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Beaver Medical Group

The Choice of the Inland Empire Since 1945

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Biggest Body Fat Loser

January 15, 2009

471 contestants participated in Health Education's Biggest Body Fat Loser Contest which ran from August until late November. At an awards ceremony in December,  the contest officials awarded thousands of dollars in cash prizes and raffle prizes to the contestants who successfully completed the challenge.

Participants had their body fat measured at the beginning, mid-way and at the end of the competition at Beaver's Health Education Department. Cash prizes were given to those who lost the most body fat, not total weight, overall.

Dr. Ernie Medina, Preventive Care Specialist in the Health Education Department, created the contest “to get people thinking about how it's more important to lose the right kind of weight -- excess body fat.” He said that many times people lose the wrong kind of weight -- water and muscle -- by starving themselves for weight loss competitions.

Participants were encouraged to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors including more exercise and proper nutrition. For support, participants in the program were given access to Beaver's Health Education programs for weight management or the Lite-Weighs program. Dr. Medina also hosted a special contest kick-off meeting with weight loss guidelines that attracted 100 people.

Eating a healthy diet of three meals per day along with exercise is the key to losing body fat said Registered Dietitian, Drew Correia, who assisted Dr. Medina with this competition. “If people just restrict calories to lose weight, they may be losing muscle and water versus fat,” she said. Dr. Medina recommends 50 minutes of cardiovascular exercise five times per week and strength training two to three times per week for a minimum of 20 minutes.

Of the 471 contestants, 170 came in for all three body fat measurements in order to meet the criteria to complete the challenge. Dr. Medina said a large attrition rate was expected due to the holidays, but he still considers the contest to be a success. “We were pleased overall with the results because I've had so many contestants tell me how this contest has literally changed their lives,” he said.

The contest awarded prizes in separate public and employee contests in three categories: male, female and teams with prizes of $500, $1100 and $100 for first, second and third. Teams earned even more with $750, $500 and $300. Winners with their number of fat pounds (not total pounds) lost were:

Employee Biggest Body Fat Loser Contest Winners
Male – 1st Lee Tanney (6.5#)
Female - 1st Melissa Racadio (35.6#)
Female – 2nd Linda Vestal (11.2#)
Female – 3rd Kim Johnson (7.5#) &
  Marianne Baldwin (7.6#)
Team – 1st Sons of Turkey (1.67# average)
  Captain: Kara Mackamul
Team – 2nd Cut the Chub (1.3# average)
  Captain: Helen Cook
Team – 3rd Fabulous Fluffies (1# average)
  Captain: Linda Holloway

Public Biggest Body Fat Loser Contest Winners
Male – 1st Phillip Wright (55.2#)
Male – 2nd Russell Bard (27#)
Male – 3rd Peter Lehmann (24#)
& Michael Shannon Hicks (23.8#)
Female – 1st Penny Ramirez (31.6#)
Female – 2nd Denise Gastel (16.2#) &
  Karolyn Slezak (16.0#)
Team – 1st Team Arias (19.4# average)
Team – 2nd Team King-Moore (3.4# average)
Team – 3rd Team Gut-Whit, (1# average)

Denise Gastel, who took second place in the public Biggest Body Fat Loser Contest, said, “The contest really did change my life, as far as realizing how important it is to eat healthy and the importance of exercise.” She drastically changed her eating habits by cutting out white sugar, white flour, soda and fast food as Dr. Medina recommends. Gastel also increased her workouts from three times per week to five times, per Dr. Medina’s guidelines for weight loss. “It was a huge accomplishment for me, my friends and family were very proud,” she said.