More than 90 people have registered for Live Fit’s county-wide weight loss competition, but entrants said they are more motivated by personal weight loss goals than by the promise of cash prizes.
“The prize is some motivation, but I was more using that as a tool,” said Ben Clayton, a Tooele resident and a contestant who signed up for the 12-week weight loss challenge.
Contest entrants were provided meal plans, shopping lists, and home workouts with three variations for beginners and more experienced athletes. The contestants who shed the most body fat in the 12-week period will be recognized at an award ceremony during Tooele City’s annual Fourth of July celebration.
But Clayton, who has won weight loss contests in the past, said he has begun the 12-week challenge with a different approach.
“I have lost weight three other times, but then I’ve gained it all back and more,” he said.
This time, Clayton said, he hopes to make a sustainable change for overall health. Though he has set a goal to lose 40–50 pounds, he is more intent on making a lifestyle change that he hopes will have a lasting effect on his overall health.
Like Clayton, Myron Bateman said he too hoped the challenge would help him establish a lasting, healthier routine.
“It’s something I’ve tried to do over the last two years, but I just seem to yo-yo,” he said.
Bateman, the Tooele County Health Department director, said he signed up to set an example for health department employees. But he has also set a goal to lose 15 pounds over 12 weeks.
Long-term, he said, he has about 20 pounds to lose to help his back heal from a recent operation, and he thought that entering the contest would hold him accountable for his weight-loss progress, in addition to providing a team-like framework he believes is conducive to success.
“It’s easier to do things as a team,” he said.
Others, like Tooele resident Susan Hawkins, saw the competition as an opportunity to continue ongoing weight-loss efforts.
“Two years ago I lost 30 pounds on my own, and I’ve kept it off,” she said. “But I’ve noticed that it has started to come back.”
Hawkins said her goal is to lose 25 pounds by July. She hopes losing weight will allow her to fit into nicer clothes and improve her mobility for wheelchair basketball.
Increased mobility and improved self-image were also themes for Grantsville resident Theresa McNeill.
“I feel like I’m healthy — I just can’t get down to a size I’m comfortable with,” she said. “I want to feel better when I look at myself.”
Though her doctor has told her she is in good health, McNeill said she has trouble with her feet and knees and hopes that losing 35 pounds by July will take some pressure off of her legs. It’s not the first time she’s tried to lose weight, but because McNeill is self-employed and works six days a week, she said she has difficulty finding time to exercise and struggles to change old habits.
“I’m set in my ways and I like to do things the way I do them,” she said, “so I need to retrain my brain.”
The contestants will participate in their first group workout this weekend. They will check in on their progress with a weigh-in on May 7.