‘Biggest Loser’ challenge nearing end

Now into its second-last week, the second season of Emo’s “Biggest Loser” challenge has proven to be successful yet again.
Co-ordinator Colleen Vennechenko came up with the idea from the television show, which has participants compete to see who can lose the most weight.
“But it has to be done in a healthy way, such as exercising and eating right,” she stressed.
Besides having the nearly 115 participants weigh in each week, Vennechenko holds exercise sessions at the Emo-La Vallee Community Centre for those who want to lose weight that way.
“It’s nice to be in a group to work out,” Karen Koomans said during last Thursday evening’s session. “It’s much more motivating.”
Koomans also noted she feels better and more energized since joining the “Biggest Loser” challenge.
“And it’s not hard,” she stressed, adding the group simply pops in a video cassette, which has participants walk anywhere from three-four miles while incorporating easy side-steps and leg lifts.
Carrie Baker, who also participated in the inaugural challenge last season, noted she enjoys the group exercise sessions, as well, especially for the social part it.
“We’ve had different people than last time come out, which is nice,” she remarked. “And people of all ages, too, from teens to women in their 70s.”
Baker also finds the competition gives her more incentive to lose weight and stay fit. “I’m definitely going to try to keep it up,” she pledged.
Marnie Redford, a mother with young children, said the group sessions also help her get going at home.
While about 15 people participate regularly in the group exercise sessions, nearly 115 are registered to weigh in each week. And not everyone who comes out to exercise has to weigh in if they don’t want to.
Those who don’t attend the exercise sessions do what they can on their own.
Vennechenko said about 90 percent of those registered in the challenge consistently weigh-in on Mondays at The Corner Closet in Emo.
She feels the weigh-ins give people a reason to try to lose weight.
“I think if they don’t lose weight, they feel guilty and want to try harder the next week,” she reasoned. “And some have the ‘buddy’ system, where they’re competing against a friend to see who can lose more weight.”
Vennechenko noted the majority of the participants are women, but a handful of men are involved.
“Everyone is welcome,” she stressed. “We’d never refuse anyone.”
She even mentioned some hockey parents were inquiring about the program, looking to join in while their kids are out on the ice.
While last season’s winner won $700, Vennechenko noted this season’s top prize won’t be as much because there will be more prizes.
“I want to have a few different categories so more people can win,” Vennechenko said, adding she hasn’t decided yet what the categories or prizes will be.
“Maybe for someone who hasn’t missed a class, or for someone who has stayed the same weight.”
Weekly winners so far have been Stuart Firth (11.60 pounds), Cindy Falloon (7.60), Crystal Gray (6.40), Jennifer Azevedo and Cindy Falloon (5.40), Crystal Gray and Karen Borger (4.00), Laurie Spanninga (7.20), Pam Van Heyst (3.80), Anne Marie Vanderaa (7.80), Bridget Beck (5.20), and Anne Marie Vanderaa (6.40).
Collectively, the participants have lost a total of 898.35 pounds.
“I’m happy to see the winners each week have been spread around and it’s not always the same person winning,” Vennechenko remarked.
The overall winner will be announced Saturday, Dec. 3 in conjunction with “Holly Daze” festivities in Emo (the time and location have yet to be decided).
Vennechenko then plans to start the program up again near the end of January. The cost to register is $15.