Marci Crozier was supposed to tell members of the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce about corporate wellness Thursday.
Director of Marketing and Sales for Franciscan Omni Health and Fitness, Crozier had just moved into her speech about wellness teams, management support, and ROI when she abruptly stopped.
“You know what? I don’t want to talk about any of that stuff. Is that ok with you guys?” The packed, standing-room only audience at Franciscan Health St. Margaret, Hammond, burst into applause because they knew Crozier had instead decided to share her incredible experience as a contestant on the wildly popular reality TV series, “The Biggest Loser.”
Crozier, who participated with her daughter Courtney on the show’s 11th season, said her Courtney is currently appearing in a Subway commercial with fellow Hoosier, Subway spokesman Jared Fogle, the Indiana University student who lost a fantastic amount of weight eating Subway sandwiches. Courtney, who had at one time weighed 435 pounds, lost more than 100 pounds before the show and another hundred during the show. Marci herself lost 80 pounds, but said she gained something back something much more important from the experience.
“I’m gonna talk about change: culture change. It’s a very difficult thing to do,” Crozier said, sharing stories about her and her daughter’s journey.
Courtney was rejected twice for the show. After interviews, she went home to Valparaiso and lost more than 112 pounds on her own. The show then began to pursue her. When she told her mother season 11 was for couples, Marci Crozier asked her daughter, “Who ya takin’?”
“You,” her daughter told her. They were chosen out of 255,000 hopefuls.
“I really didn’t like that show, but I learned to love it,” Crozier said. “Not because we were on it, but because the show gives people hope.”
When people write in, it’s not only about weight, but also gambling, alcoholism, and other addictions, Crozier said.
“That’s why we’re here, to give people hope,” she said. “When you win your health back, you win it all. For five years I took blood pressure medication. For two years I took Xanax. Every night before I went to bed, my body broke out into hives. I have not taken a prescription drug since the day I walked on that ranch 3 years ago.”
“We all know what we need to do. It’s about finding the motivation to do it,” Crozier said.
At one point during filming, Crozier had a heart-to-heart with “Biggest Loser” star Jillian Michaels.
“All my life my mama told me, ‘God first, then family, then everything else. And you know what, Jillian, I am not in the equation.’ She said, ‘You don’t get it.'"
Then, Crozier said, she prayed and mediated.
“Then God reminded me of something I knew as a kid,” she told her audience. Later she told Michaels, 'Jillian, I have to tell you something. God lives inside me. And if God’s inside me, then I’m number one. And I have to take care of me first, before I can take care of my family and my career.'"
“She said, ‘Come here,’ and she hugged me, and she said, ‘Mama, you can go home now if you want, because you get it.’'"
Audience members Thursday said they were captivated by Crozier’s talk.
“I wanted to hear what Marci had to say,” said Diane Kania, a health insurance agent with AFLAC and an independent broker with Lakeshore Health Insurance Brokers. “I’m all about preventive care and wellness. She was so inspirational. I loved it,” Kania said.
Mike Anderson, owner of Snow and Ice Pros, Inc., Highland, said, “I had heard about Marci. My kids watch the show. They’re in school so they wanted me to report on what she talked about. I thought she was an excellent speaker. She had a lot of inspiring things to say to us.”
Dave Ryan executive director of Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, said chamber officials had spoken to hospital administration several years ago about wellness for the community.
“We thought, ‘Let’s do something for our members.’ Her story is an amazing story,” Ryan said.