Math department holds Biggest Loser competition

By Monica Saks Observations Production Editor

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In a country where everything is super-sized and portions are out of control, the math department, along with a few other staff members, decided to get healthy and lose weight.

The idea of the math department’s Biggest Loser competition started when a group of teachers were sitting around a table talking about how they wanted to lose weight. AP AB Calculus and SAT Prep teacher Craig Whyte suggested the idea of a Biggest Loser competition, inspired by the NBC reality television show.

“I joined because I recently had a physical and found that my weight has increased significantly,” Algebra II teacher Curtis Southworth said. ”My doctor suggested that I could stand to lose weight.”

The competition was pretty simple; all the teachers picked a partner and then were divided into two teams. The team and the individual with the biggest percentage of weight lost won. The only rule was to lose as much weight as possible.

“The Math Department always has so much food and it is easy to overeat,” Geometry and Pre-Calculus teacher Kylena Cross said. “The contest helped us get back in control.”

The second annual Biggest Loser was a four-month competition, which ended May 1, but many teachers are planning to continue with their progress. According to Whyte, he now eats healthier and runs regularly. After already losing 35 pounds, he plans to lose about seven more.

“[Some teachers] thought that it was harder this year because it was so cold and rainy,” Cross said. “They could not get out [to exercise] much.”

To help track the competitors’ progress, there was an initial weigh-in, a final weigh-in and one check-in along the way. The winning duo was assistant principal Doreen Brandes and assistant principal Edward Reed, who lost a combined 35 percent of their total body weight. Reed, who lost 74.6 pounds, was the overall winner.

“I think that everyone had fun with the competition, even those who did not lose as much weight,” Cross said. “It brought a sense of camaraderie between us.”

Reed and other teachers, with the help of the physical education department, are trying to put together a free workshop for teachers on good nutrition and the  importance of exercise.

 “I would say the true prize of this competition is getting healthy,” Reed said.

After hearing the news that he was going to have a baby daughter, Reed realized the importance of maintaining good health. According to Reed, as a parent and an educator, a lot of people depend on him, and it is important for him to do his part and stay healthy.

“I used to stop at Dunkin’ Donuts and get an extra-large coffee, sausage, egg and cheese croissant, hashbrowns and a doughnut,” Reed said. “I would consume 1,200 calories before 7 a.m.”

According to Reed, Game Development and Software Application by Design teacher James Collins, who previously lost about 100 pounds, was his inspiration.

“Together [Collins] and I have this saying that we want to be able to dance at our daughters’ weddings,” Reed said.