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(Posted 7:30 a.m., May 22)
Biggest Loser a big winner in more ways than one

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Biggest Loser Ottawa winner Joanne Lahey is flanked by AMD Boot Camp owner Adrian Delorey and Live The Smart Way television host Kathy Smart. Fred Sherwin/Photo


Under normal circumstances being called a "big loser" would be considered an insult. Not so for the 12 individuals who took part in the Biggest Loser Ottawa challenge which wrapped on Sunday and especially not true for Joanne Daly who has earned the distinction of being named Ottawa's Biggest Loser after shedding nearly 32 lbs and 45 inches during the past three months.

A beaming Daly picked up her winnings on Monday, which included 12 months worth of AMD boot camps and 12 Juice Monkey lunches designed by Kathy Smart.

On Sunday, Daly joined her fellow Big Losers for the final weigh in. The results were extremely close. In fact, Joanne beat the second place finisher Doug Feltmate by slightly over a pound. She came into the challenge weighing in at 236 lbs. and dropped 31.8 lbs., which accounted for 13,5 per cent of her body weight.

Feltmate started out at 291 lbs. and lost 38.2 lbs., which is 13.15 per cent of his body weight. The difference between 13.15 per cent and 13.51 per cent is 1.02 pounds.

The truth is that there are no losers when it comes to the Biggest Loser, the group lost a total of 250 lbs. and an average of 40 inches per person -- and it was all done without the aid of calorie counting or exercise machines.

For Daly, Sunday's weigh-in was the high point of a journey that began last spring when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After successfully undergoing treatment, Daly was determined to make some lifestyle changes beginning what she ate.

Not long afterwards, her neice Johanne Morin suggested they go to a nutrition workshop in Navan. The topic was "10 Super Foods" and the speaker was Live The Smart Way author and TV host Kathy Smart.

After the seminar, Smart invited Daly to join her Facebook page which she did. Smart then posted an invitation on the page inviting her Facebook friends to apply to be a contestant on Biggest Loser Ottawa.

"At first I wasn't sure if they would take a cancer survivor, and then the doubts started setting in, but then I thought 'Why not', so I decided to go for it." says Daly.

The challenge included three boot camp sessions a week given by AMD owner and local fitness guru Adrian Delorey who approached Smart with the idea for Biggest Loser Ottawa back in September.

Each contestant also received personal training sessions with Delorey and Smart and a crash course in proper nutrition that included kitchen raids in the challengers' homes, grocery store tours, healthy recipies and meal plans, all put together by Smart.

Daly also benefitted from having a partner at home who did all the grocery shopping and cooking, including her lunches.

"Yes, I was a little spoiled. He allowed me to stay focused and stay out of the kitchen/ I went to work never knowing what my lunch was going to be, It was great," says Daly.

For the 55-year-old cancer survivor and mother of two grown men in their 20s, the Biggest Loser challenge has given her a new lease on life.

"I've always had issus with my weight. I've gone on lots of diets, but I always gained the weight back," says Daly.

Being 5-foot-10 with a large frame hasn't made the battle any easier. But now, armed with the nutritional knowledge she's leaned from Smart and one year's worth of boot camps, she plans to embrace her new lifestyle.

"It's been absolutely fantastic. I can't say enough about Kathy and Adrian. They're amazing," says Daly.

Feltmate also has high praise for the Biggest Loser pair. He joined the challenge after being told by his doctor that he had to make some serious lifestyle choices if he wanted to get his high blood pressure under control.

After three months his blood pressure is a relatively normal 125 over 70 thanks in large part to having shed nearly 40 lbs. Like Daly, he plans to continue working out and eating properly.

"I'd like to lose another 20 lbs," says Feltmate, who won four months worth of hot yoga classes with Moksha Yoga Orleans for finishing second.

Delory and Smart are already accepting applications for Biggest Loser Ottawa II. Prosepctive challengers can register by visiting www.amdbootcamp.com/BiggestLoser. The challenge will begin on May 30.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

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