October 9, 2008

Lose Big Here, Win Big in Vegas?

By Dave Heun

Push the sweets aside, put on your exercise shoes and turn off the TV - unless a motivating exercise program is on.

Elaine Rud of Batavia used that formula to prove reality TV actually can inspire and, in her case, pave the way for losing 23 1/ 2 pounds.

That was enough for Rud to come out the winner in a workplace version of "The Biggest Loser," the reality show contest promoting weight loss, which apparently has sprouted similar contests in many workplaces and fitness centers.

Rud can boast of her weight loss over a 16-week period and raking in the $300 that was at stake for the winner of the contest. About 20 employees at Park Site in Batavia entered the contest, which actually awarded the winner based on a percentage of loss weight - the same criteria used on the TV show.

"I was very religious about my workouts, and I was following a Weight Watchers diet online," said the 38-year-old Rud, whose loss percentage was 13.68 and has her at 145 1/2 pounds now.

More importantly, Rud feels she has now embraced a healthier lifestyle.

"It's become a big part of my lifestyle," says Rud, who works out at the Batavia Park District fitness classes at least three times a week.

Rud also can view her accomplishment as her own special Mother's Day gift today, as the result has benefited her children as well.

"I just feel so good now, and I am so much more active with my kids," she said.

And she'll soon be active in one of the country's most active places. Rud is literally going to take the money she won and fly - to Las Vegas on a weekend trip with a girlfriend.

"The Biggest Loser is such a motivating show," Rud said. "I've weighed less or the same before, but this time the exercise has made me stronger and leaner."

Another big loser: The Waubonsee Community College fitness center recently had a Winning by Losing weight loss contest, and Norma Montanez of Aurora came out the winner.

She was proclaimed the "Biggest Loser" in the contest by shedding 16 pounds in six weeks - and went down two pant sizes in the process.

The fitness center also benefited from the publicity the program garnered, as some who joined had not previously known a fitness center even existed on the college's Sugar Grove campus.

When something this popular unfolds, you can count on it being offered again - much like a popular TV show such as "The Biggest Loser" being renewed for more seasons.

Closing their doors: I was in for a couple of unpleasant surprises last week. I stopped at Bud's Sports Eatery in St. Charles to watch a Cubs game with a friend, only to find the place empty and shut down.

Then, I had an invitation from my financial consultant to attend a dinner at the new Fahrenheit restaurant in St. Charles, so I stopped there to take a peek at the menu. And it was closed.

Bud's is gone, but the owners of that business have opened the "Turf Room" at Orchard and Randall roads with a similar sports bar theme, with an emphasis on horse racing. The owners of the building that housed Bud's are hoping to announce a new restaurant leasing the site within the next week or two, but they told me if that plan falls through, they would consider subdividing it for various businesses.

City economic development manager Brian Pabst said no matter what happens, he would like to see the facade of that building spruced up as part of a future deal.

As for Fahrenheit, which had earned rave reviews, no one seems certain as to what happened and why. The closing fuels speculation that its location on the west side didn't fit its mold as a pricey, upscale restaurant, and it might have been better served as a new spot along the revitalized First Street in the future.

For Sage, charity: TriCity Family Services is rescheduling its golf outing fund-raiser for September, as it appeared the poor economy and extended cool and wet spring didn't have enough people in the mood for an early May golf outing.

But the agency is joining with Salvation Army, CASA-Kane County and Lazarus House in benefiting from the opening of the Sage restaurant (formerly Erik and Me) in St. Charles.

The grand opening will feature food samplings from the restaurant and live entertainment. The festivities are from 5 to 8 p.m. May 18, and those interested in supporting these community organizations can get in on the fun for a minimum $20 per person donation that will help fund these great agencies that serve the Tri-Cities.

Singer/songwriter Pat Schiller of Geneva, whom I have highlighted in a past column, will provide some live entertainment.

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