NAPPANEE — The town of Nappanee is now 853.7 pounds lighter. That is, 55 of its residents are.
The second annual Nappanee’s Biggest Loser Program came to a close Tuesday evening, March 26, with an awards ceremony at the Nappanee Chamber of Commerce, 312 W. Market.
The program’s 55 participants lost an average of 15.52 pounds each and a combined total of 644.75 inches.
Lindsay Yoder, an alumna of last year’s Nappanee’s Biggest Loser competition, presented awards for the three men and women who lost the greatest percentage of their starting weight and the man and woman who lost the greatest number of inches.
Through the 10-week program, organized by the chamber of commerce with local business sponsors, participants attended meetings every two weeks for encouragement and information on exercise and nutrition.
Due to an error, two women were presented with the $250 cash prize and makeover package in the female category.
Sam Winslow of Nappanee lost 33.6 pounds, or 16.87 percent of her starting weight and a total of 24.5 inches.
The other winner, Kelly Hale of Union, Mich., lost 19.6 pounds, or 12.74 percent of her starting weight and 13.25 inches.
Winslow said she planned to use her $250 prize to do something fun with her husband, Ken, and their four children next week during spring break.
When she heard about the competition, Winslow decided it was time to make a change.
“I had been wanting to do something,” she said. “I lost a friend and got depressed and put on weight. I’m very competitive, so this was the motivation I needed. I needed to compete against someone other than just myself.”
She cleaned up her shopping list, cutting out the junk food and adding more chicken, fish and fresh vegetables.
The results impacted more than just how she fit into clothes.
“I’m a happier person,” she said. “I started feeling so much better.”
Hale said she saw a similar impact on her mood and energy.
As a teacher and a coach for three different sports teams, Hale was busy, ate mostly fast food and was always tired.
“Lindsay (Yoder) was convinced it was my food,” Hale said. “I thought it couldn’t be that. I was tired because I was busy.”
Hale had been active in sports in high school and college, but had put on weight after graduation.
She did a 24-day fitness challenge prior to the Biggest Loser competition and lost 14 pounds.
Now, another 19 pounds lighter, she has more energy.
“I feel a lot better,” she said. “I can wake up in the morning and work out.”
Hale plans to save some of the cash prize and also buy a bathing suit for spring break.
“I need to buy new work clothes, too,” she said. “My pants don’t fit!”
The male winner, Todd Wyatt, lost more than a fifth of his body weight during the competition. He lost a total of 37.4 pounds, 20.17 percent of his starting weight.
Jon Andrews of Nappanee lost 53 pounds and 34 inches, winning a six-month membership to Nappanee Health and Fitness for most inches lost by a man in the competition.
“I’m competitive, so this was ideal for me,” he said of the program.
Andrews said he used to run half marathons, but at the beginning of the competition he ran and walked a mile in 17 minutes and 4 seconds.
“On Friday before the final weigh-in I ran my 100th mile in 10 weeks and I ran it in 9 minutes and 22 seconds,” he said. “This was a life change. Now my kids, who are 7 and 5, want to run a 5K with Mom and Dad in April. This is something we can do as a family forever.”