They're back!

In February 2007, six people signed up to radically change their lives as part of Bob Greene's Best Life Weight Loss Challenge.

First, the "six-pack"—Tracy, Melissa, Bill, LaToya, Barbara and Tori— underwent a battery of tests to assess their physical health and commitment to exercise.

In May, the challengers were back. They went with Bob on a health retreat, and we checked in to get a mid-challenge update . The results were mixed—some embraced healthy changes early, while others struggled to get in gear.

Now they've reached the finish line and Bob couldn't be happier with their hard work and fearless public struggles. "Everyone had different results from a weight loss standpoint. But I think across the board, everyone here had a revelation inside and made some changes," Bob says. "It's more about inside. If you start to [think], 'Oh, I'll be happy when I'm this weight,' that's when problems start because one of two outcomes: You never reach that weight and you're not happy, or you reach that weight and realize it had nothing to do with your happiness."
Barbara, now

Fifty-year-old Barbara wasn't only overweight and addicted to food—she had a 30-year-old addiction to cigarettes, too.

Now she's lost a total of 17 pounds and five inches from her waist, and says she has given up smoking for good.

Bob says Barbara's weight loss challenge had an even higher degree of difficulty than merely starting healthy habits—quitting smoking actually lowers your metabolism. "It's very difficult to quit smoking and drop weight in the same year," Bob says. "You were able to do both, so congratulations!"
LaToya, now

LaToya got off to a slow start. She'd only lost six pounds at the first weigh-in. But after stepping up her exercise, she's lost 19 pounds and 10 inches.

"This was revolutionary for me to take a step back and really listen to what others were saying to me," LaToya says. "I got moving. I joined a boot camp in Brooklyn, New York, and they have me doing push-ups and all kinds of craziness. And I do it now and I love it. So I finally found an exercise that I actually love and look forward to getting up at 5:30 in the morning to work out."
Melissa, now

When former beauty queen Melissa began the Best Life Weight Loss Challenge, she had to confront secrets in her life—she was a stay-at-home mom who admitted to checking out of life and drowning her pain in junk food.

Since the kick-off, Melissa's lost 25 pounds and three dress sizes, and gained a new outlook. "I have a physical reaction to fattening food and I can't calm down until I eat it. But I've identified that I can have that same physical reaction to a massage or a walk or a pedicure," she says. "I hit my goal. I ran as long as I wanted to on Saturday, around 6.2 miles, and that was so energizing to me. And then it all falls into place—I'm healthier mentally when I'm physically exercising and I'm eating right. It goes hand in hand."
Tori, now

Tori began with a lightbulb moment. "I just put so much emphasis on my family, on everybody else," she said. "I forgot about me."

Since starting the Best Life Weight Loss Challenge, she has lost 33 pounds and 6 inches from her waist.

"I've learned it's about balance in my life," Tori says. "Balance with my mind, balance with my body, balance with my soul."
Bill, now

When the Best Life Weight Loss Challenge started, Bill was so out of shape, doctors almost pulled him from the program. His high blood pressure was in part caused by his high-stress job—which, ironically, is managing the five gyms he owns.

Now Bill has lost 71 pounds—the most among the six challengers—and no longer needs his medications. "I feel great," he says. "For me, the numbers on the cholesterol and the blood pressure [tests] and getting rid of the medication, that's bigger than the weight. It's the health."

Bob explains that men tend to lose weight faster than women because of the hormonal advantage in the way testosterone acts on fat. "Women almost have to be perfect. A woman has to be active at least five to six days a week," he says. "Men can get away with three or four times a week and have even better results."
Tracy, now

Tracy was fiercely determined to make the Best Life Weight Loss Challenge work. Today she has lost 63 pounds and 8 inches off her waist.

Bob says her transformation really surprised him. At the beginning of the program, Tracy said she hated exercise, and Bob thought she would have trouble really losing weight with this aversion. Yet during her journey, Tracy had a revelation about her relationship with exercise…and with her parents. She says her active parents often gave her grief about being inactive.

When she was able to overcome that, she became much more active and even ran her first 5K race!
Best Life-approved items

To salute and continue to inspire the Best Life Diet weight loss challengers and other amazing weight loss winners, Oprah and Bob have a surprise in store. All are receiving a treadmill, an elliptical trainer or home gym from Life Fitness—the same exercise equipment at the Harpo Studios gym! "I love this equipment," Oprah says. "I work out on this stuff every day."

To jump-start future weight loss success stories, the audience received the book The Best Life Diet by Bob Greene, a year's subscription to, and a basket of Best Life Diet-approved items, including:

Yoplait Yogurt; 8th Continent Soymilk; Progresso Reduced Sodium Minestrone Soup; Green Giant Frozen Cut Leaf Spinach; Cascadian Farm Frozen Strawberries; Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes; Cheerios; Pop Secret 94 Percent Fat Free Butter Popcorn; Bertolli Extra Virgin olive oil; Hellmann's Cholesterol-Free Canola Mayonnaise; Wishbone Spritzer Red Wine Mist; Lipton Black Pearl Pyramid Tea; Slim-Fast Optima Shake; Barilla Plus Pasta; WASA Crispbread; Flatout Healthy Grains; Lean Cuisine Spa Cuisine; Skinny Cow Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich; Libby's Canned Pure Pumpkin; Mushrooms; Grapefruit; One-A-Day Women's Multivitamin.

Find inspiration from more amazing weight loss stories!

Get more health and weight loss advice.
FROM: The Woman Who Lost 530 Pounds
Published on November 28, 2007


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