It was so successful last year Avera McKennan is doing it again. More than 1800 people on 371 teams lost 8,895 pounds in the 2008 Avera McKennan Community Weight Loss Challenge last summer. We were at the kickoff Saturday May 2 in Sioux Falls and talked to the woman who prides herself on being the biggest loser.
Ali Vincent became the first female "Biggest Loser" when she won Season 5 of the popular TV show by dropping 112 pounds. The 5' 5" Mesa, Arizona hair stylist started out at 234 pounds. She says she barely squeezed into a size 20. Now the super fit petite power house is a perfect Size 4.
April 15th was her one year anniversary of the dramatic weight loss and she has maintained every single inch. She provided just the right inspiration for the 2009 Avera McKennan Community Wide Weight Loss Challenge kickoff outside the Avera Living Well Center.
Vincent says, "I knew for the first time I was choosing me. I finally told the truth about where I was and I wanted more. I want to tell people you are gonna have pain and there are days when you are sore and you say I don't want to go to the gym and that's why you need friends to remind you of why you are doing this."
The kickoff brought out a variety of cleverly named teams, like the "Chunky Dunkers", "Operation Weight Loss: Unjunk My Trunk" and the "Weight Loss Warriors".
Darcie Schmidt is part of the Weight Loss Warriors team. She says, "Every month we meet for our weight loss support group and we wanted to kick start that a little. What better way than to do than by doing this."
Stacey Kant and Stephen Kraul formed a team at the last minute. The back of their red T-shirts reads:KANT KRAUL! YOU GOTTA SWEAT TO LOSE WEIGHT. Their wedding party teamed up and plans to lose as much weight as little Stephen Kraul II weighs which is 60 pounds. The wedding is in September.
Ali Vincent says, "Thinking of losing more than 100 pounds seemed impossible and I didn't know how to get started. You get started by saying I want something different."
Ali's theme during the show and now: Dream it. Believe it. Be it. If seeing is believing, I believe you can do anything you set your mind to. Here's hoping you all become successful losers too! And I mean that in the nicest possible way.
You can join the 12-week online health challenge by registering at www.AveraMcKennanChallenge.org. They will also post daily health tips during the 3 month event.