Dana Littleton in Oprah Magazine
The O Health Challenge, a Year Later
32, full-time mother from Guntersville, Alabama
Pounds Lost: 114
The Inspiration: "On a cold January day, I picked up an O magazine - and had a ‘yes!’ moment," says Littleton. The next morning at 5 a.m., she stepped onto her unused Nordic Track and never looked back. "I believe that if Jesus can save the world from sin, he could surely help me lose my rear end."
Strategies: She started working out on the Nordic Track for an hour every morning, added Rollerblading on weekends and, now, running - a sport she never thought she'd be able to handle. Her diet had been so poor ("I literally ate chocolate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner") that her change to healthy eating shocked her body into rapid weight loss. Every 30 pounds or so, she would reward herself - say, with a piece of cake. "I don't feel I've been on a diet, but that I've changed my lifestyle. I am no longer hungry for food; I am now hungry for life."
Side Effects: Adjusting to her new figure has been unexpectedly difficult - the remaining "flaws" (the extra little fat on the thighs, for instance, now that her abs and arms are toned) are more frustrating.
The Reward: "I am actually smaller than I was on my wedding day," she says with amazement, "which has done wonders for my marriage and our health as a family."
Commitment to Regular Exercise and Healthy Eating
Last January O issued readers a challenge: Don't just say you're going to get in shape, we urged - put it in writing. The idea was to sign a contract with yourself committing to regular exercise, healthy food choices, and nutritional - rather than emotional - eating. To make it easier, we provided the agreement that helped Oprah drop 33 pounds, designed by her trainer, Bob Greene, author of Get with the Program! and, now, Get with the Program! Guide to Fast Food and Family Restaurants.
Many women, Greene points out, are great at making commitments to friends, family, colleagues or their dog. When it comes to themselves, though, often they find ways to sabotage their efforts. The contract stops all that in its tracks. "It states right up front, 'I am going to honor myself'," says Greene. "Signing it is a lot more powerful than just saying you're going to do something - it helps make your decision sacred."
The response was phenomenal. More than 12,000 of you sent in your contracts, promising to improve your diets and increase your fitness efforts. When Oprah saw them pouring in, she grabbed Greene and said, "Let's call some of these people!" Plucking envelopes at random, the two of them got on the phone and started punching numbers like crazy. More than a few stunned readers received a personal "Go for it."
A year later, thousands of pounds have been shed, and for many of the people to whom those pounds formerly belonged, life has changed. In this issue, we report on some of the most dramatic stories - what worked, the inevitable trouble spots, insights gained, strategies learned. And we asked Greene to call a few women who faltered - and get them up and running again.
To everyone who signed on the dotted line last January, and to those who decide to do a contract this year, congratulations!