Committing just one night a week to do something for herself seemed impossible for Charlene Delmaestro.
The mother of three was juggling a full time job, while coaching her kid’s sports groups and rushing them off to competitive soccer and dance classes.
So when she signed up for the Total Makeover Challenge, and was told she had to go to meetings every Wednesday, she was skeptical she could make that happen.
Four months later, and Delmaestro was crowned the winner of the Langley leg of the 2017 competition.
“I was the mom who put herself last and put everyone else first, and I saw the advertisement about a ‘new you’ and all these things. And I thought that there’s nothing to lose, and there could be something to gain,” Delmaestro told the Langley Times.
“So I did apply, and I think out of all of it — yes, the weight loss and the support and all of that was amazing — but in the end, it was the other challengers that I had to go through it with (that made it special).
“Because we’re all super close now, very close. I find now if I feel like I’m falling off track and not taking care of myself, I can reach out to any of them and they would be right there cheering me on.”
Beginning today (Dec. 1), registration officially opens for the 2018 Total Makeover Challenge. This is the third year the life-changing program is being held in Langley, the 10th year in Abbotsford, and first year in both Vancouver and Chilliwack.
The challenge — hosted by Shape Your World Society — gives 30 women in each city the opportunity to improve their health, fitness and self-confidence through free workout classes, financial seminars, personal growth sessions and more.
“It is a four month program that includes nutritional coaching, fitness training, beauty tips, how to walk and talk with confidence, personal growth seminars that work on self esteem, leadership skills — and of course my favourite — getting out of your comfort zone. I love that part,” said society president Jenny Clough.
“It takes women through an inner and outer transformation journey which encourages them to grow, evolve and be empowered.”
The challenge is also a competition, with 30 women in the first segment — which focuses on nutrition and weight loss — 15 women in the second segment — which focuses on team building and fundraising — six women in the third segment — which focuses on self-confidence — and one final winner in the end.
For Delmaestro, the competition was the push she needed to bring balance back into her life.
“I forgot how much I disregarded myself. I forgot that I was doing literally nothing for myself,” she said.
“I only had to go one night a week to the challenge, and it was really hard to give myself one night a week. It was really hard because that one night I felt like I wasn’t being a good mom, I wasn’t doing the things I was supposed to do. But by the end of it, I was like ‘I deserve this night, I should take two.’”
The challenge provides a supportive environment for women to makeover all areas of their life, and many of the participants sign up for reasons other than weight loss, Delmaestro said.
“It’s supposed to be supporting yourself mentally and physically, and every week there’s a different speaker who talks about something,” she said.
“I found for me, since I wasn’t sitting around eating potato chips after the kids went to bed, I was actually cleaning more and doing stuff because I didn’t want to eat. Everybody in my family was reaping the benefits because I was cooking healthy food and the kids were eating that.”
Although when she first started the challenge, the schedule seemed daunting, Delmaestro said in hindsight, the effort she put in was minimal compared to the benefits she continues to receive.
“I think that a lot of women would find that it’s too time consuming, but it’s a drop in the bucket,” she said.
“At the time, I remember feeling like it was very overwhelming, and I felt like giving up. But the motivating thing for me was that I was watching my scale go down, my clothes were getting looser and I just kept telling myself, it’s only a few months.
“Really, it did go by extremely fast. At the time, it felt like forever, but when it was over, I felt like it was too quick.”
To register for the 2018 Total Makeover Challenge, head to www.totalmakeoverchallenge.com and tell the judges why you would like to participate.
Deadline to apply is Wednesday, Jan. 17 2018.