Sarah Chambers is this year’s winner of the War on Weight contest.
Ms Chambers lost 15.3 pounds, 8.44 per cent of her body weight, 2.2 per cent body fat and 13.25 inches overall – and she’s still not finished.
Speaking to the Caymanian Compass last week following her win, Ms Chambers said she was going to continue working out and eating right and hoped to drop another 20 pounds.
Despite an incredibly busy schedule, the Cayman Airways flight attendant and mother of two sons, ages 3 and 4, found time each day to exercise and admitted the biggest challenge was finding time to eat.
“When you want something badly enough, you just do it – you make the time,” said Ms Chambers, who dropped from a size 12 to a size 8 during the 16-week competition.
The winners of the 2012 War on Weight competition were announced during a finale dinner held on 13 December, at Ragazzi Restaurant.
In second place was Maritza Taylor, who lost 18.3 pounds and 8.9 per cent of her total body weight, including 1.4 per cent of body fat. She also lost 17 inches. Although she lost more weight than Ms Chambers, the winners are chosen not just on weight or inch loss, but on overall participation in the competition, including attending classes and events and submitting articles for the competition’s online blog.
Delocita Pope came in third in the intensive contest, which saw competitors work out diligently at a variety of exercises and embrace a whole new lifestyle.
They participated in four hours of bootcamp per week, two hours of hot yoga, one hour of Saturday community events such as boxing, volleyball, softball and water yoga. They also had bi-weekly visits with dietician Chad Collins, monthly group sessions with mental health counsellor Rayle Roberts and medical visits at the beginning, middle and end of the programme.
Between them, the 10 contestants lost 141.9 pounds, 136.35 inches and 15.7 per cent of their body fat.
Ms Chambers’s mother, Sheryl Harris, also competed in the War on Weight. “She did well. It was nice to have her there with me because it was me and her, we were able to push each other and say ‘You’re going to bootcamp, right?’.”
The WOW winner has become a convert to hot yoga at Bliss and at one point was going to five classes a week. “I loved the detox and stretching,” she said.
Three weeks into the competition, her success was in jeopardy when she injured her knee, so she could not take part in the bootcamp classes. Instead, she turned to hot yoga and was soon back at bootcamp.
She plans to attend the yoga studio’s 30-day challenge in January, where members take at least one class every day.
A lifetime of dieting had made Ms Chambers aware of good eating habits.
“I’ve tried every diet there is, so I know what you’re not supposed to eat and what you should eat,” she said, but following Chad Collins’ eating plan meant that the competitors ate enough to sustain the rigorous workout routines they had to follow.
“If you don’t eat enough, you don’t lose weight,” Ms Chambers said. “I found it a bit challenging to eat enough continuously because you’re so busy. I get up in the morning and get the kids to school, then go to hot yoga and then to bootcamp and then I fly, and you have to remember to eat.”
She got around that challenge by ensuring that her handbag always had plenty of apples, nuts and 100-calorie protein snacks in it. “It’s always very heavy and full,” she said.
“I think the eating part was the hardest, just the planning. When you’re working out, you go to the class, they tell you what to do and you go, but with eating, you have to pre-plan, you have to be prepared … It’s more work planning your food than working out.”
Throughout the competition, her husband, Denton, helped and supported her, while her two boys Tristan and Caleb even took part in some of the exercise classes and kept her company on her walks.
Each year in the War on Weight competition, the contestants speak of the camaraderie between themselves and this year is no different.
“We were all there for each other and we’re going to continue together as a group with bootcamp and our weight loss because all of us have more goals,” Ms Chambers said.
“It’s been an incredible journey, both physical and spiritual. We’ve come out of it with some really good friendships,” she said.
The 10 competitors learned just how far they’d come in terms of fitness when one of the last classes they took in the programme was Crossfit, which she admitted they were a little nervous about doing because they’d heard it was extremely hard. “We breezed through it,” she said, adding that weeks and weeks of squats and workouts with Ernest and Bruce from Bootcamp had paid off. “I’m glad they put the Crossfit at the end because it showed how far we’d come. If that had been our first weekend, we wouldn’t have survived it.”
The competition, which is hosted by Cayman Heart Fund, gets growing support from the community each year. In this fifth year of the contest, 40 businesses and individuals sponsored the event, offering many prizes to the top three winners.
Fans of the competition were able to follow the competitors’ personal war on weight through their blogs on the contest’s website. Ms Chambers and other contestants – Delocita Pope, Sheredan Coulburn, Sandra Catron, Sheryl Harris, Shakira Diaz, Maritza Taylor, Salema Solomon, Raquel Solomon and Orlando Mason – gave updates on the War on Weight site about how their weight loss challenge was going.
The War on Weight challenge ran from mid-August to mid-December.