Each year hopeful people make the decision to try their hand again at weight loss. The statement, "If at first you don't succeed try, try, again" is true but tough. Getting your weight under control can at times be a never ending battle.

That is one reason, weight loss programs such as the Biggest Loser are so popular not only at this time of the year, but year round. These programs are designed to educate, motivate and equip individuals with goal reaching lifestyle skills that will last long after the program has ended.

Fort Jackson's Biggest Loser challenge began Jan. 6. The challenge is free and offers three categories of health improvement: fitness, weight loss or total lifestyle change. During the challenge, staff will help competitors reach their goals with personal training, healthy eating consultations and group exercise.

The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation launched the Biggest Loser challenge on Fort Jackson 8 years ago. Since then, the challenge has grown as the community welcomed this approach to help people get their health under control.

This year's registrants seek more than weight loss, many expressed varying combinations of desires that led them to participate.

Preston Gillaspie, a father of four said he would love to improve his physical activity to help keep up with his children.

"My children are young and active and I want to be able to keep up with them," he said. "I am looking forward to the support and guidance from the Biggest Loser program."

Another participant, retired Lt. Col. Diana Hardy said she knew it was time to get her health under control. Hardy, now a motivational speaker, wanted to set the example for living healthy and she said the challenge was an ideal choice.

"I saw 13 deaths last year and the quality of life of aging friends and family," Hardy said. "I saw the writing on the wall and choose to embrace the Biggest Loser program."

(Editor's note: Pamela Long is the Fitness and Wellness Specialist for the Directorate Family and Morale Welfare and Recreation. If you would like more information about the Biggest Loser challenge or any of the fitness and wellness programs, please 751-3700.)