Hard to believe that we are gearing up for our third year of The Challenge. Harder to believe than that is the fact that I haven’t regained all those pounds I’ve lost.
Some people say that’s a good thing. (“Some people” being defined as my wife, my daughters, my heart doc, my regular doc, people who know me well and generally anyone I have much contact with.)
For those not familiar with The Challenge, here’s the scoop and why it might be important to you. First off, it’s a local version of The Biggest Loser television show – or a group of people who go through a workout program and compete to see who can lose the most weight. Our twist is that we raise money while we do it with the proceeds going to a good cause – this year our community’s youth through an expanded Newspapers in Education program and a swimming program to teach potentially life-saving skills to deserving youth. The Challenge ’17 winner, or the person who loses the largest percentage of their body weight, walks away with $500 cash money!
And yes, that could be you.
But this year, the $500 isn’t even the biggest prize.
So let me start at the beginning. The Paper of Montgomery County created The Challenge back in 2014. We partnered with the great folks at Athena Sport & Fitness. And it wasn’t long until Franciscan Health joined in, as have several other smaller sponsors. Together we have helped a couple dozen people get healthier while raising more than $20,000 for the good of the community.
We’re now opening up roster spots for the next Challenge. Should you be interested? Absolutely! Here’s why!
1. Franciscan, for the very first time, is adding cardiology, to the mix. There will be professional nutrition and general health advice from Franciscan Health and Franciscan Physician Network dieticians and cardiologists.
2. You get a 10-week membership at Athena Sport & Fitness.
3. You receive 20 individualized training sessions with a certified personal trainer (on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30).
4. Participants (and their significant others) begin with a healthy introductory dinner at the hospital where professional dieticians, medical staff and trainers not only explain how this can be a life-changing experience, but how important that it is and the role you and your significant other play in it.
And the last two reasons are as simple as this: Every single bit of the above is free and, even more importantly, it can change your life.
Look, I know how that sounds. And the reality is that it may not change your life at all. But it certainly has with others.
I won’t try to tell you that every participant has walked away with a new lease on life. Truth to tell, I don’t know about every single one. What I do know, though, is my own experience. The reality is that I went from tipping the scales at more than 300 pounds to around 215. Do I feel better? You bet. My knees and feet don’t hurt like they used to. I have energy. I am happier. And without a doubt the best part is that my cardiologist gave me a big, ol’ thumbs up when I went in for a two-year check up for a heart condition I have called cardiomyopathy.
Believe me when I tell you, if I can change, anyone can.
We only have room at the most for 10 men and 10 women. We could end up with less but that’s the maximum we’ll take. I hope you will consider it and I hope that you have the same or even better results than I did.
The ad we’re running says it all: What do you have to lose? The answer is, a lot!

Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Tuesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at ttimmons@thepaper24-7.com.