Big losers, small victories in competition to shed pounds
June 9, 2006
GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — Angel Washington said she never had a weight problem until she had her fifth child.
Then she gained 100 pounds.
But, thanks to the Grafenwöhr fitness center’s Lose to Win program, Washington is now 30 pounds lighter. She was one of 170 participants in the “Biggest Loser” weight-loss program who collectively lost more than 1,149 pounds through diet and exercise in the past five months.
“The theory behind the program was to get people to come together as a community to make a healthy change, lose weight and get fit and active,” Welfare and Recreation fitness specialist Daniel Fraizer said.
Lose to Win involved a five-member team contest, unlike the Biggest Loser, which focused on finding an individual winner, Fraizer said.
“If you are accountable to your teammates, you are more likely to stick with the program,” he said.
The top team in the program — Degraisser — lost a combined 87.7 pounds, with three members losing more than 20 pounds each and three participating in the Army-Europe 10-Miler at Grafenwöhr last month, he said.
Helmut Suttner of Team DPW was the biggest loser, dropping 37.8 pounds and 6.2 percent of his body fat, Fraizer said.
During the competition, 30 participants lost more than 10 pounds, eight lost more than 20 pounds and two lost more than 30 pounds.
Participants weighed in and checked their body fat weekly during Lose to Win. Teams were awarded points for every pound of fat lost, with extra points for decreases in body fat percentage, fitness classes attended and participation in a nutrition class and in the 10-Miler, he said.
Americans should emulate Germans, who exercise regularly, said Frazier, who plays rugby and teaches indoor cycling and circuit training classes.
“On post, on a beautiful day you will hardly see anyone walking, whereas off post you will see a lot of Germans out exercising. Americans tend to sit and watch instead of getting up and participating,” he said.
On-post fast food was another culprit in bulging waistlines, he added.
“If you eat fast food for lunch on-post, you have pretty much almost exceeded your fat limit for the day. Even the commissary food is a problem. Go down the cereal aisle and it is about 90 percent sugar. Healthy choices in the commissary are few and far between,” he said.
Washington, who grew up on a farm, arrived at Grafenwöhr 10 months ago. When her husband deployed to Iraq, she packed on 20 pounds by sitting around the house and looking after children over the winter, she said.
Once tipping the scales at 212, she now weighs 152.
“I started exercising (with Lose to Win) in January. I came to the gym every day, Monday to Friday.
“I do an hour on the glider and an hour of kick-box aerobics. After aerobics, I do half an hour to 45 minutes of weights,” she said. “I do high reps – four sets of 20 to 30 reps on the bench press and the same squatting with a 45-pound bar. After that, I walk for 15 minutes and then run three miles.”