News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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February 4, 2011

Sullivan teams compete to 'Lighten Up'

Weight-loss challenge is communitywide

SULLIVAN — Icy roads might not seem conducive to exercise, but Sullivan County organizers plan to put the heat on couch potatoes this spring.

“We started advertising last week,” Carly LeDune, director of the Sullivan County Community Hospital Fitness Center, said Thursday afternoon.

The fitness center is one of seven community businesses sponsoring “Lighten Up Sullivan County,” a team-based weight loss contest set to launch Tuesday and run through July 12.

“We had 68 teams last year,” LeDune said of the program’s popularity. Contestants have until next Tuesday to sign up, and she pointed out that this week’s weather has slowed the application process.

“We still have people here without power,” she said inside the fitness center that afternoon, adding that road conditions have kept people indoors.

To participate, teams need four members and a name. Group weigh-ins will be Feb. 8, and the team that loses the highest percentage of body weight by July 12 wins $1,000. Mandatory weigh-ins will be conducted on the second Tuesday of March, April, May and June. Team registration costs $20.

James Sanders, 42, came around the weight room’s corner to get a drink at the water fountain, and said he participated in the program last year.

“It went really well. I lost 30 lbs.,” the UPS driver and local boat shop owner said, explaining that he dropped from 248 to 218 lbs. in the six-month period last year. “Just worked out here and ate right, basically.”

Sanders said he’s back up to 223 lbs. these days, but most of that has come from muscle gained since taking up weightlifting. He’s still wearing the same pants from when he weighed 218 lbs. last year, he said, noting that his body is where he wants it to be.

LeDune said the fitness center, which is in a separate building on the Sullivan County Community Hospital campus, has two personal trainers, herself included.

“A good combination of exercise and diet,” she offered as advice regarding weight loss. LeDune earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Indiana State University and is certified to teach Zumba and group exercise. “We have a registered dietitian here at the hospital.”

The weight-loss competition is open to anyone and one need not be a member of the hospital’s fitness center, she added. Forms can be picked up at the center, Milburn’s Pharmacy, Springer Insurance, Joe’s Italian Food, Miller’s Merry Manor, the Sullivan Daily Times and Henry Bobe’s.

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or brian.boyce@tribstar.com.

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