Adopting healthier habits can bring a person to tears but the payoffs are numerous, as some Eagle County residents recently learned.
After the Gypsum Recreation Center wrapped up its first year of the 12-Week Full-Body Makeover program and its third year of the Biggest Loser program, GRC Manager Scott Ruff highlighted some top-placing participants who might offer inspiration to others.
Ruff said the Biggest Loser program costs less and participants work toward their goals more independently while the 12-Week Makeover is more expensive and includes the service of a personal trainer, nutritionist and life coach.
"When I started, I was frustrated," said Geneva McGervey of Eagle-Vail, who won the 12-Week Full-Body Makeover program by losing 11 pounds and 11.5 inches. "Curbing the appetite was tough - I cried one week into the program but I stuck with it and it became easier."
McGervey's prize is a 90-minute massage, manicure and pedicure from Elements A Day Spa at 1140 Capitol St. in Eagle.
McGervey, 53, commuted to Gypsum for the program because her brother and sister live there.
"It's important to have someone to do this with," she said. "It helps with support."
McGervey said she was already getting lots of exercise but never did anything with nutrition before the program.
"I think of it like rehab," she said. "Once you learn how to eat well, it's a lot easier."
The Biggest Loser was Worth Whitley, who lost 41 pounds and won a nine-month membership to a GRC fitness class. He was an inspiration to runner-up Peg Blakely of Gypsum, who lost 29 pounds and won a six-month membership to a GRC fitness class.
"He really motivated me," Blakely said.
What sparked her interest in the class was a frightening moment when she thought she was having a heart attack. It turned out to be an arrhythmia but it got her thinking.
"It scared me and affected my grown boys, who were scared for me and also mad at me," said the 64-year-old.
The program helped her redefine her habits and desires.
"I've come to enjoy exercise where I didn't before," Blakely said. "Now I miss it if I don't get to do it for a day or two. It put me in a new routine."
She said her daughter-in-law is a fitness coach and was her cheerleader during the program, which radically changed her diet and exercise.
"It was basically a detox process in the beginning," she said. "I cut out carbohydrates and sugars. I used to drink a green tea beverage everyday and then I found out how bad it actually was. Now, if I don't overload on sugar, bananas and carrots taste really sweet."
On the fitness end, Blakely said when she started on the elliptical machine she could barely do it for five minutes.
"Now I do 40 minutes," she said. "The exercise changed from feeling like an obligation to a desire. It really helped to be at the gym with other motivated people."