Daniel Harper

Octane Orange Team

Hello, my name is Dan Harper, I'm 40 years old. I have been married to my high school sweetheart Jessica for 17 years. We have two beautiful daughters, Lauren is 11 and Payton is 7.  I have been employed by Tower Automotive in Auburn IN for 21 years. I've served in various roles, my current job is Tool and Die Engineer. I work with some amazing people that have been very supportive of my efforts with the Smallest Winner.  In my free time, I enjoy playing golf with my dad and traveling with my family. Jessica and I started cruising the Caribbean before we had kids and now enjoy passing the travel bug on to our girls. 

Follow My Blogging Journey



This is the week it happened, I'm in Rick's "box."  I've heard him talk each week about his stupid box but I was hoping I could avoid it but I didn't.  I only lost 2 pounds at the weigh in Monday night. It was especially tough because I missed losing my 40 and it would of taken me under 270 for the first time in 8 years.  Sad.  On top of that, I fell out of first place for the first time since week 2.

After the initial shock wore off, I decided I needed to get back to logging more religiously. I made sure I logged all my water and all my food. I was doing fine with my food but I wasn't tracking my water, I may not of been drinking as much as I should have.

By Wednesday, I felt like I was back on track and headed in the right direction.  I feel like I'm losing weight again.  I am now totally out of pants that fit and I refuse to buy new ones because I know I'll lose more over the next 8 weeks. It's a mental thing for me. I'm not sastified with the size I am so I'm not going to reward myself with new clothes. I did the next best thing, I bought a smaller belt!

As for the workouts, I've decided that I'm going to try to make the runs on Wednesday night instead of Thursday. The Y is much closer to home for me so I do Thursday but the pool is a real struggle for me on Thursday morning and my legs were totally dead Thursday night at the run.  I think moving my run to Wednesday night will help. Other than that, it was a great week. I felt great Saturday morning after setting a new PR for 6 miles (I've never gone 6 miles so any time would of been a PR, I'll take it). 

During the run Saturday, I was doing a lot of thinking about all the contestants and the sacrifice we are making but I also spent a lot of time thinking about the families supporting all of us. I know for me, my wife Jessica, makes this all happen for me. She gets the kids on the bus in the morning, picks them up in the afternoon, has dinner for me when I get home, makes sure I have clean clothes, and keeps the house in order.  All the while, she is squeezing in her own workouts and following the eating plan on her own. I am most proud that she has lost 20 lbs and only missed 1 Saturday run (she was in Florida). She's never been a person to exercise but she's doing it and actually starting to enjoy it. Simply put, I would be a worthless blob of nothingness without her!



Week 5 is in the books, 30% done and 38lbs down! I lost 6.6 last week and that took me a little by surprise. I did everything  I should do during the week but I didn't "feel" like I had lost that much. I have volunteered for extra credit the last 2 weeks and had great losses both weeks, I'm a believer!

I usually take the opportunity to read other contestants blog during my lunch hour. This week, I intended to do that but instead I just spent the whole time looking at people's pictures from orientation....wow! We have all changed so much! People ask me what my favorite part is of the program and I always tell them I love the variety of the workouts.  It would be so hard to go every morning and do the exact same workout. 


I'm 40 years old and I've been resasonably athletic most of my life but I've always hated running. It's just never been my thing.  I can see that's starting to change.  I'm starting to enjoy it as I get stronger. I enjoy just putting my ear buds in and having some time to myself. It's peaceful. 



It's been a good week. We had the cooking demonstration Monday night at St. Francis that was a lot of fun and informative.  

We ran 5 miles yesterday and it felt great especially since I got my new running shoes from Three Rivers Running Co, a huge improvement over my first pair.

I feel like I'm settling in to my new "normal."  I don't feel like I'm forcing myself to get up for the workouts. It's much easier to plan meals now, I basically know what I can/can't eat. In some ways, I feel like I'm missing something because it's kinda second nature now and not as difficult as it once was. As long as I keep losing, I'm not going to change anything.

Rick keeps saying everybody will have a week that they don't lose even though they do everything they should.  I have t had that week yet and I hope I don't  if I do, I'll just keep my head down and keep working. 



I'll be honest, it's been a tough week. It started out well, I lost 4.8 and I'm still in 1st place. I had to travel with work this week and that really got me off my schedule. I didn't eat terrible and I still got 2 workouts in on Tuesday but I couldn't get to the gym on Wednesday. I went to the gym at the hotel but all the machines were taken and I didn't have a chance to get back. My wife went to Florida on Friday for a girls weekend and that got my meals out of whack also. I'll admit, I had a piece of cheese pizza with the kids Friday night. I don't expect I'll lose this week, I probably don't deserve to.

We ran our first 5k today and it turned out pretty well. I ran it in 45:03. With my wife being in Florida and the kids with my parents, nobody was able come to the run to watch me.....so I thought. As we were running, I saw that we were headed to Lindenwood Cemetery. My mother-in-law passed away 18 months ago and she is in Lindenwood. I quickly realized that the course took us right past her. I couldn't help but stop running and take a picture to send to my wife. It gave me what I needed this week. Just when you think things are going wrong, something like that happens and makes you realize things happen for a reason. 

Today's run gave me just what I needed and what I needed wasn't physical.


I had to take a second out of my day today to blog about Mari! She has the most amazing energy I've ever seen. I love that she is doing the workouts right along with us! It's awesome to see her sweat!

I'm not discounting any of the other trainers (especially CeCe...I dont' want to be on her bad side), they are all amazing in their own way but Mari really touched me this morning and gave me the energy to keep pushing myself.




OK, so FWSW says I'm going to run a half marathon after 16 weeks and a starting weight of 311. I haven't worked out in years.....ya, not going to happen.


That was constantly going through my head until yesterday. Yesterday was the start of week 3 and the start of running instead of walking. I had it set in my head that I was going to follow exactly what the running schedule says. Walk 8 minutes and run for 2. Do that 4 times for a total of 40 minutes.

I got to the gym and hopped on the treadmill to get started. It quickly became evident to me that I don't know how slow a walk is and how fast a run is! Maybe that sounds funny but for a person that's never been on a treadmill, how fast do I set it? I don't want it to go so fast that I end up laying against the elliptical machine behind me while everybody on YouTube gets a good laugh out of my lack of knowledge. So I did what anybody would do that doesn't know the answer to a question, Google.


After a little Google instruction, I got to my workout. I followed the instructions to the letter. Walk for 8 and run for 2. I didn't shortchange myself. I made sure I was running the full 2 minutes. Nothing more, nothing less. Maybe I could I done more but it wasn't as much of a physical thing as it was mental.


Ya, I can do the training schedule. Ya, Crazy Tina isn't so crazy after all. I've got this! I'm going to make this half marathon my b*#ch



Today is Sunday and I'm figuring out that weekends are much harder than weekdays even though we aren't getting up in the middle of the night to work out. 

I'm not struggling with eating the wrong foods like I thought I would  I'm struggling keeping my eating schedule the same it is during them week. When my schedule gets messed up, it makes it more difficult to prepare a meal like I would during the week.

My wife, Jessica, has been a lifesaver this week. She is eating the same food I do and going to the gym every time I go and does her own workouts.  I'm proud of her.  I'm thankful for her. She always has my back but maybe more so this week.  





The first week is in the books and I lost 13.2 lbs! It's a great start but I know this is a long journey and the finish is more important than the start. I think if I keep doing what I'm doing I'll reach my goal.

Pretty excited headed in to this week!



I guess it's time to be honest......I've lived a lie for most of my adult life.  I never ran that mile in high school, I lied about how many laps I ran around that track at North Side, I cheated at least 2 laps, maybe 3. 

That was until today. I finished my 9 laps! Some of them running some of them walking but ALL of them full of effort! I was tired but I finished strong. It really meant something to me, probably always will.

I can't help but lay here in bed, sore as can be, and be thankful. Thankful for this opportunity but most of all, thankful for my team! I've been blessed with a great team. We all did well today. Maybe most of all, we have Jen. She's such a good fit for our group! 




Good Morning! I guess today is the day, the start of something great!

I went to bed last night nervous the unknown. Nervous I got myself in to something I may regret later (I'll probably have this thought Thursday morning around 6:30am when I'm covered in sweat and gasping for breath). I decided the best thing to do was to get up this morning just as it was a workout day at Spiece. I packed my bag, packed all my food for the day and set off to the gym at 5:30. 

I quickly realized that I was enjoying myself walking around the track. I was listening to some music realizing that time to myself comes at a premium with a wife, 2 kids, 4 pets, and a demanding job. It was peaceful....relaxing. I

I know this isn't always going to be easy but I'm really looking forward to it!




Leave a comment


  • A bit sad not for a fresh blog but your doing awesome. Love the thanks you shared to your wife, sometimes we all forget to thank those who really help us succeed. I was also excited to hear of her 20lb loss..... the trickle down effect we all talk about. Thanks Rick and Tina

    0 Short URL:
  • A bit sad not for a fresh blog but your doing awesome. Love the thanks you shared to your wife, sometimes we all forget to thank those who really help us succeed. I was also excited to hear of her 20lb loss..... the trickle down effect we all talk about. Thanks Rick and Tina

    0 Short URL:
  • Dan, I love your appreciation for Jessica. Your marriage bond and the love you have is so strong and evident. I love seeing her there on Saturday's to support you! Plus, I like chatting with her too :) I am so proud of you and really have enjoyed being your teammate. You keep things light and fun. Do not let that scale get you down. Just look at yourself! You're not "puffy" anymore! LOL!!!! I cannot wait for you, Jessica, David and I to go out to dinner after this over. I truly believe this is the beginning to great friendships! As my Grandpa used to say, "Drink tap water and stay loose, my friend."

    0 Short URL:
  • Guest (Ashley)

    Awesome job this morning Dan! 6 miles before 8:30am is an amazing feat. I was happy I was able to finish out the run with you today. It was so great to hear that your wife is partaking in this journey with you...such a great way to hold each other accountable and motivate each other throughout this process. We are always here for you both! Hoping for another great loss this week...you have been showing such amazing progress. Week 8, here we come!

    0 Short URL:
  • Guest (Rose Murphy)

    You are all changing so much right before our eyes, sometimes it is hard to realize unless we look back at the pics from the beginning! I am glad you took the time to look and see that!
    I am so glad you are enjoying running! And extra credit!

    0 Short URL:
  • Great job. your doing amazing! Your getting it and how this is changing your life forever. Love the team work and competition with your team also. It was good to hear that your starting to like running too, exercise should be something you enjoy and look forward to. Thanks Rick and Tina

    0 Short URL:
  • Team Orange is on fire! Your hard work and focus is evident and inspiring. Thanks for the encouragement!

    0 Short URL:
  • Dan-
    Glad you are starting to get used to the "normal" of where your life is going. Love you are able to get up and find your normal. You are adjusting and we know you can continue this health and wellness pattern. We always say FWSW in NOT just 15 weeks but a lifetime. We give you the tools and resource to keep pushing forward and we have no doubt you will.

    Keep pushing and know we see how hard you are pushing. Love you are comfortable and know you are stronger then you ever imagined.

    You are doing great with the runs and will continue moving forward and closer to your first half marathon! Oh the feeling you will have when you cross that finish line! Can't wait until this day, its one of the most exciting ever!

    Week 6 here we come!
    Let's do this!
    Tina and Rick

    0 Short URL:
  • Guest (Jen Hollman)

    Dan, I'm super proud of you for many reasons! First, for being open and honest about your struggles and the pizza. This journey is just that...a journey. You are learning each and every day, and like Tina mentioned, the key is to be able to bounce back and not let one "slip-up" totally derail you. You work SO HARD and I am so proud to be able to work with you! Keep up all your super hard work and it will continue to pay off, hour after hour! Go, #octaneorange, go!!

    0 Short URL:
  • Guest (Rose Murphy)

    It is harder when you are traveling! When Frank travels, he researches ahead of time for good places to run/walk nearby, or sometimes does a stair workout or uses the pool, then he knows he has other options and a plan if the hotel gym is not an option.
    Don't let anything sidetrack you. It is easy to let missing a workout or not meeting your nutritional plan put you in a bad place mentally. Don't let it. This is a hard journey. Take a minute to remember all the reasons you decided you need this. And then take a minute to remember all the successes you've had so far and keep your eyes on the prize (not the one at the end of the 15 weeks) the new healthier you for the rest of your life.

    0 Short URL:
Load More