Columbia Residents Lose Eleven Thousand Pounds in Slimdown

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COLUMBIA - After 12 weeks of walking, running, swimming, and pushing the cookies aside, participants in Columbia's Slimdown Challenge lost 11 thousand pounds combined.  There were 656 teams of four to six people participating.

In May, the competitors gathered at one of the seven kiosks set up around the city.  The kiosks were at HyVee locations, the ARC, two Wilson's Fitness locations and University Hospital. Teams could weigh in every week, but the only weights that counted for the competition had to be proctored for authenticity.

Shelley Naydyhor, who works for the Tiger Institute and organized the competition, said she really enjoyed watching the graph showing how people's weights had changed throughout the competition. 

"There was some definite game play going on as some individuals didn't weigh in for the entire competition since the initial weigh-in since the initial weigh-in week. They waited 'til the proctored weigh-out so some individuals came out of nowhere and really surprised some of those leaders throughout the competition."

The Tiger Institute awarded the top three teams with the most percent lost spa days, football tickets, a year of free Subway sandwiches, and group training and nutrition sessions.

Participants had a week to complete their official weigh-out, and the entire team had to weigh-out or risk disqualification.  Competitors swiped their ID cards on the scale, stepped on, and had the weight uploaded straight to the competition's website. Due to the requirement for all team members to weigh out, some 400 teams that failed to do so were disqualified.  The official records on the website show 11,505 pounds, lost but Naydyhor said if the disqualified participants were included, the weight lost number doubles.

Don Barnes, who works for MU's Athletic Department, said his team of six lost a total of 100 pounds. "I actually fit all of our coaches and some of our employees with the clothes they wear on the sidelines and some of those people who were in this challenge on my team...have dropped two or three pant sizes and belt sizes and shirt sizes," he said.

The Tiger Institute said it is already organizing a steps competition for walking to start in September.  The steps challenge will include anyone 13 or older.