Group puts price on weight loss

One of Carmen Tocheniuk’s family members or friends is about to win some money mostly for losing weight.

A year ago, 13 of them, from her 83-year-old Baba, Elsie Kazoleas, to her 21-year-old brother Ryan, agreed to a weight-loss challenge (although some of the guys wanted to gain weight). Each of them wrote their weight goal on a piece of paper, which would require losing between 15 and 40 pounds.

Other members of the group, include Tocheniuk’s boyfriend, Mike Cobey, 30; her mom Bev, 54; her grandfather Raymond, 72; sisters, Carla, 30 and Karalee, 23; Uncle James, 44; Aunt Denise, 40; Uncle Cory, 46; cousin Elsie, 36; and family friend Mario Michel, 44.

Every Christmas, the family talks about losing weight because many of them struggle with it, Tocheniuk, 32, says. Christmas 2011 was no different.

“My sister, Carla, and I were saying what are we going to do?” she remembers. “I’m a personal trainer and a two-time bodybuilding champion, I should keep myself in shape all the time, but it’s hard. I’ve yo-yo dieted my whole life,” she says.

To sweeten the deal and increase their motivation, 10 of the 13 each put down $500 – the first time they’d attached a consequence.

“If you don’t make your weight goal, you lose your money,” Tocheniuk says.

“I found once we put money into it, everyone stuck to (the challenge).”

At the end of March, the person who met or surpassed their goal gets $5,000, or a share of it, if there is more than one winner.

Each member of the group is following Tocheniuk’s Karmalife fitness and eating program custom designed for each of their unique genetic makeup, based on DNA testing of a swab of the inside of a cheek.

Tocheniuk and her sisters, mother, grandmother are all related by blood, but they all have a different genetic makeup that requires eating different portions of food for optimal health and wellness.

She wishes she knew that as a kid when it drove her nuts that she was always chubby and Carla was always lean even though they both ate the same foods in the same quantities.

“It’s really interesting, now, when we’re sitting around the dinner table, because my one sister will only have a tiny little bit of rice on her plate, whereas my other sister, will have tons of rice on her plate. My little brother needs a lot of high fat, whereas, all of us girls are low fat.”

Her boyfriend Mike, who is into mixed martial arts, joined the challenge to gain five pounds, but has been able to put on about 25 pounds of lean muscle.

He was able to do it by finding out, through DNA analysis, that he needs to eat more carbs and less fat, and needs to reduce his workouts.

“I was overtraining like crazy, 2-3 hours a day. Now I train four days a week for 45 minutes to an hour.”

Although they eat varying portions, eating the same food and following the same program as a family has really helped them all lose weight, Tocheniuk says.

But it doesn’t matter what program you follow, even if it’s the best one for you.

“If I can’t motivate you or you can’t motivate yourself, or you don’t have a work or family environment to help motivate each other, and there’s no goal, it is almost impossible (to be successful.) It’s critical to look at where your motivation comes from, what’s going to keep you accountable, and what your end goal is, whether it’s to go on a trip, or money, or to just be healthy because you’re tired of feeling unhealthy,” Tocheniuk explains.

She thinks her sister, Carla, 30, who lives in Fernie, B.C. will take the $5,000 money pot in the end.

“I know she really wants the money and she really wants to go on a vacation,” Tocheniuk says laughing, “although living in Fernie is a vacation in itself so I don’t know why the hell she has to leave.”

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