“A lot of people watch these TV shows and see that an incredible amount of weight can be lost through increased exercise and improved nutrition,” said Gina Brandenburg, community outreach coordinator for Tanner Health System and Get Healthy West Georgia. “However, it’s not realistic for the typical individual. What we’re recommending is that people lose one to two pounds per week, and change their lifestyle by eating less junk food and exercising more.”
She said the January starting date also fits in with the many New Year’s resolutions that people make at the first of the year to lose weight.
The Weight Loss Challenge will run from Jan. 28 to April 28 and is open for all residents over age 18 who live or work in the three counties. The contest is being funded by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grant and is part of the Get Healthy West Georgia initiative launched last year by Tanner and several community partners.
The grand prize will be an Apple iPad 2 which will be given to a winner selected from a random drawing of participants who lose at least 10 percent of their body weight during the 12-week program. Other prizes will include a heart rate monitor and pedometer and personal training sessions. All participants will receive a T-shirt.
To participate, people need to go online to www.GetHealthyWestGeorgia.org, register as a new user, complete a short health assessment and accept the invitation to join the 2013 Weight Loss Challenge. A participant can create or join a team of five to 10 people, or register as an individual.
“Participants will be asked to weigh in prior to the start of the challenge,” Brandenburg said. “There’s 20 different places and times that people can weigh in at various locations around the area during the week of Jan. 20-27. These sites and times are listed on the website.”
Participants can use the Get Healthy West Georgia tracking tool to monitor their exercise and weight loss up to the final weigh-in.
The Weight Loss Challenge is being promoted with an advertising campaign that asks what motivates people. Brandenburg believes that if people look at what best motivates them, they will be more likely to stick with the challenge and lose weight.
“Some people are motivated by their friends and they’re more successful by working in groups,” she said. “Others want to do it for their children. They want to keep up with their children and go out and do things with them. Some people are just motivated by a challenge and some want to win a prize.”
Brandenburg said regardless of the motivation and contest outcome, everybody who participates will win.
“They’ll win by having a healthier lifestyle, by losing some weight and just improving their nutrition and exercise,” she said. “That’s the ultimate prize.”
Information and rules on the 2013 Weight Loss Challenge are online at www.GetHealthyWestGeorgia.org, or by calling 770-836-9282.