ALTON — Despite the name, Alton’s newest weight loss challenge is a chance for everyone who rises to the challenge to become a winner.
Inspired by the reality television show of the same name, The Biggest Loser encourages participants to compete for prizes in return for losing weight. With a Jan. 8 kickoff, the local version of the contest is a chance to adopt new lifestyle habits as well as compete for cash and prizes.
“I have had this in my mind to do forever,” Nautilus general manager Susie Sweetman said. “This is going to be an annual program. This is a community effort to raise awareness on being healthy. I, along with the sponsors, feel it is important to educate everyone on how to change your lifestyle.”
At the beginning and end of the program, participants will receive cholesterol and blood sugar tests through OSF Saint Anthony’s Health Center as well as regular weigh-ins to easily monitor their progress. The program is available for both teams and individuals.
Special events for The Biggest Loser contestants will be held throughout the 13-week program, as well as presentations including nutrition and fitness tips from Dr. D’Andrienne Jones and Dr. Katie Drake and healthy food choices with Cleta’s Nutrition to keep people “educated and motivated.”
“We are all on the same page when it comes to eating clean and avoiding processed foods, but there will be different options and viewpoints when it comes to good health, so you will definitely be able to find something that works for you,” Sweetman said.
Contestants will be weighed weekly (eligibility for prizes depends on weigh-ins at least every other week) and will be able to take advantage of Nautilus fitness classes and equipment. Weight loss will be determined by body fat percentage.
Consultants will be on hand at classes and events to answer questions and provide encouragement. Sweetman says Nautilus provides a family-friendly and down-to-earth atmosphere in which to exercise without feeling judged.
“The days of spandex and leg warmers are over,” she said. “We have moved into the direction of a family center. I know our guests by name, and I notice when someone has not been here.
“We care, and we want you to feel at home.”
Prizes are by no means thin. First-place receives $300 in cash, a $25 gift certificate for Cleta’s Nutrition in Godfrey, a free spinal exam ($250 value), one month of Artisan’s Bistro Gourmet Meals, and a one-year membership to Nautilus. Second- and third-place prizes include cash awards, Nautilus memberships, gift certificates, Artisan’s Bistro Gourmet Meals, consultations with nutritionists, and much more.
In addition, everyone who participates receives goody bags from sponsors as well as specially designed T-shirts upon completion of program.
More than monetary and gift compensation, participants walk away with the tools they need to start a new life journey.
“Winning cash is excellent, but this is much bigger than that,” Sweetman said. “It’s about wanting the best out of your life. This doesn’t end when the 13-week contest ends; this is a life change that will give you the tools to carry on with a healthy lifestyle.
“But it’s up to you. You can stop with the 13-week program, or you can make your mind up that you will take the positive feedback and make a new start. Other diets may have failed, but this is where you can make a difference.”
Sponsors for The Biggest Loser include Complete Supplements, The Healing Institute, Cleta’s Nutrition, AdVantage News, Dr. Frank Bemis and Associates, WBGZ 1570, Nautilus and OSF Saint Anthony’s Health Center.
A variety of pricing options are available, including discounted rates for The Biggest Loser program when a Nautilus package is purchased. Day care is available for convenience as well as fitness classes for children. A pool provides exercise opportunities for those with arthritis and other joint issues (new Aquafit classes also are available beginning with the new year).
For more information, call Susie at (618) 466-9115.
“What is there to think about? You have nothing to lose and everything in the world to gain,” Sweetman said.
Well, nothing to lose except a few extra pounds and some unhealthy habits.