Petersburg Pilot -


Fankhauser wins first Losing Big Petersburg competition


Shelly Pope

Christin Fankhauser has won Petersburg Parks and Recreation’s recent citywide fitness contest, dropping 41 pounds over the contest’s 6-week duration.

After six weeks of competition, a winner for the first ever Losing Big Petersburg competition has been declared. Christin Fankhauser is the first “Biggest Loser” of Petersburg.

According to Petersburg Parks and Recreation Director Donnie Hayes the resounding number of votes for all of the contestants was phenomenal.

Fankhauser is the winner of a one year membership to Petersburg Parks and Recreation; an iPad from a grant that was partnered by Parks and Recreation and the Petersburg Schools; a new pair of running shoes from Lee's Clothing; a new jacket from Petersburg Indian Association; a body shape kit from Life Fitness and a two person halibut fishing day trip from Petersburg Sport Fishing.

“I really liked Losing Big, I think it’s overall about being healthy, it isn't just about losing weight,” Fankhauser stated. “I was already doing some of these things before I began the program, but what I really appreciated about the program was the stress relief activities.”

Fankhauser explained that she did not realize that stress relief would be such a big part of losing weight, but it has made a huge impact on her journey.

Her favorite activity was the yoga.

“The yoga was not only a big stress relief, but it was also something good I was doing for my body,” Fankhauser said. “There is also a mental component to the stress relief that plays a big part in your health and wellness.”

She also stated that she finds herself being less stressed and self-conscious than she ever was before this program.

When asked what changes could be made to the program next year, she stated that she would like to see the ability to share more of the successes with others in the program.

“My team and I shared all of our successes and problems with each other and kept in contact all the time,” she stated. “I think it could be beneficial to share those with the competing team to let everyone know what works and doesn't work for them.”

Fankhauser shared that it is not just about exercise and eating right, there is so much more to it for the overall wellness of each individual.

“Over the six weeks of this competition, I lost 12 pounds,” Fankhauser stated. “I began making changes myself before the competition and since Thanksgiving I have lost a total of 32 pounds.”

She also shared that during the competition she averaged a loss of two pounds per week. Some weeks it may have been more or less and one week none at all.

“The week I didn't lose any was a rough week for me,” Fankhauser said. “It was a little discouraging, but I made it through knowing that I was doing something good for me.”

According to Fankhauser, all of the contestants knew that losing the weight was not the focus for the program but, of course, that was what they wanted.

“I couldn't just focus on the numbers on the scale. If I did, I would be discouraged all the time,” she stated. “I had to put it all in perspective and realize that I was accomplishing something every day.”

Another difficult portion of the competition for Fankhauser was the competition itself.

“It was hard when we got to Tuesday and realized that someone would have to go,” she stated. “I have to admit that I didn't really think about it until that last night, but it is hard.”

Tears clouded her eyes as she explained that it was humbling for her to see just how hard everyone was working and one person didn't necessarily deserve to win over another.

“It is really hard to express my feelings toward winning this competition,” Fankhauser said. “So many people deserve it, especially the people on my team, but it just means that I had a lot of support out there and some of it I didn't even know I had.”

Fankhauser explained that she had tried to do this on her own in the past, but making this personal journey public helped.

“I think that making this journey public has helped,” she stated. “I have people looking at me now and maybe they say to themselves, “Hey, I can get off the couch, because she got off the couch.” or “I can call in and vote because I can see that she is really working hard.” I'm not sure I deserve it but I am very thankful.”

Hayes had three goals, which were pitched to sponsors throughout Petersburg, at the beginning of this competition and they were to educate the community on the many health and wellness benefits our community has to offer; to create a core group of individuals who can inspire other and be educators and to guid 10 individuals along the road to a healthier lifestyle in a fun and inspiring atmosphere.

“I am happy to report that this event succeeded on each one of those fronts way beyond what I imagined,” Hayes stated. “When I have wonderful community members coming to me an asking to volunteer their time on this event next year, all I can do is smile. It is a testament to the hard work put in by the contestants, our sponsors, Carlee Wells from the Petersburg School District and my staff that this even has been such a huge success.”

Hayes explained that he didn't create this to be a weight loss competition but to become a way to create a strong base of healthier living that each contestant could build upon.

“I am so proud of each of our contestants,” Hayes said. “They have dedicated themselves to living a healthier lifestyle and are seeing the benefits daily.”

Losing Big contestant, Shelly Pope, has seen many benefits to this program in just the short amount of time it has been in existence.

“When I go to the grocery store now, I actually pay attention to the things I am putting into my body, rather than just picking something that may be convenient,” Pope stated. “This has absolutely been the best experience of my life and I have enjoyed every second of it.”

Pope, Fankhauser, Christy Ware, Veronica Maldanado and Deborah Burrell began this competition as the White Team against Ken Caulum, Carrie Bullar, Syntha Green, Theresa Craig and Carli Byrer of the Blue Team.

The White Team lost Burrell last week to elimination and Caulum was the winner of the team mate of the week.

Tuesday evening the competition became solo with the five remaining contestants with Green winning team mate of the week and Pope being voted team mate of the event.

“Being named team mate of the event was such an honor and I could never even express what it means to me,” Pope stated. “I don't really think it matters who won the competition, though I am very proud that it was Christin. I believe we were all winners for becoming healthier. I lost 41 pounds in this six week experience and I feel better than I ever have. I feel like a winner.”

Over the next year, until the next competition, it will be great to see how this experience has changed all of the contestants.

The Petersburg Parks and Recreation will conduct a Triathlon May 4.

“I know some of the contestants are already planning on running in the Parks and Rec Triathlon,” Hayes stated. “I think this is fantastic. I am looking forward to seeing the continued progress everyone is going to have over the coming year and I am already thinking about next year. We are going to continue to improve the program and continue to have a blast.”


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