These contestants are competing to shed the most weight by the end of May.
Contributed By Joshua Chang
|CN PHOTO: Aaron Low|
With the highly anticipated Asia Conference 2010 just around the corner, members who have participated in the various preliminary rounds of all the competitions deserve commendation for the effort and time they have put in to bolster the competitive feel of the conference.
There is however, a category of people who deserve special mention. Those who have made many personal sacrifices in order to lead a more disciplined lifestyle. They are the contestants taking part in the inaugural The Greatest Loser challenge.
Event organizer Jeremy Choy says that the significance behind this competition is “the organizing committee’s desire to come up with new segments of competition that will change and transform someone’s life in a great manner. One of these new ideas was to have a Greatest Loser contest.”
The basic premise of contestants competing to lose as much weight as possible is patterned after the popular American reality television series The Biggest Loser. However, The Greatest Loser does not duplicate any of the elements that are typical of the reality show. Contestants do not have to go through a ‘temptation situation’—whereby they are promised a beneficial trade off for eating high calorie foods. Neither do they have to take part in ‘reward challenges,’ nor are they made to vote off team members whom they deem to be bringing them down.
Instead, The Greatest Loser follows a straightforward format. The organizers first chose 12 contestants from 60 people who applied to join this competition. They were selected because the organizers saw they had the most potential to lose weight. These chosen 12 then went for a program sponsored by Body Inc. (a health and weight management medi-spa founded by celebrity healthcare practitioner Jacelyn Tay).
At the start of the program in early March, the contestants underwent live blood microscopy in order to effectively determine which types of food will affect their weight adversely and were recommended certain diets to effectively increase weight loss. They also went through slimming treatments, and were given health supplements to ensure that their bodies still received the proper nourishment in spite of dieting.
By mid-April, six of the contestants had been eliminated. The final six who have made the most progress are currently going through further treatment, dieting and exercise, which will only end on the day of the competition finals during Asia Conference 2010. The winner will be selected based on the criteria of their overall weight loss, overall inch loss at the waist or hips and their attitude towards this entire two-month process. Most importantly, the judges are looking to see if this competition has made any impact on their personal lives.
All the contestants have made adjustments to reach their personal target of weight loss. Pastry chef Ariel Tang, 33, had to forgo coffee, bread and local delights such as char kuay teow in order to cut down on her sugar intake. Property agent Sim Jian Xiang, 28, has been exercising at the late hours of the day due to his heavy work schedule. Patricia Chong, 36, had to greatly reduce her carbohydrate intake and restrain her yearn for fast food.
Besides the obvious reason in joining this competition, that is, to lose weight, some joined for the fun of it and one even imagined that this competition would be a platform where church members can gather to exercise together. Through the competition, many of the participants felt that their lives have changed for the better.
Finalist Bernard Lau, 21, who has lost 12 kg since the start of the competition, admits that the process has been painful at times. “When I first started, I could only climb 20 storeys of stairs, but now I can climb up to the equivalent of 110 floors, and even complete 300 to 400 crunches.” He also credits this competition as the vital factor in instilling discipline and determination and hopes to maintain such a lifestyle even after the competition is over.
Business owner Jason Teo, 30, also shares the same sentiments. “I feel that although it’s a sacrifice, I should take it with a positive attitude since I’m doing this for my own health. Just like taking care of yourself, if you do it happily and enjoy it, you can do it for life.”
Part-time nurse Lyndia Wong, 33, feels that this competition has been more of a blessing than a sacrifice. After consuming the supplements, she has felt more energetic and healthy. “I used to need 10 to 12 hours of sleep, with five cups of coffee to keep myself going throughout the day. However, I would still feel very lethargic. Now, I don’t need to sleep that much, and I can go without caffeine.”
The organizers hope that despite the short span of two months, each contestant can lose an average of 10 to 12 kilograms. With one week left to go, there is no doubt that all the finalists will be putting in extra effort to reach their target.
The winner of The Greatest Loser will be announced during Asia Conference 2010.