‘Biggest Loser’ kicks off Scale Back Alabama

Published 2:17 pm Friday, January 17, 2014

Gina McDonald, a Birmingham lawyer and a winner in the recent Bigger Loser contest, kicked off the 2014 Scale Back Alabama competition Thursday.

“I have fought obesity all of my life,” McDonald said. “I couldn’t bend down to tie my own shoes. I was just existing before I won the ‘life lottery’ by being selected from a field of 300,000 applicants to be on the Biggest Loser program.”

After losing more than 100 pounds and reversing her Type 2 diabetes, McDonald is leading the charge for Scale Back Alabama this year to let others know that anything is possible if a person sets realistic goals and sticks to them.

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“I encourage you to join Scale Back Alabama and to use the resources on the website,” McDonald said.

She also encouraged participants to choose teammates who will be positive, and she stressed the importance of incorporating exercise into your daily routine, along with healthy eating.

“Park farther away and take the stairs,” McDonald said.

Scale Back Alabama is a 10-week, statewide weight-loss contest designed to help Alabama fight its battle with obesity by encouraging participants to develop lifelong healthy habits. The program, which is free and targeted to adults 18 and older, primarily focuses on the workplace and utilizes other local organizations as weigh-in sites. To enter the contest and be eligible for the cash-prize drawings, individuals must visit an official Scale Back Alabama weigh-in site during the week of Jan. 18 – 24 to register and do their initial team weigh in. Weigh-in sites for Butler County are the Butler County Health Department and L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital’s Physical Therapy office.

Approximately one-third of all Alabamians are considered obese. Obesity can lead to health problems such as increased risk of diseases, cancer and heart disease, as well as problems with bones and joints. Obesity is also costly, with medical expenses for an obese employee estimated to be 42 percent higher than a person with a healthy weight. The annual health care cost estimate is as high as $147 billion a year.

Last year 27,000 Alabamians participated in Scale Back and lost almost 130,000 pounds. Scale Back Alabama is sponsored by the Alabama Hospital Association and the Alabama Department of Public Health, with generous underwriting from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.