plus additional bonus scenes!



Know your Risk – Take the Step

Over the years the terms “overweight” and “obese” have been used loosely, without general knowledge of their technical definition and what separates them from each other.  The general public may have a vision of what it means to be obese, for example, but is it necessarily accurate?

As the obesity epidemic continues to grow in our country, it is important to know what obesity means.  With Americans’ weight increasing over the past few decades, we as a people have created a new “normal” in our perception of weight.  However, the risks associated with weight are not so lenient. You or a loved one may fall in this category of increased risk for cardiovascular, pulmonary, and metabolic diseases. 

Normal weight, Overweight, and Obese categories are defined by a measure called Body Mass Index (or BMI), which is a factor of height and weight.  You can enter your information here for a quick BMI calculation. See the table below:

Category Body Mass Index (BMI)
Normal Weight 18.5 – 24.9 kg/m2
Overweight 25 – 29.9 kg/m2
Obese > 30 kg/m2

While BMI does not represent body composition (percent fat vs. lean body mass) it can provide an initial assessment for determining risk associated with weight.  Is your perception of weight accurate?  To provide an example, an average female (5’5” tall) weighing 180 or above would have a BMI over 30.  An average male (6’0” tall) weighing 221 or above would also be in the obese category. 

The time is now.  If you’ve feared the scale lately, afraid for what it may tell you, take that step and get on the scale.  Your fear may be fueled by guilt or shame, neither of which will go away without taking action.  Fear of the unknown is not tangible – it doesn’t give you any clear direction to go.  Take that step.  It is the first step in being honest with yourself.  Open that door and it will lead you to motivation, strength and priority to make a change. 

Link Source:  The US Department of Health and Human Services



Fitness Friday – Cardio Kick Up

What do you do when you’re strapped for time at home or in the gym? Is it worth it to still get that daily workout in even if you only have fifteen minutes? Totally. Many studies have proven that shorter bouts of exercise can be more beneficial for not only weight-loss, but adherence. This is a big reason why our program embraces the thermal walk. Fifteen minutes at breakfast, lunch, and dinner and you’ve already kicked up your cardio.

I don’t know about you, but I’m always trying to mix up the normal routine and break up the monotony of cardio workouts. At times, it becomes more enjoyable with a specific interval workout than to simply hit long duration workouts. Interval training benefits us by rapidly increasing our aerobic fitness level, building muscle, and prevents us from hitting plateaus. With that said, kick up your cardio routine with this quick three round treadmill workout.

*Modify the intensity with power walking or no weight on the squat thrusters.

Three Rounds for Time:

  • 60 Seconds Treadmill, Challenging Pace, 5% Grade or Less
  • 15 Squat Thrusters (Choice Weight)
  • 15 Dumbbell Swings (Same Weight as Thrusters)
  • RECOVER 90 Seconds to 3 minutes in between rounds



Do What You Love

H3 Guests on a recent kayaking excursion

As February (Heart Health Month) draws to a close, I wanted to write about something heart-related.  In my last blog post about boosting emotional energy, I encouraged you to do something fun.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t been doing too well with that goal lately.  It’s harder than it sounds. 

Another emotional energy booster involves doing something you love to do.  When you’re doing something you’re passionate about, you gain energy, time passes quickly, and the activity seems easy—almost effortless, sometimes.  I consider myself blessed to be doing what I love to do, both at work and in my animal rescue volunteer work. 

Sometimes the “shoulds” get in the way of doing what you love to do.  Recently I was talking with an H3 guest about her fitness activities during her stay.  She was planning to go to a particular fitness class that day, although she really hadn’t enjoyed it the day before.  She felt that she “should” take that class because she would burn a lot of calories.  When I asked her what she wanted to do that day, she immediately said she wanted to spend the day in the pool and riding her bike.  Her whole face lit up and her energy level was visibly higher.  When you are doing something you love, you will look forward to it and be more likely to stick with it over the long haul.  Isn’t that really your goal? 

If your “shoulds” tend to get in your way, ask yourself “What do I want to do today?”  Be sure to ask whether that activity will help you reach your goals.  If your answer is “I want to lie on the couch all day and eat bon bons,” those behaviors probably won’t help you reach your healthy lifestyle goals.  Perhaps a better question is “what do I want to do today that will help me take good care of myself?”  Your answer may involve physical activity, or it may involve a little rest or fun/play.  I hope you will spend the rest of Heart Health Month doing something you love.



In Case You Missed It…

Last night, we witnessed the incredible stories of Ronnie and Debbie.  All gathered together in Hilton Head at the local movie theater to celebrate the premier of the Hilton Head Health episodes; everyone feeling privileged to have been a part of these two journeys.  Ronnie and Debbie were sure to capture your heart – both filled with kindness and charm.  Both kept us laughing and of course there were tears, but most of all we felt proud for everything they accomplished.  They are only two of the twelve amazing personalities that you will see throughout the next six weeks – so be sure to stay tuned.

If you missed last night’s episode – you can view it on the A&E Heavy website.  Plus watch a handful of bonus clips where you have the opportunity to witness a typical day for Ronnie, Ronnie’s surprise dinner for his wife Cara, Debbie play golf with her Dad and see both venture into the real world environment before leaving Hilton Head at a local restaurant. 

We would love to hear what you thought about the episode – leave your comments here or on our Facebook page.  Thanks for all of the support!



Real People, Real Stories: Breaking the Cycle

Mark Zigman_guest bloggerSo here it is! My first H3 blog! I am so excited to be able to be a part of this community and be able to share my motivations, thoughts & ideas, struggles, triumphs, etc. I’m also hoping to be able to help open up discussions between H3 guests (past, present, and future), H3 staff, and myself. You know – the entire H3 family! Real informative topics from those of us on the same journey. Although I love all the groups and friends we all have in common on social media sites, such as Facebook, that really isn’t the arena for the tougher or more personal topics.

The H3 Daily blog is already here for us and has successfully started to facilitate and distribute great information. But without US contributing, the current bloggers may never really know what topics we would like to talk about. So I urge you fellow alumni to please join in! Please comment and post! Please volunteer as guest bloggers! Let’s keep this community active! We are all in this together! The support and energy we see when at H3 can and should continue when we depart! This is the right place! And in my personal journey, it’s never been a better time!!

Well it kind of hit me when I read my little bio because it made me realize something – It said I was down 90 pounds since my first visit in 2005. Although that’s entirely true, what’s missing is the in between. I came in July of 2005 and between then and the Holidays had lost 80 pounds. Very exciting! Then, by July 2008 I had gained it all back and returned to H3. Again, same thing! By the Holidays I had lost 85 pounds! I felt fantastic! However, by October of 2010 was I back to the original weight again. So for the accountants and math experts reading this, I’m down 255 pounds since my first visit in 2005 and up 165 along the way for the net of 90 pounds down.

What is this cycle?  That’s the million-dollar question for sure! And one I believe we all face. So the good news is I’m on the down side again, 90 pounds since October! And the even better news is I’m feeling much better about this entire process this time! What’s different? Well that’s exactly what I would like to share with you here on these blog entries, but ask you for your input and conversation as well.

Personally I have focused on a few of what I’ll call key success factors. Each of my blogs will talk about these observations and what I am doing to adhere to them.  These are as follows and in no particular order:

Planning – As we all learned at H3, planning for carrying on your program at home is definitely a key to obtaining your goals.

Seeking and Providing Support – This is the common thing we all are facing. It is different for each of us (well we think it is different for each of us) and in my case I thought that no one could understand. Once I started sharing and listening to others, low and behold, we are all trying to say the same underlying thing. The events or circumstances are different, but the core issue seems to be the same! All or Nothing! Why?

Recording and Measurement – Journal, Journal, Journal. Writing down everything has be a huge part of what I’m doing differently this time.  Good news is that I’m a techie. So I’m here to help you all out with this! I’ll share with you how I’m keeping track of all this data. Send me your questions!

Research – Information is everywhere. Find it! In fact, if you’re reading this, you are already at an amazing site for information. is a great place to start. In upcoming posts, I’m hoping to be able to share what I find and ask that each of you contribute! This is our blog – our space. Let’s use it!

Relaxation – The key here is to find what works for you, but listen to your body on those days where it’s extra sore.  Since thinking through this, my injuries have all but disappeared and my progress has never been better. Oh and I’m not talking about soreness. That will always be there! Thoughts?

Check back next week as I look forward to diving deeper into each of the above topics.  I know they are the key to what keep me going every day.  I hope to hear from you all very soon – and please don’t wait for me, go ahead and run with them…let’s discuss! 

~ Mark



The Time Has Finally Arrived!

Ronnie beforeTonight, Monday, February 21st, marks the first of the Hilton Head episodes of A&E’s HEAVY.  Tonight you will have the opportunity to witness the transformations of Ronnie and Debbie.  At 45-years-old and weighing 446 pounds, Ronnie is engaged to be married to the love of his life, Cara. Unfortunately, Ronnie’s weight is keeping them from realizing their dream of the perfect beach wedding. Tired of waiting for his life to begin again, Ronnie is ready to take off the weight and become the husband Cara deserves.

Debbie beforeDebbie is 44-years-old and weighs 401 pounds. She never has had a date, or a full time job, and is still financially dependant on her parents. Sick of living on the sidelines, just watching her life go by, she is ready to make the change. At her age, she realizes–it’s now or never.

If you were here last year, you likely met one or both of these amazing individuals at some point during their stay – and now here’s your opportunity to see their entire journey!  Be sure to tune into A&E at 10/9C tonight!

Click here to watch a preview of tonight’s show!



Coaching Corner: Pace Your Race

Wellness CoachingLast weekend, I participated in the 9th annual Hilton Head Half Marathon. It marked the fourth time that I had ever gone the 13.1 mile distance. Now a week later, I look back on the event and I’m almost astonished by how far I’ve come as a competitive runner. Over the course of a year, I have improved my Half Marathon PR (personal record) by over 30 minutes. Reason to celebrate? No doubt.

I seem to connect every race with life experiences, and last weekend was full of them. The race began with not only individuals participating in the 13.1 mile mark, but the 5K and 10K runners/walkers as well. As I ran the race, I broke it up into pieces. As the 5K runners dropped back, I switched my focus to the 10K turn around. After the 10K runners fell off, I said to myself “Let’s get up and over the Cross Island Bridge.” At the Half Marathon turn around (mile 7), I was neck and neck with the 1st place finisher and then my shoe came untied (Yes, the one I triple knotted). I thought – how could this come untied at this point in the race? If I stop and tie the flashy yellow shoe, I’ll surely drop behind leaders.   

So what did I do? I continued to run. An untied shoe was an obstacle, but hey it was only 5 more miles. My pace did not slow. I unrelentingly broke up each portion of the race. Remaining in 4th place, I kept the 3rd place runner in my sight. Thinking – just two more miles, I’ll catch him before the end.  As the last mile closed in, my pace continued and I soared past him into third place. The younger runner couldn’t sustain his original speed. He had miss-paced his race. As I cruised into the finish, Hilton Head Health guests greeted me with praise. They celebrated my success and were astonished with my endurance. As a runner and in our lifestyle races, it’s paramount to celebrate accomplishments. I essentially broke down the race and coached myself to success. This brought my mind to Lisa Delaney.

Five years ago Lisa Delaney was 70 pounds overweight when she took her first step onto a dusty track in Austin, Texas. At that time, Lisa expressed she was ‘a girl who ate until her tummy hurt, someone who never passed up seconds’. That night, on the track, Lisa felt as though she didn’t belong, but at the same time she COACHED herself to take it easy (PACE). Lisa ended up running 4 laps, an entire mile. For her it was as if she had crossed the finish line four times. Each lap she took was a cause for CELEBRATION. Each becoming another reason for her to believe, maybe I can do this? Running was showing Lisa that she could BREAK IT UP into small achievable goals.

In the very beginning, Lisa did not worry as much about her nutrition and kept her focus on running. Within a year she dropped eight sizes, quit her dead end job, and practiced saying no to other people and yes to herself. Lisa is now down to 115 pounds and has remained there for 20 years. She still experiences “Rock Star moments” after an early morning 6-miler and celebrates the finish line feeling that resonates in her head and her heart. To learn more about Lisa’s Journey check out her article on Shedding the Past.

Often, it makes more sense to take it one lap at time, one healthy meal, and one half pound loss each week. As you make changes in your lifestyle race, ask yourself these questions from time to time.

Each week what were your best experiences? Celebrate Success.
How did your weekly plan sustain? Pace Appropriately.
What are the steps you’ve taken? Break it Up.
How did you keep the fire burning? Coach Yourself.



Friday Fitness: Tread it Out

5 Min Treading Intervals – (50min Workout Moderate Intensity)

 1-5:                  Flat Walk (Incline @ 2-Warm-up)

5-10:                Advanced Hill Climb (Incline above 8 )

10-15:              Moderate Walk (Incline @ 2)

15-20:              Hill Power Walk/Jog (Incline @5, increase speed each minute)

20-25:              Moderate Walk (Incline @ 2)

25-30:              Hill Power Walk/Jog (Incline @ 8, increase speed each minute)

30-35:              Moderate Walk (Incline @ 2)

35:40:              Hill Power Walk/Jog (Incline @ 10, increase speed each minute)

40-45:              Advanced Hill Climb (Incline above 8 )

45-50:              Flat Walk (Incline @ 2- Cool down)



Wright from the Source: Is Diet Soda Bad for You?

H3 Director of Education, Bob Wright, weighs in on a hot topic – one where the battle lines are just being drawn…

What are your thoughts?  Watch this video for more information about the study.

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