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Weight loss contest will determine Biggest Loser

Fort Macleod Biggest Loser organizer Tina Williams with public health nurse Sue Lichtenberger

According to Bob Harper, fitness trainer superstar on NBC’s Biggest Loser, almost everyone who made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight gave up two weeks in.
But thanks to Fort Macleod resident Tina Williams’ idea, people in this town can get back on track with their very own Biggest Loser Challenge.
TV’s Biggest Loser is into its 13th season. About 20 people move to a ranch where they work out with professional trainers, learn how to eat smart and overcome personal issues that contributed to their weight gain.
Every week, one person is voted off. At the end of the season, the person remaining at the ranch with the highest percentage of weight loss wins $250,000.
The Fort Macleod pot won’t be quite so much, but with participants paying $20 to join, $1 at every weekly weigh-in and a dollar a pound penalty for weight gained, the winner of the town’s challenge will win around $800.
Although the financial bonus of winning this contest is appealing, it’s not the reason why most people joined, or even why it was started.
“We were just sitting around talking about our weight,” participant Susan Simpson said. “Tina suggested starting a group and it just went from there.”
Williams took her idea to public health nurse Sue Lichtenberger who then agreed to do the confidential weekly weigh-ins at Fort Macleod Health Centre.
The contest caught on like wildfire.
Expecting about 10 participants, Sue Lichtenberger was surprised when 29 people showed up to be weighed in the first day.
Men and women from all age groups have joined, which goes to show that getting serious about health is something anyone at any age can do.
Many participants have asked for an education piece and Lichtenberger is planning to speak with the Fort Macleod nutritionist about this.
One unplanned and unique feature about Fort Macleod’s Biggest Loser challenge is that it has inadvertently drawn a group of people together, working towards a common goal.
This aspect is an important piece to busy mom Courtney Dyck, who said belonging to the group and feeling like there’s support out there really helps.
Dyck also credits the fact of having to face Sue (Lichtenberger) on the scale every Monday makes her feel a real sense of accountability, something that was missing from previous weight loss attempts.
When asked where she would spend any winnings, Dyck said, “I am doing this for me and me alone . . . So that is where the money will go. New clothes, new hair, new nails. Could be a grand ol’ day of Courtney time!”
The challenge started Jan. 24 but people are welcome to join any time.
“If people join late, at least they’re being motivated to lose weight,” Lichtenberger said. “It’s great.”
The contest runs for eight weeks.

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