ARPC employee wins weight-loss competition

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Kim Wheeler
  • Chief, ARPC Public Affairs
Looking for some motivation to get back on track after your New Year's resolution to lead a healthier lifestyle? 

While winning Buckley Air Force Base's 2008 Biggest Loser competition on April 15, Charlie George, an Air Reserve Personnel Center promotion technician from the Reserve of the Air Force Selection Board Secretariat, lost more than 9.2 percent of his body fat, but gained more energy and a faster racquetball game. 

"My racquetball partner Steve Guzman, 460th Civil Engineer Squadron at Buckley AFB, talked me into entering as a team," said Mr. George, the 16-year ARPC veteran and retired U.S. Air Force member. 

Forty teams, totaling 121 participants, competed in Buckley's latest Biggest Loser competition. 

As the duo weighed in for the first time Feb. 14, Mr. George said, "I didn't think I had a chance or that I would be successful, but I thought I'd give it a shot. My wife and I sat down, and she thought this was something we could do together - she's a great inspiration." 

The eight-week competition, sponsored by the Buckley fitness and Buckley health and wellness centers, focuses on healthy weight loss and body fat rather than pounds lost. Participants are kept motivated with three mandatory weigh-ins and with weekly e-mail encouragement of recipes and health tips. 

Undaunted, Mr. George was in for the long haul, changing his lifestyle and eating habits. "Before the competition, I always ate a lot of veggies, but I knew I had to do more. So I cut out late-night eating and sweets." Mr. George ate nothing after 7 p.m. and gave up the dearly beloved cookies and ice cream at bedtime. He cut out sodas and significantly bumped up his water intake. 

At the midway weigh-in March 14, the race was down to 72 participants, and Mr. George found himself to be the leading "loser" with 7.2 percent body fat lost and won two tickets to see the legendary Harlem Globetrotters. 

"At the second weigh-in, Charlie had already surpassed last year's winner's total body fat lost," said Buckley Fitness Center's recreation assistant Virginia Harris. 

"I knew then that I really had a chance to win, so I got really serious," Mr. George said. Not willing to coast on his past success, he kicked into high gear and ratcheted up his daily cardio workouts. 

By the final weigh-in April 11 with only 41 competitors left, Mr. George discovered he'd lost 9.2 percent of body fat and at the April 15 competition's closing ceremony, which was attended by current and former NBA players, learned he was a member of the winning team and overall individual winner. Mr. George took home a recumbent stationary exercise bike for his losing ways. His partner, Mr. Guzman came in third. 

"I feel better. I have more energy; even my racquetball game has improved," Mr. George said. 

"Charlie's success was phenomenal - we're so happy for him," Ms. Harris said. "He's a great example for those of any age group that want to trade their lifestyle in for a healthier and fitter one." 

Mr. George said he hopes to continue his dramatic weight loss by losing another 15 pounds by July 1 and shopping for a new wardrobe. 

If you feel up for the next "Biggest Loser" challenge, watch for the annual Buckley event to kick-off the first part of 2009.