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The Biggest Loser: Health and Wealth

Being extremely overweight is a pricey proposition and last night's episode of The Biggest Loser drove that point home with special guest, financial expert Suze Orman.

The Centers for Disease Control in the United States estimated that as a nation obesity costs us $117 billion a year with more than half of that going to direct medical costs. Obesity also costs employers while people who are overweight often pay a higher premium on their insurance policies.

Losing weight and getting fit is not just an exercise in vanity, it's part of a complete wellness package.

And so often we forget about the connection between wealth and health.

It's not just about the dollars -- the extra money gone each month for medical conditions, the lost money from taking sick days or not being able to do certain jobs. Often, financial problems, like weight issues, are about other things -- like how we view ourselves or how we cope with difficult episodes in our life. In these cases, often when the contestants felt bad about their finances, they would eat. When they felt bad about their weight, they would spend. And round and round we go. When we don't feel good about ourselves, for whatever reasons, our actions flow from those places.

(Personally, I would have enjoyed seeing more about that connection which Suze Orman alluded to. She conducted one-on-one financial discussions with the five remaining contestants and more of those will be seen on her CNBC show this Saturday.)

The show was whittled down to the final four contestants and it was Amanda who had the deciding vote. She finally had her breakthrough week, admitting through tears how happy she finally was and how she could say she loved herself as she was. She could have chosen to keep Alan in the final four, a decision which would have been smarter from a game-playing point of view and put Amanda in a better position to win the $250,000 grand prize.

Instead, she chose to keep Liz in the final four for the reason that she was a threat. All the contestants left The Biggest Loser ranch this week and Amanda felt knowing that she was competing against Liz, who could beat her in a body percentage weigh-in, was the motivation she needed to finish her own weight loss journey.

It wasn't so much about getting the win as it was about making the most out of the process.

It's an idea that translates well into the world of athletics. Just ask the Niagara women's volleyball team.

Niagara will be making its first appearance in the NCAA tournament after winning its conference volleyball championship this week. The amazing part of the story -- the team was just 6-24 last year. This year, they're 23-8 and conference champions.

Even more amazing is how they got there. Last year, they didn't talk about losing. They didn't talk about trying to get more wins. This year, they didn't talk much about winning or trying to get to the championship game.

They talked about the little things. The things they could control. They worked on their sport-specific fitness goals (like weight room workouts to increase their vertical leap) and on skill development. They didn't fixate on the outcome. Outcomes take care of themselves. They thought only of the process.

And it won them a championship.

When you take care of things in your control -- when you make the choices which you know will make you better -- the winning and losing, whether it's a race, a championship or The Biggest Loser, takes care of itself.

--- Amy Moritz
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