BY MELISSA ROLLINS (Morning News)
The 2015 Florence’s Biggest Loser competition crowned its winners Thursday night.
This year saw a few changes from the first competition, including adding a winner for the most inches lost, not just one for the number of pounds. Here is a look at a few ways the contest was different the second time around.
The inaugural year had 60 contestants sign up. By the end, half of the competitors were out of the competition, having been dropped because of double weight gain, missing required events or simply taking themselves out of the running.
Biggest Loser emcee Kim Fredrick announced Thursday night that this year’s crop of contestants had greatly improved upon that number.
“I loved the people last year, but the group this year retained 85 percent; last year, it was only 50 percent,” Fredrick said. “That shows in my mind your character, dedication and your support system.”
The number of spots open for the 2015 competition increased from last year’s 60 to 72. Stephanie Navarro, community resource manager for United Way of Florence County, said that decision was made because the whole point of the competition was to help people improve their lives.
“We had a long waiting list last year,” Navarro said. “This year we added more spots, because we wanted more people to be able to take advantage of all of the things this competition offers. We really feel like it makes a difference in people’s lives, and we wanted more people to have access to it.”
Though it is a community health initiative, the Biggest Loser is also a fundraiser for United Way. Between the $150 fee to enter the contest and the money raised by contestants through brownie points, a voting-style option for family members and friends to contribute to their favorite loser, the competition brought in approximately $6,000 more than the first year.
“This is going to help us in a big way with our annual campaign,” Navarro said. “Thank you so much to anyone who contributed. We raised around $18,000 and in just a few weeks, I am going to be giving this money out to our partner agencies.”
Gloria James was named “The Main Ingredient” for having raised the most money of any individual competitor.
Robin Lewis was added to the competition as a life coach, serving as a source of encouragement for the contestants during the 10 weeks. Navarro said that although she can’t prove it, she would like to think that Lewis has a hand in the fact that the retention rate was so much higher the second time around.
For the final weigh-in last year, the scales read just a little more than 1,000 pounds lighter than when the contestants first stepped on the scale. For the 2015 competition, the losers lost more than 1,500 pounds.
Read the story at SCNOW.com!