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Fort Macleod crowns town’s Biggest Loser

Winner of Fort Macleod's biggest loser contest

Joella Bevan lost 26.4 pounds, or 11.6 per cent of her total body weight, to win the Fort Macleod Biggest Loser contest. Bevan is shown here with runner-up Tina Williams and public health nurse Sue Lichtenberger.

Joella Bevan is such a loser.
And after shedding 11.6 per cent of her total body weight in eight weeks, Bevan is in fact Fort Macleod’s Biggest Loser.
Bevan lost 26.4 pounds during the weekly weigh-in contest to top 44 other participants and collect the $1,274.74 pot.
“I feel so much better,” Bevan said. “I’ve got so much more energy.”
The contest was based on the television show Biggest Loser, in which 20 people are helped to learn to eat healthier, exercise and deal with personal issues that led to weight gain.
Fort Macleod’s Biggest Loser contest had a simpler plan. Each participant paid $20 to join, $1 at each weekly weigh-in session, and $1 for each pound gained during the previous week.
Total weight loss by Biggest Loser participants over eight weeks was 242.6 pounds.
“It was such a good community effort,” said Tina Williams, who got the Biggest Loser contest rolling.
Public health nurse Sue Lichtenberger, who weighed each participant every Monday, agreed.
“I was amazed at the companionship,” Lichtenberger said. “Everybody supported each other.”
The friendly competition provided the spark for some people to change their lifestyle.
“It was the kick in the butt that got me going,” Bevan said. “It was the competition. I was in it to win until the very last week.”
Williams, who lost 10.4 per cent of her total body weight to place second said it was the weekly weigh-in that kept her focused.
“The motivation for me was the accountability,” Williams said of knowing that every Monday she would have to step on the scale in front of public health nurse Sue Lichtenberger.
Bevan lost weight through regular exercise and with a healthier diet that eliminated sugar and carbohydrates, and smaller portions.
That was music to the ears of a public health nurse.
“The whole point of it was to teach everybody to do it in a healthy way,” Lichtenberger said.
Bevan made exercise a part of her daily routine.
“I walk every day with the kids,” Bevan said. “If it was ugly out, I went to the gym that night to walk my six kilometres on the treadmill.”
Bevan admitted she was so caught up in the competition that during the eighth week of Biggest Loser she went on a lemon cleanse to shed seven extra pounds.
“And I gave her heck for that,” Lichtenberger said.
The Biggest Loser contest incorporated some education for participants, including a presentation by a dietitian on managing hunger.
Triathlete Marquise Bourdon-Harris also spoke about motivation and exercise.
Bevan and Williams found planning is essential to eating a healthy diet. Buying the ingredients in advance for health meals, and keep healthy snacks stocked is essential.
“If you leave it to the last minute, you’re going to pick something higher in calories,” Lichtenberger added. “To be able to keep up with it, planning is really the key.”
Some Biggest Loser participants suggested starting another challenge right away, but it was decided ongoing competition might get stale.
“I think it would be fun to do it once a year,” Williams said.
Some of the Biggest Loser participants are determined to continue losing weight.
“There have been a lot of people ask if they can keep coming to weight in, even though the contest is over,” Lichtenberger noted.
Joella Bevan isn’t about to rest on her title of Biggest Loser. With a new goal in sight she plans to continue to eat healthy and exercise regularly.
“I’m going to keep losing more because I’m going to Las Vegas in June,” she smiled.