Sports: Lakenheath’s weight-loss contest winners see reward from new habits
Stars and Stripes May 7, 2008
After years of fad dieting, Christine Adams realized that moving her body was the key to shedding pounds permanently.
Since recovering from a broken foot in August, the Air Force wife has lost 76 pounds. She has taken off the last 28 since January while part of the Biggest Loser contest at RAF Lakenheath. The weight loss coupled with her fitness test improvements won Adams the coveted title.
“I was excited,” said the 41-year-old Feltwell resident. “It was a goal. And I’m big on goals.”
Adams won two free personal training sessions and a 30-minute massage from the Lakenheath gym for her hard work.
“The prize doesn’t mean a whole lot monetarily but it’s a goal, it’s something to shoot for,” she said. “Any motivation helps.”
The contest — based on the reality TV show with the same name — started in January and attracted 21 contestants. The top five winners lost a total of 64 pounds, said Lorraine Botwright, fitness program director.
“It was a smaller crowd than we usually get but we were able to really personalize it more this year,” she said.
With Saturday boot camps, advice from fitness instructors and help with everything from spinning classes to how to use the equipment, the gym staff tried to meet the needs of each contestant, she said.
For Adams, who normally worked out at the smaller gym at RAF Feltwell, the Lakenheath center has become an addiction.
“They really embraced what we were interested in. Now I don’t want to work out anywhere else,” said Adams, who went from occasional walks to hitting the gym five to six times a week.
“The biggest thing I got from the contest is that I’m using a far greater amount of equipment at a far greater intensity than I’ve ever done,” she said.
Adams is also the leader of the local chapter of Taking Off Pounds Sensibly, or TOPS. The group meets Mondays at Lakenheath Elementary to discuss such things as healthy cooking tips and the emotional rollercoaster those striving to lose weight sometimes face.
Adams, who still wants to lose another 70 pounds by the end of the year, said she is now dedicated to healthy living instead of bouncing from one “stupid” diet to another.
“You have to make a commitment,” she said. “If you’re not willing to do that, you’re not going to succeed.”
Mark Killen said the same goes for him. Killen was the male winner who came in third in the overall contest.
Killen, family advocacy outreach manager with the 48th Medical Operations Squadron, lost 25 pounds during the course of the three-month contest.
Along with hitting the gym regularly, Killen said the secret to his success was cutting out fast food.
“It’s hard with all the temptation around the base and the office,” he said.
But with the help of a group of co-workers who are also hell-bent on losing weight, Killen has found a new sense of willpower.
“Somebody will bring cake in the office, and we’ll all have a stare down,” he said. “And none of us budge.”
Between the Biggest Loser contest and his co-workers, Killen has been flush with motivation. However, turning 40 this year was probably the biggest factor in his decision to get fit.
“That’s a big deal. You realize you’re not getting any younger, and, if you’re going to change, it better be now.”
For more information on Taking Off Pounds Sensibly, call Christine Adams at 01842-82-7883.