Local News

YMCA Biggest 'Losers' weigh in

SEBRING - Last Dec. 30, 34 contestants kicked off the fourth YMCA Biggest Loser weight loss contest run by personal trainer Laura VanFleet.

On Friday, 13 weeks later, the final numbers were in.

First place, gauged by the total percentage of weight lost was earned by Judy Bassett. The clerk's office employee lost just under 18 percent of her body weight and a total of 54 pounds. Bassett went from 301 pounds to 247.

The YMCA's biggest winner actually started her weight loss journey 10 months ago at 355 pounds. Over the course of 10 months she lost 108 pounds.

"We were having a health fair at our work," the top prizewinner told the audience of about 75 people at Don Jose restaurant in Sebring.

She had 10 tickets to put into whichever door prize drawing she wanted.

"We jokingly said, 'let's put some in this box,'" she explained, referring to the chance to win an entry into Van Fleet's YMCA boot camp. "It was a God thing. That was 10 months ago. I have not looked back since that day," Bassett said.

There was only a hundredth of a percentage point difference between second and third place winners Dayna "DY" Carlton and Mike Eastman.

Carlton lost 14.61 percent of her body weight (31.8) pounds and Eastman lost 14.60 percent of his body weight (45.2 pounds).

Van Fleet introduced the three finalists, all coincidentally wearing turquoise outfits purchased for them as part of their prize packages.

Bassett took home $250 along with a gift basket and additional prizes. The second- and third-place winners took home prizes as well, and all those who finished the competition received a medal.

During the course of the weight loss challenge, Van Fleet ran 5:30 a.m. workouts twice a week, including running, swimming, weight training, push ups, sit ups, drills and circuit training.

Participants competed in one challenge a month, including an outdoor obstacle course and a paintball game. Twice a month, Van Fleet held a nutritional web meeting with contestants. The participants weighed in every four weeks to follow their progress.

Out of the 34 contestants who started the competition, 21 finished the full 13 weeks, weighing in with a total of 315 pounds lost.

"I'm thrilled with their results," said Van Fleet, a certified Biggest Loser pro through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, the same body that certified Biggest Loser TV show celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels.

Fourth place was won by Vicki Hicks, fifth by Marybeth Przychocki, sixth by Stacy Clark, seventh by Kim Dorman, eighth by Brandi Rankin, ninth by Bonny Revell and 10th by Dawn Allen.

The YMCA program is part of an official Biggest Loser community outreach segment, and the cost to participate is approximately $225 for the 13 weeks, said Van Fleet. The next competition will start in December.