Des Moines native Rebecca Meyer, the at-home winner from season eight of &ldquo;Biggest Loser,&rdquo; speaks about her journey with weight loss during Monday&rsquo;s Heart to Heart program in Manning. <span style="font-size: xx-small;"><em>Daily Times Herald photo by Betsy Simon</em></span>
Des Moines native Rebecca Meyer, the at-home winner from season eight of “Biggest Loser,” speaks about her journey with weight loss during Monday’s Heart to Heart program in Manning. Daily Times Herald photo by Betsy Simon
Tuesday, February 7, 2012

MANNING — Iowa native Rebecca Meyer opened up Monday at the Hausbarn Konferenz Centre in Manning about her struggles with weight and the successes that followed her time as a “Biggest Loser” contestant at Manning Regional Healthcare Center’s Heart to Heart community conversation.

Meyer, who started Season 8 of the “Biggest Loser” at 279 pounds, was eliminated after 10 weeks. She went on to lose a total of 141 pounds and was named the season’s  $100,000 at-home winner, and shared valuable advice she learned with the audience.

“I just wanted to be normal, but you can’t compare yourself to others. You have to figure out what your normal is,” she said. “Don’t fall for the clichés. It’s about the getting to the style in which you get to live your life, but you have to get out of your own way to be your own normal. That’s my favorite saying”

Like Meyer’s former self, nearly one-third of U.S. adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nationally, another 17 percent, or 12.5 million children and adolescents, ages 2-19, are also obese.

While childhood obesity rates have stabilized, adult obesity rates continue to climb. There are 38 states that have adult obesity rates higher than 25 percent, including Iowa.

The Hawkeye State’s 27.6 percent adult obesity rate is the 22nd highest in the nation. Mississippi has the highest adult obesity rate at 33.8 percent and Colorado has the lowest adult obesity rate at 19.1 percent.

“This is an easy topic to talk about because it impacts all of us or someone that we know,” said Manning Regional Hospital certified physician assistant Ryan Sharp, who informed the audience of the extensive damage excessive weight can have on the human body. “Our weight-bearing joints take the biggest hit, especially our knees.”

Joint pain Meyer suffered was one reason she looked to lose weight on national TV, where her public struggle with weight in 2009 led her to becoming an advocate for the fight with adult obesity.

Since her exit from “The Biggest Loser,” she continues to be a model for good fitness as an International Sports and Conditioning Association (ISCA) certified personal trainer.

She also developed FitnessWright-Now, LLC with Daniel Wright – her fiancé and fellow “Biggest Loser” season 8 contestant, who accompanied Meyer on her trip and joined the question-and-answer session.

Possibly Meyer’s biggest self-imposed challenge since leaving “The Biggest Loser” is her 30 in 30 by 50 Challenge, in which she has challenged herself to participate in a fitness event in all 50 states by her 30th birthday on March 14.

“You have to set yourself up for success and that you are worth the time and effort,” she said. “I ran the Boston Marathon not too long ago. It was five hours of straight running, and the reason I became a runner started in about week three or four on the (Biggest Loser) ranch. I decided one day that I was going to get this running thing down, and I knew that if I believed in myself I could do it.

“Remember, weight loss and getting fit is more mental than physical. I wouldn’t be standing here and talking to you today if I hadn’t learned to overcome my challenges, mentally. To be ready for changes with weight loss, you have to be ready to start competing in your own life.”