“Don’t settle.”

“Don’t give up.”

“Use the resources that are available for you.”

“A strong you is not just about weight loss.”

Those are just a few of the messages Lisa Rambo shared with an audience Oct.5, as she spoke as part of the Strong You Community Health Expo at the Redwood Area Community Center in Redwood Falls.

Rambo, who lives with her husband and four children in Hudson, Wis., was a contestant on the TV show “The Biggest Loser,” and talked about the impact that experience has had on her life.

For Rambo, it was not about just losing weight, it was about a life transformation. What Rambo discovered was her kids were eating the way she ate, and that discovery led her to make the decision the transformation was not just about her but about her family. 

Rambo showed a before and after photo of her family and pointed out the difference a life of discipline in all aspects can do.

“We found chins,” Rambo said with a smile, as she pointed out the difference in the look of her kids.

Rambo said she became a super fan of the TV show after being introduced to it by her sister, and then became determined to be a contestant. She tried out for seasons 12 and 13 before being selected for the 14th season of the show.

“I remember hearing my name and running down the aisle like I was on ‘The Price is Right,’” said Rambo.

Rambo admitted she had never been in a gym in her life and recalled her days in high school when she would participate in the lifetime fitness classes with activities like bowling and archery.

When the time came for the Presidential Fitness Award testing, Rambo never really tried, because she knew there was no way she could ever do it.

In fact, Rambo said that was the way she lived her entire life – settling for something less than her best.

Yes, said Rambo, she tried all sorts of diets and had a number of plans, adding she was like everyone else who says they will accomplish their goal – starting the next Monday.

“There is nothing magic about Monday,” said Rambo, adding the plan to start “tomorrow” is setting oneself up for failure, because tomorrow never really comes.

During her experience with “The Biggest Loser,” Rambo said she learned that she was eating 6,000-10,000 calories per day, and was told that she needed to cut that down to less than 1,200 calories per day.

Rambo learned we are biters, lickers and tasters, admitting before and after meals she would find herself tasting the food and then finishing what was left in the pan – essentially eating an entire meal on top of the actual meal in those tastes, licks and bites.

When it came to healthy eating, the message she learned during her experience was not a new one.

“Most of it I learned in ninth-grade health class,” she said.

After five weeks, Rambo was voted off the program, and as she arrived home she found the type of support from her family that would lead to a change for all of them. Rambo said she saw about 20 percent of her success during her participation on the show, and the other 80 percent was done at home.

“There are resources right her in your community,” said Rambo, as she encouraged those listening to take advantage of the opportunity to learn more during their visit to the expo.

For her, when it comes to seeing real success there is really no place like home, as that is where one finds true accountability.

During her experience in “The Biggest Loser,” Rambo had to run a 5K.

“That was in week two,” she said. “It took me 58 minutes to complete it, and I knew afterward I would never do that again.”

As one who encourages people to constantly keep challenges in front of them, Rambo shared her personal experience as one who has run several 5Ks and even increased the distance to 10Ks, half marathons as well as two New York City marathons.

She is also currently preparing to participate in a half Iron Man event next June. For Rambo, being part of the TV show was always about finding her strength.

She said that can apply to any part of one’s life, whether it is in personal health, at one’s job, how one raises a family or any of a number of life activities one does. She also admitted there are struggles along the way.

“I am not at my finale weight today,” said Rambo. “Struggles are part of the journey.”

In the end, Rambo said, the important message is to never settle, as she has now done things in her life that five years ago she never would have imagined were possible.

“Don’t quit,” she said.

Rambo lost 108 pounds during her experience as part of the TV show and the at-home challenge that followed, but she said as one whose life is completely changed she has gained so much more.