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Joint Base Andrews Features

NEWS | May 21, 2009

Biggest Loser: Who really lost to win

By Pacifica Chehy Capital Flyer staff writer

Being 'Fit to Fight' took on a whole new meaning for Team Andrews members who chose to participate in the base-wide, eight-week-long, 316th Force Support Squadron supported, Biggest Loser competition.

For Capt. Sarah Frances Robbins, 779th Medical Group nurse, it served a very significant purpose.

"I signed up for the Biggest Loser to increase my overall fitness and health consciousness, but I especially wanted to improve my run time," she said. "Back in December, my runtime was 16:05, and when I took my physical fitness test April 24, my time was 14:51. I also improved my overall test score from 89 to 92."

These were goals she was able to accomplish with her team, The Amazing Shrinking Fat, who tied for first place for most points earned.

There were three ways to win the competition, including earning the most points by working out at the fitness center, participating in fitness center events and attending HAWC classes; losing the most weight; and earning the most participating points combined with weight loss.

Throughout the competition, Captain Robbins and her team were able to set - and reach - goals through teamwork. "The most exciting attribute about the competition was getting our mindset on nutrition and focusing on overall wellness," Captain Robbins said. "When you see your fellow team members, who are also your co-workers, focus on good eating habits and fitness, you want to do better. We did everything together - we worked together; we played together; we ate together. It was a true team in every sense of the word."

Captain Robbins' biggest challenge came on the St. Patrick's Day 5K run. "It was my very first 5K, and I ran the entire way without stopping, which was a huge deal to me," she said. "It seemed like an impossible task, but I took classes on base, started running with my team, and we worked on accumulating more and more points. The whole thing was unbelievable, and I'm excited to say that since my first 5K, I've run every 5K the base has had since." Today's 5K run marks Captain Robbins' fourth base run, and she is currently training for her first half-marathon, the United States Air Force marathon at Wright-Patterson AFB, Oh. scheduled for September.

For Team Andrews, the Biggest Loser competition was a huge success, with 18 teams shedding 475 pounds. The winning team for the 'Most Weight Lost' category, Tons of Lovin', shed 117.4 pounds.

"This is the first time the 316 FSS hosted the Biggest Loser for the entire base. We tried it in the squadron before with great success, so we figured, 'Why not expand it to the whole base?'" Capt. Cody Gravitt, 316 FSS sustainment services flight commander, said. "We wanted to make it a challenge and give folks an opportunity to make some progress, but keep an end goal in sight."

Team Andrews heeded the fitness call with 280 members enrolling in the competition and Health and Wellness Center representatives participating in the program by providing classes for the contestants.

"This was not a 'diet competition,'" Captain Gravitt said. "This was about empowering folks to make lifestyle changes, even if they were just small ones. We also wanted to make it so as many people as possible could compete and win. However, whether or not they lost one pound or 30 pounds, they really have won."

"The Biggest Loser has been a great experience for me and my team," Captain Robbins said.

The Biggest Loser winners are scheduled to receive their awards today during the 316th Wing Fitness Day.