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BIGGEST LOSER: Contestants share their healthy changes

By Rachel Baggett

FLORENCE, S.C. – Although the contestants in Florence’s Biggest Loser have only had two fitness training sessions and two nutrition classes so far, many have already started to make changes to their diet and physical activity that hopefully will stick with them for months and even years to come.

Because of these changes, the contestants are beginning to feel the benefits of living healthier and have even lost a total of 397.8 pounds so far.

As Florence’s Biggest Loser moves into its third week, we asked the contestants what healthy changes they have made so far since starting the competition.

>> Leann Fitzwater: “I have been thinking about what I put in my body. Making changes in my diet and seeing how those changes make my body feel. I think about the muscles I'm using and am I feeling them engage instead of just saying I did it. I'm making every meal and motion count.”

>> Michael Hesbach: “My wife and I have worked together to meal plan more efficiently. I have also developed a friendship with a fellow participant, Clem Coleman, and we are doing 40 minutes of cardio together four days a week. Finally, our team has added a second workout session with our trainer per week to keep people motivated.”

>> Ravyn Miles-Dean: “I am hitting the gym five times a week and drinking lots of water! I’ve cut out sodas completely and can already tell a big difference in how I feel!”

>> Courtney Sullivan: “I am eating to live rather than living to eat! I am very mindful about what I put in my body. The more green the better! Also, I am eating smaller portions about six times a day.”

>> Rick Melton: “When I decided to start ‘FBL,’ I knew the first thing I would have to eliminate was my snacking in the evenings while watching TV. I have dropped my daily drink of choice (sweat tea) for water. Also, I am watching my portion sizes and incorporating more vegetables in my meals. I'm a ‘Cookie Monster,’ so that demon had to be pushed aside big time! My plan as I reach one of my individual goals is to reward myself with one cookie instead of my usual three or four or more.”

>> Marianne Keenaghan: “I am going to the gym at least four times a week, and I am doing exercises at home as well. I have so much more energy since I started the program! The support network of the Biggest Loser has also made sticking to my goals so much easier.”

>> Monte Michelsen: “Besides walking, I have been trying different things at the gym that are new for me. So far, I have done a couple of Zumba classes, and I am looking forward to trying other classes.”

>> Cindi Laws: “The most significant change I've made is I have stopped drinking empty calories such as sodas. Instead, I am drinking lots more water.”

>> Sandra Moses: “The healthy changes I have made so far are that I quit smoking, I am making better choices of what I eat and I am working out at least three times a week. I have also cut out sweet tea (which is my favorite) and I am drinking more water!”

>> Harrison Rivers: “So far, I have been going to the gym at least four times a week. I have also been eating healthier and have not been drinking soda.”

>> Pamela Miles: “I’m eating less high-calorie foods and more healthy foods. I am also going to the gym, taking Zumba classes and walking more along with doing my group training session.”

>> Brian Kress: “One of the healthy changes I have made is that I only drink water. I used to drink a lot of Dr Pepper, like four to five glasses, when I would go out for a meal and five 2 liters a week at home. Now it’s just water for me.”

>> Dr. Erin Lusher: “My biggest changes that I have made is giving up soda and working out four days a week! I have also cut down the amount I eat at a meal and waiting before going back for seconds or a snack.”

>> Kim Pate: “I'm drinking less diet drinks and more water. I’m also taking my lunch to work instead of buying lunch; doing this helps me make better choices and it keeps more money in my pocket to buy clothes as my weight goes down.”

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