April 30, 2007
You've probably see those reality shows where contestants compete to lose the most weight. Well, that got teachers and staff at Monticello High School motivated to do the same. Their official weight loss competition ended the last week of March, and Friday night, they were calling it a success.
"For me, it was like woo hoo," shouted history teacher Gwendolyn Reynolds. "I'm the biggest loser! Can you believe it? I was like in shock, oh yes! And then yeah, cool. I'm the biggest loser, you know, that's how it is."
Reynolds was the enthusiastic winner of a weight loss challenge at the high school.
It all started back in January when the school nurse sent out an email.
"I just put an email out. How about a biggest loser competition," explained Terry Tomlin, the school nurse and the organizer of the competition.
The response was huge. Fifty-two teachers and staff at the school joined in.
"I've been buying big and tall man's stuff since I was like four," said Ed Dike, a special education teacher at Monticello.
"I was really ready to say, let's do something different, let's be committed and do it the right way," said Reynolds.
For 12 weeks, the group did things like walking outside or working out at the gym. They also had personal trainers and nutritionists visit from area gyms. Most of all, they stayed positive.
"We didn't get critical," said Tomlin. "If someone had a week that they didn't want to join in, that's okay. You rejoin next week."
Also positive was the reaction from students.
"The kids are loving it, they think it's great," said Tomlin.
"They see me and they go, 'go Ms. Reynolds! You're the biggest loser'," laughed Reynolds.
"Since it started getting a little warmer out, I quit wearing sweatshirts," said Dike. "And (the students) were just like 'whoa, you lost a little bit of weight.' And I was 'like eh how about that? Thanks for noticing.'"
Other area schools also took notice, and they might try do similar challenges.
"People are excited. They're even talking about having a pot and seeing who gets the money. I've heard that from two other schools," said Reynolds. "I just think the excitement is there."
Dike lost the most weight in terms of pounds. As for Reynolds, she lost the highest percentage of weight.
Many of the teachers and staff members plan to continue with their more active and healthy lifestyles.
When the 52 participants first got on the scales in January, they weighed 10,000 pounds total. But since then they've lost a total of 300 pounds as a group.