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Buckley's Biggest Loser

AIR RESERVE PERSONNEL CENTER, Colo. -- A member of the Air Reserve Personnel Center won Buckley's Biggest Loser Competition held at Buckley Air Force Base recently.

Charlie George, an Air Reserve Personnel Center promotion technician, who won the competition, lost more than 9.2 percent of his body fat, gained more energy and a faster racquetball game. 

Forty teams, totaling 121 participants, competed in the Biggest Loser. The eight-week competition, sponsored by the Buckley fitness and Health and Wellness centers, focused on healthy weight loss and body fat rather than pounds lost. 

"My racquetball partner Steve Guzman (from the 460th Civil Engineer Squadron) talked me into entering as a team," said the 16-year ARPC veteran and retired Air Force member.

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

Undaunted by the prospect of hard work, Mr. George was in for the long haul, changing his lifestyle and eating habits. 

Three mandatory weigh-ins and a weekly e-mail of recipes and health tips kept participants motivated.

"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," he said.

Mr. George also ate nothing after 7 p.m. and gave up his dearly beloved cookies and ice cream at bedtime. He cut out sodas and significantly bumped up his water intake.

At the mid 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 Ms. Virginia Harris.

"I knew then that I really had a chance to win, so I got serious," Mr. George said.

Not willing to coast on his past success, he ratcheted up his daily cardio workouts. By the final weigh-in, April 11, with only 41 competitors left, Mr. George lost 9.2 percent body fat and at the April 15 competition's closing ceremony he 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 exercise 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.

The next Biggest Loser Challenge is scheduled for 2009.
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