Daveid Brown, Ruben Studdard

Traditions are an important part of my life.  I remember growing up how fun it was to get the whole extended family together for Thanksgiving dinner, to hear the stories from my grandparents, to watch football with the men, to play games outside with the cousins, and of course eat at least a bite from every single dish the women of our family made.  Today, we still get together with every side of the family to do most all those same things, but we've since added 2two newer traditions.

The first new tradition is we share meals with those less fortunate in our community because serving is an important family value. The second new tradition we adopted was after my first wife Andrea passed away, and we started releasing balloons with notes tied to them as a tribute to her.  Both new traditions serve as important reminders to our family as to what is truly important in life and how blessed we are, which I guess is what Thanksgiving is really all about... and even being thousands of miles away from my family this week, I was able to live out those two new traditions in unique ways.

The challenge this week had each team loading trucks with food supplies going back to Moore, OK with the winning team spending Thanksgiving dinner with a loved one.  When I came to The Biggest Loser ranch, I left behind many family and friends dealing with the aftermath of the deadly tornadoes that wiped out city blocks at a time.  Being in roofing and construction, I was literally working daily among the rubble, helping "neighbors" pick up the pieces and start the rebuilding process.  So this challenge was personal for me.  It was all about helping out my community, one box at a time, just as my friends back home in Oklahoma are rebuilding, onw brick at a time.  The Red Team didn't win the challenge, but I felt like I had won something much more important for my community... And a personal "Thank You" to everyone who has ever helped in disaster relief efforts anywhere - It's a big deal!

Later in the week, I was able to exercise another important tradition.  I know my family back home were writing notes and releasing balloons in memorial of my first wife Andrea, and so I hiked to the top of inspiration point above the ranch to do the same thing.  I felt I was there with them, sharing in the tradition, even though I was thousands of miles away.  It was taking part in these traditions along the way that inspired my weight-loss efforts day in and day out.  These markers of celebration were so instrumental in my weekly successes and I will intentionally draw on these memories when it gets really tough going forward.

My newest tradition involves my health, and the health and wellness of my family long-term.  Losing another 11 pounds this week put me over 100 pounds lost on the ranch in the first seven weeks, and I cannot believe how good I feel.  I know my weight-loss will enable me to be a better husband, father, and leader in my community.  I know a tradition of family health will feed our family success for generations to come, and I look forward to sharing those "where-it-all-started" Biggest Loser stories to my grandkids around the Thanksgiving table in the future.  What traditions do you cherish?  What tradition do you need to start?

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