Biggest Loser West Rowan Style
By Susan Shinn
MOUNT ULLA ó One of the bedrock rules of dieting is: When you lose weight, don’t reward yourself with food.
Tell that to Bob Blake, Clark Adams and Jason Chester. The trio won the “Biggest Loser Contest ó West Rowan Style” last week.
To celebrate, they bought 20 pounds of shrimp, 20 pounds of chicken wings and 15 pounds of steak, serving them up for all 33 participants in the high school’s contest.
“That’s our style,” Blake said as he stood in front of an enormous cooker Thursday morning, slathering sauce onto the wings.
Hey, you gotta give these folks their due.
Altogether, West’s staff members lost a combined 634.9 pounds, with each participant losing an average of 8.74 percent of their body weight.
A few shrimp and wings are definitely in order.
Blake, Adams and Chester lost a total of 132.6 pounds, taking first place.
Their team name was the 747s ó their combined weight when the contest began.
Their goal, Blake said, was to lose the equivalent of one person ó and that’s exactly what they did.
Teams weighed each Friday morning for 11 weeks.
Jane Patterson was the keeper of the scales.
She and her team members, Leigh Anne Wetmore and Ashley Clinard, each lost 10 pounds.
“It’s the best thing we’ve ever done,” Patterson said. “People don’t want to quit.”
The contest was the idea of Blake and Principal Jamie Durant.
Blake always has a weight-loss contest each year after Christmas; Durant proposed the team concept.
It worked well.
“We became accountable to each other and a lot of us were cheerleaders for each other,” Christine Mullins said. “That’s why a lot of us were successful.”
“What really helped me was the fact that I was on a diet with guys I ate lunch with every day,” Blake said.
The three, who have 30 minutes for lunch, spent 15 minutes eating and another 15 minutes playing Chinese Ping-Pong, a fast-paced game involving three players moving around the table, alternating hits.
“It’s constant movement,” Blake said.
The 747s discussed their strategy. Blake admitted he was skeptical about teaming with Adams and Chester, neither of whom had ever dieted.
But they were all determined.
“Our goal was to consume less than 2,000 calories a day,” Blake said. “We did Lean Cuisines and Smart Ones for lunch and acted like we had some sense at supper.”
“To start with, it was really tough,” Adams said. “We went from probably about 4,000 calories a day to about 1,500.”
They also ramped up their exercise routines.
“I did too much,” Blake admitted. “I went to the Y every morning and evening, and I walked during my planning period.”
Chester worked out at his mother’s basement gym. Adams rode an exercise bike almost nightly at his church.
Other teachers walked together on the track after school.
Sarah Bailey Wooten followed the South Beach diet to lose 21.6 pounds. She’d like to lose 3.4 more for a total loss of 25 pounds.
“I’m a very competitive person,” she said. “I didn’t want to let my team down. And I wanted a star. I worked for the star.”
During weigh-ins, participants received a shiny star sticker for posting a loss. That turned out to be a huge incentive in itself. Students saw the teachers wearing the stickers ó and encouraged them along.
Wendy Fontenot had already lost weight when the contest started. She’s lost 35 pounds altogether.
“I was recently diagnosed as a diabetic,” she said. “So it was purely health reasons for doing it.”
Fontenot, who’s been working with a dietitian at Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast, said that her blood sugar has never been out of range since. “It’s been well worth it.”
Durant, who lost 20.6 pounds, also saw his high cholesterol and blood pressure come under better control.
“A group of us are going to continue to weigh in weekly,” he said.
Adams has never had health problems ó and he doesn’t want to.
“For the last several years, I’ve weighed about 280,” he said. “At 27, that’s not a big deal, but at 37, it’s gonna be a big deal.”
Everybody pitched in $10 at the beginning of the Biggest Loser contest ó and all got to enjoy the fabulous meal on Thursday.
Besides the delicious meat and seafood, there was a ton of desserts from which to choose ó along with mac and cheese, broccoli salad and French fries, which Chester served up piping hot from the fryer.
“Guys planned this, can you tell?” Fontenot asked, smiling.
Thursday was a day to party, but most of these Biggest Losers will get right back on track after spring break.
Contact Susan Shinn at 704-797-4289 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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