Long weighting list signs on for local ?Biggest Loser? battle

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Chad and Barb Nowak, Biggest Loser competitors, pause before a workout at Anna Woods? Fit and Fitness class. The couple entered the contest to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Malinda Just / Free Press

When Anna Woods and Jeanne Rziha discussed their goal for the number of participants in the Biggest Loser Marion County contest that began Jan. 8, they agreed they would be happy with 25 entrants.

As of the final weigh-in date Jan. 14, the number of participants reached 160.

?We were completely overwhelmed with the response,? said Woods, a certified personal trainer. ?It?s really exciting, that many people are wanting to make a commitment to a healthier lifestyle and hopefully make it a lifestyle change from here on and not just to be part of the contest.?

Rziha is coordinator of Greenhaw Wellness, which is sponsoring the program.

Chad and Barb Nowak, participants in the contest from Hillsboro, said they were using the competition as motivation to lose weight and make a lifestyle change.

?We thought (the contest) would motivate us to get healthy,? Barb said. ?It?s not just about the losing weight, but it?s more about getting healthy.?

Chad added he hopes to regain the type of lifestyle he had prior to two hip replacements.

?Over the past few years, my health has deteriorated with my two hip replacement surgeries and this was a good excuse for me to try to do something about it,? he said.

Chad said he intends to make a ?change of habit,? and Barb agreed.

?I hope to gain more energy, have a different outlook about exercising and nutrition and just focus more on that and actually being a better role model for our child as far as eating,? she said.

Woods hopes the rest of the participants in the contest will adopt the same outlook and focus not only on weightloss, but on making a lifetime change.

?Every year everyone has the same resolution (to lose weight),? she said, ?and so we were hoping this contest would be a little more instigation to stick with it and really make yourself do it, not just say it and not follow through, but make the change this year, make this year be different.?

At the kickoff seminar Jan. 8, Woods said she focused on nutrition and dietary information, in-home workout programs and target heart rate. She also used sugar visuals to show how much sugar an individual who drinks two regular sodas per day consumes in a day, a week, a month and a year.

For those drinking two sodas per day, 69 pounds of sugar are consumed each year.

?That was a real eye-opener for people,? Woods said. ?If you think of it, that?s like a 10-year-old kid.?

Woods said while a final tally of guests at the seminar wasn?t taken, people overflowed from Hillsboro City Hall into the hallways.

?I think (we have participants) from almost every extent of the county,? Woods said. ?I think we cover as many of the towns as I?ve heard about, at least there?s someone or a group participating from that area.?

With the large number of participants each paying a $20 entry fee and with donations from Emprise Bank, Central National Bank and Hillsboro State Bank, the winner will receive about $3,000.

While there is a monetary incentive, Woods stressed the importance of making a change for the better.

?I hope everyone wins,? Woods said, ?because obviously the ultimate goal for everyone in this competition is to lose weight.

?If they follow the guidelines we gave them and really have confidence in themselves and the program we developed, and really find what works for them and stick to it, hopefully they can gain all the health benefits of losing weight?lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, feel better and have more energy and obviously look better, that?s usually the main goal for everyone?and make that a lifetime change.

?That?s our ultimate goal and I hope people can reap those benefits and that we?ve provided the information they need in a clear way for them to make those changes.?

Look for nutritional guidelines and information provided by Woods in upcoming editions of the Free Press.

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