By Bob Reinert/USAG-Natick Public AffairsOctober 11, 2011
You've probably seen the TV show on which people compete to see who can lose the greatest amount of weight. Well, U.S. Army Garrison-Natick Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation recently held its own, smaller version of that competition.
In fact, it was called the "Smallest Winner."
From July 5 to Sept. 26, 22 participants dropped a total of 152.6 pounds in the 12-week weight-loss challenge.
"It's about seven pounds a person," said Jaylynn Richard of Army Community Service, who conceived the competition. "Almost all of the participants are already (asking) when we're going to do the next one."
Winners -- determined by percentage of weight lost, rather than pounds lost -- included Jeffery Dunn, first; Sharon Lesher, second; and Megan Hoey, third.
Participants paid $5 to join, and weekly weigh-ins were held. Participants paid $1 for each pound they gained. Those opting out of the competition before completion had to pay another $5.
"This is a real line-in-the-sand program," said Darin St. George, FMWR fitness program manager. "You can't do it halfway. You've got to really commit and jump in."
Dunn was awarded 50 percent of the money collected and five free weeks of "Thirty Minutes to Win It" exercise classes. Lesher took home 30 percent of the money and the classes. Hoey received 20 percent of the money and the classes.
"I found the $1-a-pound penalty at the weekly weigh-ins really helped motivate me to make smarter food choices on a daily basis," Dunn said. "Thanks to Darin and Jaylynn for organizing the competition and motivating all of us to be healthier."
"It was a good competition," Lesher said. "I actually didn't expect to place. I can't wait to do it again, one more time."
Hoey got into the competition with friends and sought to get closer to her college weight.
"It was fun," Hoey said. "It's much easier to maintain (weight) once you get there than to get back to where you used to be. I feel like now that I'm back a lot closer to where I was before, it'll be a lot easier to stay here, because the hard part's over."
As St. George pointed out, the holidays -- and possible weight gain -- are looming.
"The big three are coming up -- Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas," St. George said. "You're going to people's homes, eating party food. It's all at your fingertips."
For more information on the next Smallest Winner competition, contact Darin St. George at email@example.com, (508) 494-5336, or Jaylynn Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org, (508) 233-5377.