I am a CNN Fit Nation alumna. I completed the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in 2013 with my Fit Nation teammates. But my journey to health really started more than two years ago.
Tackling your first triathlon? Even the best triathletes in the world started somewhere -- and made their share of rookie mistakes.
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be able to say, "I've run a 5K."
If you're a runner, you've probably been told you "should do yoga."
Only a few short months ago, I was a spectator.
Fear is something that consumes all of us at one time or another. What matters is whether you let your fear control you or parts of your decision-making? And if so, is fear something we can improve upon?
The CNN Fit Nation "Sassy Six" reach their midway point for the 2014 Nautica Malibu triathlon.
For years, I avoided scales. In fact, the only time I got on one was at a doctor's office or during a weight-loss challenge I had joined (yet again).
There I was, having an epiphany. I had just run close to 3 miles with my 24-year-old son, and wishing I had been in better shape to enjoy more activities with my kids when they were younger.
I am 52 years old.
It's hard to know where to begin when you start a new sport -- and in the case of triathlon, you're starting three.
Fit Nation's Jamil Nathoo, a cancer survivor, learns exercises from sports medicine physician Jordan Metzl.
Cue the music.
At my heaviest, I weighed 268 pounds.
One day last September, I stumbled upon an article about retired NFL linemen who were struggling with their weight. A study mentioned in the article showed the life expectancy for those former linemen was significantly shorter than their normal weight peers.
At 400 pounds I had little self-confidence. I measured my value not by my abilities but by the number of pounds on a scale.
I've never understood how someone can eat just one Oreo.
There's not enough time.
The doctor's words -- "You won't be able to run again" -- ran through my mind, again and again.
Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian and nutritionist for the Chicago Cubs, is trying to change the meaning of the phrase, "Treat yo'self."
Today is my chemo anniversary. A year ago today, I started chemotherapy.
There I am, a respiratory care coordinator at the hospital, taking care of a man who weighs more than 400 pounds.
Obesity rates in children 2 to 5 years old have decreased significantly over the past decade, according to a new study published Tuesday.
I was diagnosed with diabetes 12 years ago.
Every detail was planned out that afternoon.
I was introduced to pop -- soda for you Southerners -- at a young age.
Mario Colao jolted out of bed at 3 in the morning. He was covered in sweat, his left arm was completely numb and his heart was pounding violently.
The CNN Fit Nation team gets a chance to workout with the Atlanta Hawks' basketball development team during kickoff week
Just what did I get myself into?
In the end, a coupon changed Torrie Creamer's life.
As I waited in the cafe at Lifetime Athletics in Atlanta, the sound of laughter filtered through the front door.
Gabi Rose wore maternity clothes for more than 12 years.
The 2014 CNN Fit Nation team kicks off their journey to train for and race in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in September
Motivation is a tricky thing. We need it in every aspect of our lives: to get up in the morning and go to work, to start (and finish) that 10-page paper, to do laundry after a long day.
Heather Kern's heart had raced ever since she was 11.
Luke Cox used to be an athlete. But a year ago, no one would have called him that.
Followers of the Paleo Diet may go prehistoric on U.S. News & World Report this week. The publication has ranked the controversial diet last on its "Best Diets Overall" list for 2014.
With the one-track mind of a 6-year-old, Logan interrogated his mother, Jenny Spencer.
Running just might be the most convenient workout going. You don't need to be a skilled athlete, and there's no fancy equipment involved; just lace up your sneaks and go.
Fit Nation athlete and Colorado prison warden retires after 25 years
The phone call was short, and not at all sweet.
Friends describe Mia Vayner as boisterous, outgoing and passionate. She's not afraid to tell you what she thinks and has a wicked sense of humor.
Matthew Mullins used to regularly show up late to yoga class on purpose.
"Trying to get me to cry by looking at this ugly picture? There are worse ones..."
Rebecca Privitera desperately wanted to lose the excess weight she had carried around her entire life. In 2010, she had the opportunity to do it when her employer organized a company weight loss challenge.
Cholesterol has long been seen as a villain for heart health, but our understanding of this beast is changing. New recommendations suggest that risk factors should determine who should receive drugs called statins to lower cholesterol levels, and who should simply make lifestyle changes to combat the problem.
Kevin Pippen left his father's nursing home knowing he had to make a change.
Stories about weight loss usually have a beginning, middle and end. How did these people gain so much weight? What made them decide to change? And how much do they weigh now?
Dan Hyatt's wife, Shelley, had been worried for a while by the time he hit 337 pounds.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta announces that CNN is now accepting applications for the 2014 Fit Nation Challenge -- CNN.com/FitNation
Alan Gamez remembers the sadness he used to feel just looking in the mirror.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is on the road a lot, whether he's filming a movie in Bulgaria or presenting awards to ridiculously fit people in Spain. So who better to offer tips on working out while traveling?
Two years ago, a single conversation changed my life: My boss told me I needed to lose weight or kiss my job goodbye.
Regina Lopez ran up the stairs near her home in Long Beach, California.
The Fit Nation triathlon team successfully crosses the finish line at the Nautica Malibu Triathlon!
Dion Almaer's career revolves around experimentation. As a software engineer, he's always trying out different approaches to get the best outcomes and running tests to confirm hypotheses.
In the third grade, Marlon Gibson was so overweight his mom had to take him to the men's store to buy his Easter suit.
With less than 48 hours to go before our Fit Nation team tackles its first triathlon in Malibu, California, we asked them to reflect on the past nine months of training. Here are the top five lessons they learned:
Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian and nutritionist for the Chicago Cubs, is trying to change the meaning of the phrase, "Treat yo'self."
The only thing crazier than doing a triathlon -- an ocean swim, a cycle ride along coastal mountains and a long-distance run -- is doing it twice.
When I started the Fit Nation program, I was a big guy. Seven months later, I'm still a big guy.
Kia Horton was thin as a little girl. "Like fit your fingers around (my) ankles skinny," she recalls.
In just a few weeks, the CNN Fit Nation team will join hundreds of others at the starting line of the Nautica Malibu Triathlon. Of course, the ultimate goal is not simply to hear the sound of the starter's gun but also to cross that hallowed finish line.
All that stood between Tim McCarty and the thrill-promising roller coaster was a seat belt. If he could just buckle it, he and his children would zoom to 53 miles an hour in the first three seconds.
It was the day before my 58th birthday. I had decided to end my 57th year doing something that was unthinkable when I turned 57.
Caroline Mickey was sure of several things. She knew she was going to marry Jon Balajthy. She knew she wanted to be a nurse. And she knew she and Balajthy were seriously overweight.
In my life, I've often heard that "comparison is the thief of joy." I never really thought much about it until taking on CNN's Fit Nation challenge.
A picture is worth a thousand words -- but for Christie Morgan, those words weren't worth remembering.
Ryan "Mac" McDonald's friends and family describe him as a teddy bear: charismatic, gentle and unassuming.
Have you ever put on a full-body wetsuit? It takes some time. Lots of pulling, tugging and wriggling around to get it in the perfect position.
Brian McLaughlin used to arrive 20 minutes early to on-site client meetings. He would drive around the parking lot to find a space close to the building, and then go inside to cool off from the short walk. The extra weight he was carrying made him sweat constantly inside his suit.
Flo Meiler is 79 years old. She's a grandmother to five, great-grandmother to two. She's also a pole-vaulting, hurdle-jumping track and field star.
This month, I accomplished another "first" in my life.
Colleen Whiteaker's three eldest daughters looked at her with concern.
When he watches personal trainers work with their clients at the gym he uses, Marqus Taylor often isn't impressed.
"Whoa. How are you going to pull that off?"
Kay and Mike Alexander's journey to obesity is a familiar road for many married couples. Neither was overweight when they met on a coffee break at work. Nor were they obese when they cut their wedding cake, iced with an image of Star Trek's USS Enterprise.
Triathlon has a reputation for being expensive. In fact, the perceived costs are enough to stop some prospective participants from taking up the challenge.
John Moses plays tennis every week. He does push-ups and planks, shoulder presses and squats. He attends group fitness classes at an activity center three times a week, often taking two classes on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Edwin Velez used to have to suck in his stomach in order to tie his shoes. He requested tables at restaurants, rather than booths, and constantly made jokes about himself in order to hide how uncomfortable he was about his physical appearance.
The CNN Fit Nation "6-pack" is keeping busy during these long summer days.
Just two months away from the Nautica Malibu Triathlon, the Fit Nation team is ramping up their training!
When Anne Moyer told her best friend, Diane Ritchie, she was going to lose weight a few years ago, Ritchie politely replied, "Good for you. You'll have to let me know how it works out."
Before I applied for the CNN Fit Nation program, I thought I knew quite a bit about the sport of triathlon. I had volunteered at a few races, helping athletes navigate the courses, and I even witnessed newly crowned world champions crossing the finish line.
Tyrone Garrett's father wasn't around while he was growing up. So when Garrett's girlfriend, Whitney Hammond, told him she was pregnant, he knew he had to make a change.
I'm often called a triathlon champion. I've won four World Ironman championships, which I suppose qualifies me for the title. But in my view, you don't actually become a champion.
Like many Americans, once I hit the big 4-0 I decided it was time to take inventory of my life.
At my heaviest, I weighed 385 pounds. I never dared to dream I could run anywhere, never mind finish a half marathon.
The letter Jacki Monaco wrote was fraught with emotion:
It's a beautiful spring morning in Florida. I'm standing next to my shiny new road bike on the side of a road, weeping.
When I returned home from the Fit Nation Kickoff weekend three months ago, I was tired and overwhelmed, and every muscle in my body ached.
Debbie Benzine lost her first husband to heart disease when he was 44. His death left her to raise a young child alone. For 16 years, she stayed single because, "going through it once was enough for me."
Less cancer treatment may be better, and being in good physical shape may help keep cancer away, according to the latest research being presented at the largest convergence of cancer experts worldwide.
Our CNN Fit Nation "6-Pack" was at the National Training Center in Clermont, Florida, this week for a halfway training trip.
Theresa Borawski sat down heavily on a neighbor's porch, somewhere in between her front door and her good friend's driveway. The distance between the two was less than half a mile. It might as well have been 20.
The Fit Nation "6-Pack" is visiting the National Training Center in Clermont, Florida, this week to learn more about biking, swimming and running. Like many newcomers to the sport of triathlon, they've made some mistakes early on. This trip, halfway through the training, is about fixing those mistakes.
Deidre Robinson's cheeks flushed as two ride attendants tried to push her safety guard into the lock position.
The last several months have been anything but normal. My selection to the CNN Fit Nation team has changed my health, which has always had its ups and downs.
During the past 57 years, I have crossed paths with some amazingly inspirational people.
The hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon -- and out again -- was symbolic for Melissa Schaaf. It was a sign of how far she had come, a sign that the middle-aged mom of two was active, adventurous and alive.
The $10,000 prize caught Jordan Teuscher's attention.
It's New Year's Day 2013. I can feel the wind on my face. My heart rate is steady, but I'm so full of joy and pride it may beat out of my chest.
The 2013 6-Pack are overhauling their diets. Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Ilana Katz show them how to eat better and shop wiser.
Fit Nation participant Annette Miller lost 146 pounds, and inspired her sister to try weight loss without surgery
Ashlee Tomsche walked into the rec center with trepidation. Images of six-pack abs and neon sports bras from the Zumba infomercials she had watched flashed through her mind.
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta hosts tough-as-nails trainer Jillian Michaels to talk about her new book, "Slim for Life"
The Fit Nation "6-pack" team starts their journey to get fit and train for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in September
Meet the six people resetting their lives, and training to race the Nautica Malibu Triathlon with Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta and CNN's "Lucky 7" athletes complete the Nautica Malibu Triathlon.
Fit Nation Challenge participant Glenn Keller is getting in shape for the triathlon, despite life on the road.
Gold medalist swimmer Cullen Jones sent a message to the Fit Nation triathletes before he left for London.
Fit Nation athletes Rick Morris, Carlos Solis and Denise Castelli compete in triathlon relays ahead of their big race.
Dr. Gupta talks to Fit Nation Challenged athlete Denise Castelli, who does more with one leg than she ever did with two.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks to Fit Nation athlete, Jeff Dauler, about how small steps helped him achieve big fitness goals.
Dr. Gupta talks to three-time Ironman champ Chris Lieto, and Fit Nation's Carlos Solis about training as a diabetic.
Dr. Gupta talks to Fit Nation athlete Adrienne LaGier about what she changed in her diet that led to big weight loss.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes us a through a Hawaiian coffee plantation and explains how it helps ward off certain diseases.
Dr. Gupta talks to Fit Nation athletes Rick Morris and Nancy Klinger about what fuels their commitment to get healthy.
Fit Nation Athletic Director April Burkey tells you how to get creative using your hotel room to stay fit on the road
CNN Fit Nation athletic director April Burkey offers tips for staying fit when you are away from home and traveling.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta catches up with Fit Nation participant Adrienne LaGier about her triathlon progress.
Fit Nation Tri Challenge participant Rick Morris crumbles his last cigarette on national TV.
2-time Olympic softball player Jennie Finch gives some words of wisdom to Fit Nation athlete and amputee Denise Castelli.
Celebrity chef and Type 1 diabetic Sam Talbot gives the CNN Fit Nation athletes a few words of inspiration.
The Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge "Lucky 7" work out with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Atlanta Hawks trainers.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduces the 2012 "Lucky 7": our group of viewers taking the Fit Nation triathlon challenge.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta congratulates our 200 Fit Nation Challenge entrants on taking an important first step in their journey.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta wants you to get fit and join the Fit Nation triathlon challenge as he races the 2012 Malibu triathlon.
Joaquin Brignoni video blogs about his experiences in Hawaii training for the Nautica New York City Triathlon.
Frances Largeman-Roth, RD answers questions about nutrition for CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta and his viewer triathletes.
Joaquin Brignoni, Nina Lovel and Kas Seerla train with Dr. Sanjay Gupta for the NYC triathlon.
Kendrick Henley, Anastasia Cirricione and Dr. Scott Zahn are training for a triathlon with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Lance Armstrong gives Dr. Sanjay Gupta and the CNN Fit Nation triathlon challengers some tips for strong cycling.
Six CNN viewers kick off the 2011 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge with a training weekend with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
The "6-Pack" do a strength training workshop during kick-off for the 2011 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge with Dr. Gupta.
Cooking Light shares the secret to creating a skin-like crust on this lightened pan-fried chicken.
CNN's Elizabeth Cohen explains the benefits of eating a low-carbohydrate, plant-based diet.
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta examines which diet is better for your health, low-calorie or low-carb.
Cooking Light's Holly Grainger describes 10 foods at the grocery store that give new life to your meals and snacks.
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks about the hurdles he and his team faced during the New York Triathlon.
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta and his Fit Nation Challenge team discuss their triathlon training.
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta prepares to race the Nautica New York City Triathlon with six CNN viewers.
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta gives the tips he's learned while preparing for the New York City Triathlon.
Fit Nation athlete Meredith Clark talks about triathlon training, and how its becoming a way of life.
We check in with CNN Fit Nation triathlete Linda Fisher-Lewis just two weeks before the big race!
Marathon swimming legend Diana Nyad will attempt a 103-mile swim from Cuba to Key West. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports.
Fit Nation triathlete Angie Brouhard talks about training and triumph over breast cancer.