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Lander Student Wins Biggest Loser Crown

Lander University student Tim Thomas of Trenton, center, accepts a $500 check from Kimberly Shannon, RN, MPH, disabilities coordinator in Lander's Wellness Center. Thomas was the winner in the university's Biggest Loser competition, dropping 66 pounds in a program designed by Shannon and Wellness Center intern and Lander graduate Parris Knotts, left.

Lander University student Tim Thomas is known to his XLR Lander Radio audience as "Big Tuna," but he might want to choose another nickname that reflects his new, trimmer self. Thomas, a senior mass communication major from Trenton, lost 66 pounds or 23 percent of his body weight in the university's Biggest Loser competition. And as the biggest loser, he walked away the biggest winner, pocketing the $500 first prize.

Thomas weighed in at 285 pounds in January when the contest began, and when it ended three months later, his weight had dropped to 219. He sported a paunch at the start of the competition but he now proudly shows off his waistline, which has shrunk by more than six inches.

How did he do it? Thomas said it was a matter of exercise and changing his eating habits. "I learned to eat healthier and cut back on the amount of food I eat." He also exercised but said it was the new dietary choices and a reduction in his food intake that were mostly responsible for his weight loss.

Thomas is very active with the operation of Lander's XLR Radio and hosts his own show on Friday and Saturday nights called "Critical Damage with Big Tuna."

Kimberly Shannon, disabilities coordinator at Lander's Wellness Center, and Parris Knotts of Columbia, an intern at the center, supervised the competition. Shannon said 25 to 30 students, faculty and staff were enrolled and most lost an average of 10 pounds.

Knotts, an exercise science major who graduated on April 30, mapped out the details of the program that the participants followed. His plan incorporated a regimen of regular exercise and healthier food choices. Shannon said the program was designed to be life-changing and improve the way participants feel and how they feel about themselves.