Participants in Lander University's "Biggest Loser" weight loss competition celebrate their success. From left, front, Lauren Johnson, of Gilbert, second place; Whitney Ackerman, of Andrews, third place; Wellness Center registered nurse, Kimberly Shannon; and first-prize winner Ashley Blaylock, of North Augusta. Rear, student interns in the program, from left, Jasmine Judge, of Augusta, Ga.; Jacob Amerson, of Seneca; Miya Mayes, of Greenville; and Erica Mashburn, of Greenwood.
Three Lander University students finished at the top of the pack in this year's "Biggest Loser" competition losing a combined total of 78 pounds, or about a third of their body weight. The contest was sponsored by Lander's Student Wellness Center.
Ashley Blaylock, of North Augusta, was the winner of the competition, shedding 36 pounds, good for a first prize check of $400.
Second place finisher Lauren Johnson, of Gilbert, lost 23 pounds and won $75 while Whitney Ackerman, of Andrews, lost 19 pound and claimed the third place prize of $25.
All three credited their success to a combination of dietary changes and exercise and they have set personal goals to lose even more weight. Blaylock, a freshman early childhood education major, said she wants to lose 40 pounds. Ackerman and Johnson are seniors set to graduate on April 28. Ackerman, a psychology major, wants to lose another 50 pounds and Johnson, an English major, has her sights set on dropping another 43 pounds.
Blaylock, Johnson and Ackerman were emphatic in stating that their of weight loss has changed their lives and given the motivation to continue.
Registered nurse Kimberly Shannon, the Wellness Center's disabilities coordinator, said 170 individuals were registered when the competition began on Jan. 30 but, over time, most of them dropped out for a variety of reasons.
Four student interns assisted with the program, helping contestants to change their eating habits and include exercise in their daily routines. The interns, all seniors, are: Jasmine Judge, of Augusta, Ga., and Erica Mashburn, of Greenwood, both majoring in business with a health care management emphasis; and exercise science majors Jacob Amerson, of Seneca, and Miya Mayes, of Greenville.