Biggest losers win better health

The North Warren elementary school teacher is one of a growing number of staff that are shrinking; North Warrens own version of The Biggest Loser. Its diet and exercise, Cooper said. I joined a gym and now I feel wonderful. Cooper said shed been heavy since 1995 and her size 16 clothes were getting tight. Now Im a size 6, she said. My family thinks its great and I feel wonderful. Cooper isnt alone in the group of 28. Motivated by each other and their main cheerleader, Maggie Hill, the group does whatever it takes to lose weight and become healthier. Tammy Frasier lost 58 pounds. I had double knee surgery and after that, I started running, she said. Theres no magic pill, you have to eat right and exercise. She cut soda from her diet and now has an entire new wardrobe, much smaller than before. Hill is the record keeper for the group who meet on Thursday mornings for a weigh-in. She tracks weight loss and gain and tries to keep her biggest losers on track. I send them emails and pictures, jokes and inspirations, she said. Every 10 weeks, the group awards a cash prize to its biggest loser. Each member contributes $20 at the beginning of each 10 weeks and the more members, the bigger the jackpot. Frasier won $250 at the end of the last session, Feb. 1. Since Oct. 5, the group has lost a total of 279 pounds. Elementary teacher Poul Carstensen set a goal of 200 pounds, but then had knee surgery of his own that slowed down his exercise. I eat carrots instead of Doritos, he said. I stopped eating after 8:30 at night and that helps a lot. Michelle French lost a total of 40 pounds and remains in the group for maintenance and support. Some of us work together as a team to inspire each other, French said. We started last spring with eight people and now we have 28.

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