Lovell couple wins big bucks for losing weight

Karen and Jim Felt of Lovell tied for a first place in the latest round of the “Lovell’s Biggest Loser” contest sponsored by North Big Horn Hospital. The program, led by Dr. Deborah Brackett, was recently offered for the second time to hospital staff and community members.

Karen and Jim Felt photo

Karen and Jim Felt won North Big Horn Hospital’s Biggest Loser contest for losing the highest percentage of their body weight during a 10-week program that began last fall.

A variety of topics were covered during the free program, including nutrition, healthy cooking, fitness, workout routines that can be done at home, restaurant dining, recommended screenings, cardiovascular health, BMI and glucose index, dealing with stress and negative eating behaviors. The program, which is part of the hospital’s wellness program, helped the Felts and others to make lifestyle changes that, for the most part, resulted in weight loss and improved fitness levels for those who stuck with the program.

Participants had the option of contributing a nominal amount of cash to a pot of money at the beginning of the session. The money was awarded to those losing the highest percentage of weight at the end of the 10 weeks. Since the Felts were within .009 percent of each other, their weight loss victory was declared a tie and they split the pot of money, walking away with $193 each.

Karen came out slightly ahead of her husband Jim after losing 17 pounds during the program. Jim lost 14 pounds, reducing his overall weight from 205 pounds to 191 pounds.

The couple attributes a lot of their success to the discovery of a free online food diary called Fitness Pal. They both used the program daily to record their calorie intake.

“Dr. Brackett told us about the app on the computer and we decided that we would use the program to keep track of what we were eating,” said Karen. “We also started eating more healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. The program helped us keep track of the protein, the carbs and the calories we were taking in. It really helped us get a sense of what we should be eating.”

The modifications to their diet helped the couple lose 5 pounds each in the first week of the program. One of the big modifications the couple made was to have a fruit smoothie at night instead of ice cream.

“We don’t eat ice cream anymore,” explained Karen. “Instead, we have smoothies. Now instead of having a big serving of ice cream at night we have a smoothie instead.”

Jim didn’t think he would like smoothies at first, but said he finds them very satisfying now and has become quite an expert when it comes to blending the concoctions. He said he doesn’t miss his nightly serving of ice cream at all and that he feels much better.

“I notice when I eat fruit that I have more energy and feel less hungry,” said Jim. “I bring fruit to work for snacks and I don’t drink sodas anymore.”

Karen said she felt a lot of anxiety prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas and worried about eating too much during the holidays. She found, though, that her food choices made her feel full much faster than in the past, and she actually ended up eating quite a bit less than normal during the holidays.

The couple said they plan to continue their regime and both have set a goal to achieve and maintain a manageable weight over time.

“We don’t feel we’ve given up anything,” said Jim. “We still have an occasional cookie or whatever. We are just very careful about how much we eat. I think that’s the secret—paying attention to how much you eat. If you do that, you really don’t have to give up anything.”

By Patti Carpenter

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