Contest seeks area’s ‘Biggest Loser’

Published 5:00 am Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Lawrence County Hospital is fighting back againstMississippi’s label as the fattest state in the nation.

The hospital, in cooperation with St. Luke Home Health andMississippi Wound Care Specialists, will be sponsoring a weightloss contest fashioned after the television show “The BiggestLoser.”

The competition is open to all citizens of Lawrence County andthe surrounding areas, and Lincoln County residents are encouragedto make the trip over to Monticello to participate. Contestantsunder the age of 18 must have their parent or guardian present atthe competition’s first meeting on March 31.

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“We want to get Lawrence County and the people of thesurrounding areas involved in this program,” said Mississippi WoundCare Specialists Community Educator James Lambert, who iscoordinating the competition. “We want Lawrence County to do itspart to make the state no longer the fattest state. This is a waywe can better our health and promote healthy eating andliving.”

The entry fee for the competition will be $10 per person, all ofwhich will be put into the pot to comprise the grand prize – 50percent of the total entry fees. Second and third place finisherswill split the remaining 50 percent. The more participants, thebigger the prize.

The initial meeting will be a weigh-in at 5:30 p.m. on Monday,March 31, at the Lawrence County Hospital.

Dr. Brantly Pace, a general practice physician, will be on handto discuss how weight affects other health issues. Contestants willalso be allowed to order and pay for a Biggest Loser T-shirt atthis meeting.

From the first meeting onward, the race is on to see whichparticipant achieves the greatest percentage of weight loss. Therewill be a weigh-in every two weeks until the scales are brought outto determine the winner on Monday, June 30.

After the starting weigh-in on March 31, subsequent weigh-inswill take place on April 14, April 28, May 12, May 26, June 9 andthe finale on June 30 – all at 5:30 p.m. Contestants do not have toattend every weigh-in, but must be present for the first and finalweigh-ins.

While the contest is running, contestants may lose weight in anynatural method.

“People can use any type of diet plan they want, but we stronglyrecommend that they seek their physician’s approval beforestarting,” Lambert said. “It’s not limited to any one type ofdieting – whatever works for the individual and recommended bytheir physicians. People can use any dieting approach they wantexcept forms of weight loss surgery.”

While the Biggest Loser Contest is being carried out, thehospital will schedule walks in Monticello to help the contestantsalong. Attendance at the walks is not mandatory.

Contestants will have the option of gathering sponsors for theirwalks, and all money raised will go toward the Lawrence CountyRelay for Life on April 25.

There will be door prizes offered at each of the contest’sweigh-ins as incentives to stay the course. To keep up diversitywith dieting, each weigh-in will also feature an exchange ofhealthy recipes.

“That way, people won’t be eating the same foods over and overduring the contest,” Lambert said. “You know, you get on a diet andget tired of eating the same foods, and it makes it difficult tostay committed.”

Lambert, who has enjoyed success with similar programs in thepast, said he has had very positive feedback on the Biggest LoserContest and is hoping for a large turnout. The response has beenparticularly good from the medical community, which knows firsthandthe health dangers of being overweight.

“Our physicians here are really involved in encourage theirpatients to join weight-loss programs,” said Robin Mitchell, aregistered nurse and director of education at the Lawrence CountyHospital. “We’re asking physicians in Lawrence and Lincoln countiesto welcome their patients to join this competition – it givespeople a good incentive to become healthy. It’s a fun way to loseweight through competition and fellowship.”

Those interested in signing up early for the Biggest Losercompetition may contact Mitchell or Harriet Robbins at the LawrenceCounty Hospital at 601-587-4051. Regular sign-ups will take placeat the first weigh-in on March 31.