Philadelphia Magazine’s Fitness Challenge 2010: Devon Montgomery-Bender

A 25-year-old just-married caterer who wants to begin the greatest adventure of her life looking good and feeling great. “I don't feel beautiful because I know I'm not healthy. I want to start my married life as a healthy, beautiful woman.”

OUCH OUCH OUCH!! I thought I hurt the first day but this pain is killer. My core feels like a rubber band that’s tied in knots. Spent most of the day in bed icing my joints and resting, didn’t go to the gym. Saw Avatar in 3D with my family and my Dad said he would race me to 275lbs. He’s so on! One more thing to motivate me!

Down to 306! That’ almost 20lbs in 5 weeks! I’m so happy. I wrote the word UNDER on my mirror to motivate me to be under 300 by the time this is over. If nothing else that is a major accomplishment.

Monday, March 1st – 7th

Since I took Saturday off, I went to the gym this morning and started doing laps. I can actually swim laps now, not just do them with the kick board. Turns out I can so 20 laps in under 20 minutes. One more thing to be proud of!


I’m starting to feel that my body is definitely changing. My new swim suit doesn’t even fit anymore. Holly actually had to tie it in water aerobics so I wouldn’t have a “wardrobe malfunction.” While it could have been embarrassing, it was very vindicating. I’m proud of this new body of mine.

Ugh not a good day for me weight wise. I wish this water weight and fatigue would just go away so I can get back to my normal workouts! The cravings for cookie and chocolate are making it hard to keep my eating on track. Fred’s doing his best to cook healthy for me. Tonight it’s tuna cakes and warm mushroom salad. If it wasn’t for Skinny Cow Ice Cream Cones I think I might be giving into my cravings.

Had to miss my morning workout because of work and I feel like my whole day is off. Working all day in the kitchens makes it hard not to graze on all the thing’s we’re preparing for this event tomorrow. I’m trying to drink a ton of water to keep myself feeling full. Did laps tonight, and I’m feeling a little better. Now to finish this school project and concentrate on this contest!

My event was a smash hit today. I’m proud that it went well, but it made me late for my training session with Holly! Noooooo!!! She had someone right after me so we couldn’t adjust the time. With only 2 more session after this I can’t afford to miss a moment. She did however try to fit an hour’s workout into 45 minutes and I’ve never hustled so hard in my life, but I loved every minute! We did all of these weight machines and dead lifting. I think I’m addicted.

Rest day!!!! I’m so sore. Good thing Fred and I are going to NY for the weekend to spend some time with his best friend in from Hong Kong. The weather is gorgeous for walking around central park!

Cheated a little on my diet today and had a corned beef sandwich from Famous on 4th when we got back to town. I also ate the cookie that came with the check. Guess I’ll be paying for that this week!

Monday, March 8th – 14th
Trying to step it up so I pulled a double today and went to the gym this morning and when I finished school. Fred keeps teasing me that I’m a junkie for the treadmill now. I just feel that in these last few days I really need to dig down deep and push myself. Sometimes I feel when I’m not working out with Holly that I cheat myself out of a powerful workout. I’m getting so close to reaching some milestones that I really don’t want to cheat anymore.

I wasn’t feeling so well this morning, and didn’t sleep so well last night. Went to the gym anyway and did 30 laps after my aerobics class, but still couldn’t shake this is queasiness. I just barely made it home before I….well you know. And it’s been like this all day. Sorry to my competitors, but it looks like my body has taken extreme measure to lose weight.


Still sick, and dehydrated. Fred ran out to get me some Gatorade so I don’t shrivel up. We’ll try some soup later. No gym today.
Finally feeling better….so I want to the gym and did water aerobics and my laps. This swimming thing is totally underrated. On another note, I lost 5lbs! While a stomach flu is not my ideal way to lose weight it certainly was effective. Soup tonight for dinner…added some crackers…seems to be ok.

Training with Holly today. I love love love Fridays. My weigh in was excellent…UNDER 300lbs!!! For the first time in 8 years I’m under 300lbs. I’m so happy I could cry! Training with Holly was intense….I actually started crying. I was supposed to do 100 sit and stands, and around 40 I just couldn’t do it, but I felt like I was letting Holly and everyone down. It was overwhelming being defeated, but some other people at the gym saw me and came over and tried to pep me up. With Holly’s help I did all 100. It was my other amazing feeling of the day. Everything else went great until Holly reminded me that it’s the last week coming up and I’m not allowed to eat carbs. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…..not my carbs….its my favorite food. We’ll see how long this lasts.

Such a busy day, (not to mention MISERABLE weather). My grandmother was moving, so Fred and I went and moved furniture into trucks in the rain. We also had theater tickets with some friends. The play was totally weird, and it was super hard not eating carbs at the Italian restaurant they picked for dinner. I had salad and shared an entrée with Fred. Steak stuffed with spinach….not so bad, but not pasta. Sigh…

Food shopping day at the Reading Terminal. We stocked up on lots of fresh veggies and meat from the butcher…my mind is swimming with no carb recipes: Cashew Shrimp, London Broil with Mushrooms, Chicken Rollatini…..should be an interesting week. Also went and did my laps and water exercises before the gym closed at 6. 5 more days…..seems like a lifetime.

Monday, March 15th – 21st

Hi, my name is Devon and I’m a carboholic. I dreamt about people with cinnamon bun heads. I’m officially in withdrawal. In anycase I decided to put my energy into working out and took the Wonder Trek class at the gym. BAD IDEA! While I’ve come miles from where this began….I’ve got a few more to go. Running with the treadmills at the 15 incline is INSANE! I did what I could and stay for the whole class…but that was crazy. Didn’t eat any carbs today and made the chicken rollatini for dinner. Flat thin pieces of chicken stuffed with spinach and ricotta, like cannelloni but no pasta. Tasty!

Went on a job interview today and missed my am workout, but went for a long long walk with the dog in the gorgeous sunshine. I ended up carrying him home…again. He just doesn’t like the Museum stairs as much as I do. I made Cashew Shrimp for dinner… Shrimp with celery and cashews in a ginger garlic soy sauce. Fred loved it. Played Quizzo with my sis and some friends, and managed not to order a beer. Sigh…I miss beer too.


I think I can…I think I can…I think its difficult to do this but the results are amazing. I feel really fit and trim and I can’t wait to get to the gym. Took the dog on another marathon walk today in the sunshine, and then went to the gym for a cardio hop-hop class. I will admit it was a little too fast for me so I went and did weights for a while. I can’t believe how much I can lift/pull now. Time to sell some tickets to the gun show.


Pulled a double today. Got up early and did laps before water aerobics…my last one before my final weigh in tomorrow. Had a protein shake from the juice bar for lunch. I’m addicted to the fruity ‘After Workout’ protein shake. Went on another job interview….hopefully I’ll get this one.

Made dinner for Fred and went for my LAST session with Holly. Since I have to weigh in before a workout we decided to work out tonight and have me weigh in and post my numbers in the morning, so I can be done. I’ll most likely still go to the gym tomorrow but I gave it all I had tonight. Holly worked on my core soo much I thought I was in labor the pain was so intense, but looking at my body in the mirror, I can see how far I’ve come since January and I love this version of me. No matter what the final outcome, I’m so proud of myself for giving this my all. Not only do look thinner, but I feel fantastic. One more night…

Sent my measurement in to Philly Mag and I’m officially done. Fred’s taking me out tomorrow to celebrate. Maybe I’ll get to have a cookie!!!


FINAL THOUGHTS:  I’m so grateful that I got picked to be in this competition. Whether or not I get the prizes, I know I won this competition. I feel fabulous and now know that I can still be me…just a happy, healthier me. I know I’m healthier now than when I started, and I’m on my way to being a thoroughly healthy person (give or take a sprained ankle or two). My family, friends and my trainer Holly are so proud of me for persevering through the pain and the wanting to quit and go home. But I’ve accomplished something wonderful over the last 8 weeks and I hope to be an example to others like me, especially Big Beautiful Women. I know now that being big is part of who I am, but being big doesn’t have to mean being unhealthy. I’ll always be big, but now I’m doing it on my own terms, and that’s what being large and in charge is all about. Last, I would like to say thank you to my wonderful husband Fred, for supporting me through this even when I wasn’t that sweet. To my family and friends, all of your message of love and support is what kept me going back to the gym, and giving it my all. Thank you to Holly, who never stopped smiling, and for helping me to dig deep and believe in myself when I gave up. And last to my competitors….thank you for pushing me to walk faster, row stronger, and lift those extra pounds…it made all the difference.