Civilian loses to win, encourages others to do the same
May 14, 2010
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - It's a typical Monday, and instead of slogging her way through the day like the majority of the working population, Adrian Jones whizzes through a spin class before a full day of work, bounces through a step class, dances through a zumba class and finishes out the day with hefting weights and stair stepping, at the Fort Shafter Gym, and the Health and Fitness Center and Martinez Physical Fitness Center, here.
"I was a junk food and sweet-aholic," said Jones, the winner of the recent Biggest Loser Competition held at Fort Shafter, "but now I'm addicted to healthy living and working out - and I love my addiction."
When the self-paced competition started in January, Jones weighed more than 200 pounds; 90 days later she tipped the scale at 163 pounds, losing 18.5 percent of her body weight, 37.4 pounds and six percent body fat.
And she's still going.
"You can do it, no matter how impossible it seems, stick with it and you can do it," Jones said. "There is no magic pill, but if you want it bad enough and step outside your comfort zone, with a lot of sweat, diet and exercise, you can do it."
Personal accountability and competition were the motivators for Jones. She journaled her food intake and posted her starting weight, daily workout updates and results regularly on facebook, which garnered quite a following of supporters.
To ensure she was focused, Jones walked into her office that first week in January, and told Command Sgt. Maj. Darryl Jannone, the U.S. Army Garrison-Oahu command sergeant major, that she, "joined Biggest Loser today - and I'm going to win it.
"If I can touch one lady, one person, it's worth it to me," said the 47-year-old single mother. "I want to share my story to inspire someone who thinks they can't - that they can. So many women think they can't. There's someone out there depressed like I was, but I am walking proof that diet and exercise works."
For Jones, her weight gain started with a depression that sucked her into an endless circle of despair, which led to less physical activity, more junk food and additional weight gain, which cycled back to further depression.
Jones cut out fast food, sugar and salt, and she committed to only eating food she prepared herself or nutrition in the most natural state as possible.
"I'm more proud of my new eating habits than anything else," she said. "I feel so much better. I have so much energy now; it's remarkable. I'm feeling so much more full of life. I feel and function differently."
In fact, with such a drastic change in her appearance, Jones was almost denied entry to the installation based on her ID card. Even after several perusals, the gate guard didn't believe the military identification matched the woman in the vehicle, and after producing further proof, he eventually advised her to renew her ID card.
"I look different. I feel different, she said. "Nothing fits me and I'm happy about it."
As the winner, Jones received a two-night stay at the Hale Koa Hotel, a gift certificate for a stand-up paddleboard lesson from Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation's Outdoor Recreation, and a Biggest Loser Family Cookbook.
The 90 Army civilians, family members and Soldiers who entered the Biggest Loser Competition collectively lost 379.2 pounds as a group in four months. Although a self-paced competition, participants were encouraged by daily e-mails with weight loss and healthy living tips, nutrition classes, mini-challenges and monthly weigh-ins. Next year, the competition will be held garrison-wide.
Reupena Sheck won two tickets to a Hale Koa luau, a gift certificate for FMWR Outdoor Recreation adventure snorkeling and a Biggest Loser Family Cookbook for his second place finish with 12.2 percent body-weight loss.
With 9.1 percent of her body weight lost, Lisa Steward won two Hale Koa Sunday Champagne Brunch tickets and a Betty Crocker 300 Calorie Cookbook.
"Someone else is feeling how I was feeling, thinking they can't do it," Jones said. "Make a life change. Commit to two tiny steps: dedicate yourself to healthy food and exercise, and the weight will come off. It's not impossible."