The following is an article that appeared in the Boothbay Register, our local newspaper. You can see it on their site here. The photo is the picture they ran with it in the paper. All in all, I thought it was a great article, and within 48 hours of it appearing I’ve already had close to 30 people sign up for the next challenge. Wow! Anyway, here’s the article …
Boothbay Losers Lose Big
Sue Mello, Staff Reporter
The NBC reality weight loss program, “The Biggest Loser,” pits overweight people in a competition to see who can lose the most weight. “Losers” are removed from their real lives and have the benefits of personal trainers, top-notch exercise facilities, specially prepared food, and no distractions. Being one of those survivor-type shows, contestants are also regularly voted off the show, sometimes precisely for being “too competitive.”
Boothbay’s Matthew McNutt was one of those competitors quickly booted off the show and deprived of its benefits. However, through determination and hard work, he stuck to his diet and exercise program and succeeded in losing 176 pounds in eight months. What’s even more impressive is that McNutt has managed to keep the weight off and is now sharing his success with others.
Last September, McNutt launched a 12-week biggest loser contest for the Boothbay region. Like the television show, contestants modified their diets, exercised regularly, met weekly for a “weigh-in,” and competed for cash prizes. Unlike the television version, no one was whisked away from their everyday world, no one was voted out of the competition, and no one’s weight was posted for the world to see. McNutt provided the expertise for eating right and exercising, and the entire group provided the emotional support and accountability needed to stick with the program
On December 15, the fourteen Boothbay losers gathered for a final weigh-in at the Boothbay Baptist Church. The hungry, but happy, participants took turns being privately weighed by McNutt before partaking in an array of healthy foods and drinks. While McNutt weighed and tallied the results, some of the losers talked about the keys to their success.
Tom Dewey, ultimately Boothbay’s biggest loser, said that when he started the program he was not exercising or watching his diet. “Before I started, fruits and vegetables were my enemy,” he jokes. Dewey started out exercising about 20 minutes a day and now is up to about an hour per day on his Nordic ski machine. Not only has Dewey lost a lot of weight, he says he feels better and sleeps better. He keeps track of what he eats, using the Biggest Loser Calorie Counter Book provided by McNutt. He has also cut back on his carbohydrate intake, and made some key substitutions, such as water for whole milk and frozen yogurt for ice cream.
Sisters Anne Dolloff and Kim Morton were both exercising before starting the program, but were not as careful about their eating habits. Both women say that they have become more mindful about what they eat. They also plan ahead now, making sure that they have the right kind of food available, particularly at work.
McNutt observed that weight problems can result not only from eating the wrong foods, but also from delaying eating until one is ravenous. Hungry people frequently make poor food choices and overeat. McNutt’s losers eat regularly in moderation, and plan for healthy snacks and meals.
Tammi Morrison cited the weekly weigh-ins and pep talks as the major key to success. She said that McNutt’s program tied together both the physical and psychological aspects of weight loss. Coming together as a group to talk about their progress, cheer each other on, and mentally prepare for challenges, such as the holidays, was the perfect recipe for success for all the participants.
Before presenting the biggest loser personal and team awards, McNutt noted, in an oblique reference to his own “Biggest Loser” experience, “I’m really excited that every person who stuck with the program lost weight. I’ve really enjoyed hearing that beyond the weight loss, you’ve found a difference in your clothes. You’ve noticed a difference in how you feel. Even though you didn’t win the money, you have to keep reminding yourself of that.”
Tom Dewey, who lost an amazing 63.5 pounds — 19.5 percent of his body weight, won the first prize of $275 for the biggest individual loser. Cindy Sanborn came in second, with a 10.8 percent body weight loss, and Kim Morton and Karen Nickerson tied for third, each losing 9.9 percent of her body weight. The team of Karen Nickerson and Cindy Sanborn won the first team award of $275, with a combined weight loss of 10.34 percent of their body weight. Dewey, Linda Corcoran and McNutt’s mom came in second losing 9.8 percent of their combined weight. Sanborn noted that she didn’t enter the competition to lose weight but to reduce her cholesterol and triglycerides levels. She said that she was not “one to stick with things” and was thankful for McNutt’s inspiration and program.
McNutt plans to continue with the biggest loser challenge in Boothbay in January–for both his sake and others. He noted that studies show that about 80 percent of people who lose weight, put it back on. However, for those people who stay in a supportive group, the success rate doubles. “Permanent activity change that is associated with a group is essential. The big key is staying involved in some kind of group. Some sort of reminder, some sort of accountability is needed . . . Knowing that I had you guys to face on Saturday morning kept me from overeating. I do this, also, because I don’t want to be in that 80 percent,” McNutt concluded.
The next challenge
The next biggest loser 12-week challenge will begin with a three-hour kick-off and informational session on Saturday, January 19 at 9 a.m. McNutt will give an overview of the diet plan he used to lose 176 pounds in eight months. There will be weekly follow-ups on Wednesday nights from 5:30-6:30 p.m. with time for questions and answers, weekly prizes, and challenges. Participants will work in teams of three. McNutt reports that the team concept increases accountability, which is one of the greatest tools in weight loss. Money from the course registration will be split into three prizes: the female Biggest Loser, the male Biggest Loser, and the Biggest Loser team of three.
Interested? Contact Matthew McNutt at xxx-xxxx. Registration costs $30, which includes a Biggest Loser Calorie Counter book. Pre-registration is recommended, as space is limited. Meetings will take place at Boothbay Baptist Church (across from Bet’s Fish Fry). Everyone is welcome to participate!