Biggest Loser contestants get into the “spirit” of Halloween with some healthy fall recipes

Halloween is full of tricks and treats – which can be really scary when you’re trying to lose weight.

But the Biggest Loser: Detroit Edition II contestants are prepared. With the help of their BCBSM health coaches, they have learned that you can still get into the spirit of Halloween and stay healthy.

Last week Calvin, Mary Beth and Sandy met with BCBSM health coaches Andrea Abatemarco and Tara Albosta to put together a variety of delicious but healthy dishes including an autumn stew and brownie pumpkin muffins.

“Halloween is thought of as a time for sugary food, but that doesn’t have to be the case,” said Andrea. “The recipes we made with the contestants are healthy, tasty and festive for the fall season.”

Make sure you check out WDIV’s Halloween special that will air tonight at 8:30 p.m. to see the full story.

To follow the progress of all of the Biggest Loser: Detroit Edition II contestants check out their blogs on

BCBSM health coaches Tara Albosta and Andera Abatemarco show the contestants how to cook a healthy Halloween treat.

From left to right: Biggest Loser: Detroit Edition II contestants Mary Beth Klawender, Calvin Poellnitz and Sandy Ray pose for the cameras.

Pre-existing conditions hinder people’s ability to find affordable coverage in Michigan

During an Oct. 20 debate between U.S. Representative John Dingell and his opponent Dr. Rob Steele, Dr. Steele made a comment that “We have no pre-existing conditions in Michigan; we have Blue Cross Blue Shield.”

It is true that Blue Cross covers people with pre-existing conditions and does not reject them for coverage. This has been at the center of our unique nonprofit mission for decades. The problem in Michigan is that Blue Cross’s mission is unique. No other insurer — until national reform takes full affect in 2014 — covers the sick. This leaves Michigan consumers with pre-existing conditions with only one option. And this is where Dr. Steele’s comment needs clarification.

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Statewide hospital collaboration reduces complications from surgeries, improves quality

A collaboration among 16 Michigan hospitals has successfully reduced complications following surgery by 10 percent, during a period where there was no reduction in complications nationally.  The results are published in the October 18 issue of Archives of Surgery.

In the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative, one of nine statewide initiatives funded and founded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, participants agree to pool data and share information about what keeps patients safe. Physicians discuss their findings, and develop best practices that lead to better outcomes and safer practices.

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Who will you inspire to start their journey towards wellness and weight loss?

This is Eric’s story of how he was able to walk his way to better health.

This is the final post in a series telling the amazing stories of individuals who committed to adopting healthier lifestyles.

Jodi Davis inspired Jon Stanton to change his life. Then Jon inspired Rose Borst and Eric Stanton to do the same. They have motivated each other and together they have begun a walking movement.

Motivated. Committed. Strong. Inspired. These words describe Eric Stanton, a man who lost more than 50 pounds with pure dedication and the support of his son.

Eric took his first step toward a healthier lifestyle after his son, Jon Stanton, lost more than 230 pounds by walking. After seeing the positive health effects of his son’s weight-loss, Eric was ready to take action to manage his own health.

See Jon’s story

He started his weight-loss journey by walking on a daily basis and changing his eating habits. Eric made a few simple changes and so far he has lost 50 pounds. He is proud be working toward his weight loss goal and taking control of his health.

Eric knows anything is possible and he’s stepping up to the challenge with his son and their friend Rose.

Together they have achieved healthier lifestyles and you can do it too. Today’s a new beginning – the start of a new, healthier you. And who knows you might just inspire someone else to do the same.

So, who will you inspire? Join our walking movement. Your success story could change someone’s life.

If you would like to learn more about how walking can work for you, visit

Biggest Loser: Detroit Edition 2009 winner advises current contestants

It’s week 7 of Biggest Loser: Detroit Edition II and the contestants are starting to see results, but they are also feeling the psychological effects of the competition. Last year’s winner, Marilyn Kluka, knows all too well about the emotional rollercoaster they’re on right now.

Biggest Loser: Detroit Edition 2009 winner, Marilyn Kluka, talks about her weight-loss journey with WDIV reporter Shawn Ley.

Yesterday, Marilyn met with the contestants to talk about the triumphs and struggles of her weight-loss journey on WDIV’s 5 p.m. news broadcast. She talked about finding a balance between eating healthy but occasionally enjoying her favorite (but not so healthy) foods.

“Last weekend I had a wedding to go to. I knew I was going to have a glass of wine and a piece of cake. But I also knew that the next day I was going to head to the gym,” she said.

Michelle Fullerton, Blue Cross director of Wellness and Care Management, is interviewed by WDIV reporter Shawn Ley.

Marilyn emphasized the importance of staying on track and using the tools and advice provided to them by their Blue Cross health coaches. She also encouraged the contestants to keep in touch with their coach – and each other – after the competition ends.

“This is more than an 11-week weight-loss contest, it’s a lifestyle change,” she said.

Who will you inspire? This is Rose’s story.

For Rose Borst, deciding to lose weight was an easy decision. After back surgery and double-knee replacement she decided that her weight was no longer going to slow her down. This is the third video in a series telling the amazing stories of four individuals who decided that they were ready to lose weight and adopt healthier lifestyles.

At 352 pounds Rose Borst slipped and fell on a sheet of ice in her driveway. Her ankle was broken. But worst of all, she could not physically get herself up off the ground.

At that point, Rose knew that it was time for her to make a serious lifestyle change.

She started eating healthy and quickly noticed results when she stepped on the scale. She read Jodi and Jon’s blogs and discovered the health benefits of walking. After recovering from her surgeries she began to add walking to her daily regimen. See Jodi’s story
See Jon’s story

And to this date Rose has lost and kept off 130 pounds.

Rose is an everyday woman with an amazing story. She heard about Jodi and Jon and realized that if they could lose the weight, she could too. No fancy diet. No surgery. All it takes is that first step.

Now Jon’s father has become part of the “movement”. His story is the final video in the series…for now. Stay tuned to see the inspirational story of Eric Stanton.

Who will inspire you? Your success story could change someone’s life.

If you would like to share your inspirational story and find out more about how walking can work for you, visit Jodi’s Blog on A Healthier Michigan.

Who will you inspire? This is Jon’s story.

This is the second post in a series of four telling the amazing stories of individuals who committed to adopting healthier lifestyles. Jodi Davis inspired Jon Stanton to change his life. Then Jon inspired Rose Borst and Eric Stanton to do the same.

They have kept each other motivated and together they have begun a walking movement.

Jon weighed 430 pounds in 2007

At 31, Jon had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and symptoms of congestive heart failure. When his doctor diagnosed him with Type 2 diabetes, Jon made the commitment to completely change his lifestyle habits.

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Biggest Loser: Detroit Edition II contestants stay motivated to reach weight-loss goals

Losing weight is more than a physical challenge, it’s a psychological battle that can take a demanding toll on the mind and spirit. Staying motivated can be one of the most difficult aspects of losing weight.

Biggest Loser: Detroit Edition II contestants know the psychological battle with weight loss all too well. For the past seven weeks each has worked hard to stay motivated, but the journey has not always been easy.

The Biggest Loser: Detroit Edition II is a local version of NBC’s nationally-televised Biggest Loser. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan health coaches provide counseling to each contestant as part of our mission to promote a healthier Michigan. The competition is in its second year of motivating local residents to lose weight and achieve a healthier lifestyle.

The contestants of this year’s competition include:
Steve Anderson, Troy.
Tia Finney, West Bloomfield
Sandra Ray, Taylor
Calvin Poellnitz, Inkster
Mary Beth Klawender, Livonia
Greg Czar, Shelby Township

You can follow the inspiring stories of each contestant on their blogs found here: Help them stay motivated by commenting on the site and sharing links with your friends.

You can also see how they continue to support one another as they comment on each others’ posts.

Tune in to WDIV (Local 4) to learn how Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan health coaches provide emotional support to the contestants, and see how last year’s Biggest Loser: Detroit Edition winner, Marilyn Kluka continues her commitment to a healthy lifestyle almost one year later.

Marilyn lost more than 70 pounds since her weight-loss journey began with last year’s Biggest Loser: Detroit Edition.

The winner of this year’s competition will receive prizes, including a spot as the honorary Grand Marshall of America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Jodi Davis, Walking Advocate for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Jodi Davis started a very healthy trend. She began living a healthier lifestyle and inspired Jon Stanton, Rose Borst, and Eric Stanton to do the same. This is the first post in a series of four that shows how one person’s lifestyle change can encourage others to make changes they never thought they could.

“One bite tastes the same as twenty,” is one piece of advice that Jodi Davis has learned and shared with others over the years. Jodi was obese for nearly 25 years and one day, she realized she had to lose weight in order to live her life to the fullest.

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BCBSM is working hard to help Michigan small businesses grow

The key to Michigan’s economic recovery is the growth of small businesses.

That’s why we are developing more affordable plans such as Simply BlueSM. This PPO plan is designed like no other and it’s the most competitively priced product that we’ve introduced in years.

Designed to give employers flexibility, Simply Blue has several deductible and co-payment plan options. It can also be paired with a health reimbursement arrangement or health savings account. Employers can complete their employee benefit package with dental, vision and prescription drug plans.

In addition to the introduction of Simply Blue, our product portfolio will also include PPO and HMO wellness-based and consumer-directed health plans. These new plans will be available to small business owners on Jan. 1, 2011.

Our goal is to help small businesses attract and retain top talent by offering quality health care coverage to their employees at a cost that won’t break their budget. It’s that simple. Now that’s how a small business grows.