Biggest Loser contest encourages community to get healthy

........................................................................................................................................................................................

Magdalena-area residents can now join a grass-roots “Biggest Loser” contest. The top loser will get a lot less than the $250,000 Rachel Fredrickson did, the controversial winner on the popular NBC show. On the other hand, Magdaleneans won’t have to travel to California or even Socorro for personal coaching and healthy foods, according to organizer Alice Lawton.

Karen Bailey-Bowman — El Defensor Chieftain: Magdalena Biggest Loser challengers must weigh in once a week with contest organizer Alice Lawton. Pictured, Charity Ann Jacobs waits while Lawton resets the scale. Jacobs’ four pound loss won the Biggest Loser weekly contest; she received a hand-made ceramic painting donated by local artist Karen Waggoner.

Magdalena-area residents can now join a grass-roots “Biggest Loser” contest. The top loser will get a lot less than the $250,000 Rachel Fredrickson did, the controversial winner on the popular NBC show. On the other hand, Magdaleneans won’t have to travel to California or even Socorro for personal coaching and healthy foods, according to organizer Alice Lawton.

Lawton said the Bountiful Baskets program’s fresh produce deliveries to the village prompted her to organize a local weight-loss challenge.

“With New Year’s resolutions fading and the Bountiful Baskets program coming to town, I felt it was an excellent time,” she said.

It’ll cost $10 to join Lawton’s challenge group, not the almost $40 charged by the syndicated program affiliated with the TV show. So far, 37 people have joined the challenge, she said. The biggest loser gets the entire pot.

“All that money goes to the big winner,” she said. “There’s $370 in the pot so far.”

Anyone wanting to participate can “like” Lawton’s Magdalena Biggest Loser Facebook page or stop by Karolyn’s Hair Kare beauty shop at 103 First Street in Magdalena.

The last day to sign up is Feb. 21, and the challenge ends April 30.

Winner or loser, every challenger will benefit from the personal attention of Lawton, a successful Biggest Loser participant,

Lawton herself doesn’t have to lose any more weight — she lost 165 pounds after weight-loss surgery seven years ago. She said the Biggest Loser program she joined in Tennessee helped her maintain her loss after she gained back 30 pounds.

“At this point, I don’t have any weight to lose, but I started the Facebook page because I care about the health and well being of the citizens of Magdalena. I got involved in a (Biggest Loser) challenge that helped me get re-focussed. I lost that 30 pounds, and I have maintained that big loss.”

Magdalena’s Biggest Loser contest is pretty low key.

“We’re doing a little contest, a little challenge,” she said. “I just put the word out. I started a Facebook page for Biggest Loser Magdalena, put up flyers every place and called Karolyn. She’s just awesome — she knows everybody.”

Karolyn is Karolyn Rolston, owner of Karolyn’s Hair Kare.

The biggest loser won’t be the only winner. Lawton said runners-up win a massage donated by Leslie Clark, and a haircut and manicure donated by Rolston.

Participants set up a schedule to weigh in weekly in private at Lawton’s work place in Magdalena, but nothing else is required — no meetings nor any specific diet plan.

“It’s just a matter of accountability,” she said. “People have to get on the scale in front of me once a week; meetings are nice, but not mandatory. As part of my weight loss journey, I was in a support group for many years. It was helpful for me, but may not work for everybody.”

Lawton said she’ll start meetings if there is a demand for them, but the Facebook page should help people keep connected.

“This is, for the most part, a self-led program,” she said.

She put links to different diet plans on facebook.

“I put out information from a lay person’s perspective, from some one who has lived it,” Lawton said. “What worked for me is a low-carb diet,” she said. “I stay away from what is white — white sugar, white flour, white potatoes, white rice. As long as I keep those to a minimum, I can maintain my weight. I also try not to eat anything with more than five ingredients.”

She said people should make life style changes they can adhere to.