A good news story

Today’s title reminds me of one of those stupid Rick Moranis movies… “Honey, I shrunk the family”. Oh well.

As you may or may not know, I work on a television show here in Australia called 9AM on the Ten Network. It screens nationally every weekday morning from 9 – 11 am. I am the resident on-air fitness bloke and I do my best to cover a broad range of subject matter which will be of value and interest to as many people as possible. A few months ago my producer (the lovely Becky Zack) came up with the notion of doing a family fitness make-over, with the idea being that I would work with a family which was in need of a little shaping up. Or perhaps a lot of shaping up. I would spend time with them and create an overall strategy to change their diet, their lifestyle habits, their exercise habits, their thinking, their pantry contents and of course, their bodies. One of my trainers and I would also work with them in the gym, taking them through numerous workouts and I would give them unlimited access to my centre and facilities outside of their set training times.

The Bulte family wins…. me!

Well, it happened. Families were asked to write in to the show and state their case as to why they were the clan most in need of some Craig love, some body renovating and some lifestyle overhauling. We had letters and emails from hundreds of families from all over the country but the decision makers finally settled on the Bulte family from Victoria. And what a great bunch they are; Darryl and Kerry (the folks), Guy (17) Jenelle (15), Monique (14) and Makayla (11). While Guy and Makayla were fit and trim, the other four were in need of a little… modifying.

I’ve done things similar to this concept before and I gotta say, it’s kind of a high-risk exercise from a credibility point of view. Especially on national television. What happens if I give them the education, the motivation, the support and all the resources but they simply don’t do it? What happens if we give the concept a whole heap of publicity and then they throw in the towel after two weeks? What if their attitude sucks? What if they leave the gym after each workout and head straight for the golden arches? Well fortunately for all of us, they didn’t. They have been perfect students and their report cards have been amazing.

Considering surgery

Kerry, Darryl, Jenelle and Monique all needed to lose weight, with Jenelle needing to drop the most. At 109 kilos (240lbs), fifteen year-old Jenelle’s weight was a major health concern. So much so that the week before they entered the competition, she had attended an information evening on gastric bypass surgery. With the support of her concerned parents, she was seriously considering the surgical option, having tried unsuccessfully to lose weight many times before. Well, I’m sure glad she didn’t have that operation and now, so is she.

In the ten weeks that I’ve been working with the Bulte family they have managed to completely turn their lives around. Different diet, different habits different mindset and different bodies.

A peek at their progress so far:

Darryl (bottom right) - minus 20 kgs (44 lbs)
Kerry (bottom left) - minus 9 kgs (20 lbs)
Jenelle (white shirt) - minus 16 kgs (35 lbs) – no surgery for this girl!
Monique (top right) – minus 11 kgs (24 lbs)

Total weight loss: 56 kgs (123 lbs)

How great is that? Every day I get asked about the secret to the Bulte family’s amazing transformation and when I say that they have simply done what I asked them to do (eat less, move more and be consistent), my response is often met with disappointment. No, it’s not an exciting strategy but it’s an effective one! It’s seems that the enquirer is usually hoping for some miracle, quick-fix secret to come from my lips. Sorry Dude, no magic here. Just some sweat, some hard work and some great attitudes.

Change your psychology to change your physiology

While the physical transformations have been great, what has impressed me the most is their collective mindset. These guys are in the zone. Get your head in shape and your body will follow. Even Jenelle who “just couldn’t lose weight” has it falling off her. Not because all of a sudden she has any more ability, but because her thinking and her attitude have totally changed. As I have said squillions of times, getting in shape and staying that way is more about our head than it is about our body.

The future

We know that ten weeks ain’t a lifetime but our family is well on their way. While I’m very proud of them for what they’ve done in ten weeks, I’m much more interested in what they do over the next ten years. My official commitment with the family finishes in a couple of weeks but I have decided to continue working with young Jenelle indefinitely. I believe she could lose the best part of 45 kgs (100 lbs) and I’m going to help her get there. I’ll keep you updated on their progress.

Well done, Bulte family.

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