3 winners named in ‘Estacada’s Biggest Loser’ weight loss competition

chris-terri-ells-dana-richardson.JPGView full sizeChris (from left) and Terri Ells and Dana Richardson were among the 105 participants in the Estacada’s Biggest Loser contest. They lost a combined 141 1/2 pounds during the 12-week competition.
BY: KRISTINE THOMAS  

Chris and Terri Ells and Richard Milbradt have a new perspective on losing.

By losing inches and pounds during the 12-week Estacada’s Biggest Loser contest, they feel like winners because they have gained self-confidence, a sense of purpose and, most importantly, better health.

“Before this contest, I felt depressed and I kept my head down,” Milbradt said. “I couldn’t fit into my motorcycle clothes. Now I can, and my colleagues tease me that I strut around with pride like a banty rooster.”

The Ellses and Milbradt were three of the 105 Estacada residents who participated in Estacada’s Biggest Loser contest, ending April 3. Susan Wagner, owner of the Estacada franchise of Curves, a women’s fitness club, organized the contest to inspire community members to lose weight and exercise. Winners were determined by the percentage of body weight lost.

Chris Ells, 61, took first place, winning $1,040; Milbradt, 45, took second, winning $520; and Terri Ells, 57, third, winning $312.

Wagner considers everyone who participated a winner because they chose healthier lifestyles, inspired one another and made new friends.

“I was told by many contestants that they couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel before the contest,” Wagner said. “They now realize anybody can lose weight if they stay focused and have a goal.”

Wagner said she couldn’t have run the contest without the help of her husband, Tracy Wagner, her 17-year-old son, Cody Wagner, and Lisa Lessard, Dick Scott and Kim Ward. Susan Wagner also thanked Kelly Williams, director of the Estacada Community Center, for donating use of the center.

Chris Ells, who lost 66 1/2 pounds, and Terri Ells, who lost 33 pounds, plan to use their winnings to go somewhere sunny.

“I feel better than I have in years and I thank my wife, Terri, for being my motivation,” Chris Ells said.

Ells, who retired in December, said he’s tried to lose weight before.

“It was hard to find time to exercise because I was driving to Portland every day for work and eating the wrong foods,” he said. “This competition is the only thing that has worked for me because it held me accountable with the weekly weigh-ins.”

richard-milbradt.JPGView full sizeSusan Wagner, organizer of the Estacada’s Biggest Loser contest, measures Richard Milbradt, who dropped from 299.5 pounds to 229.8. Now, he says, “I am excited about doing things this summer.”
Milbradt, while disappointed he placed second by a slim margin, said he feels like a winner for losing 69 1/2 pounds. On April 3, he weighed 229.8 pounds, with a goal of getting to 175.

Married to Beverly Milbradt and the father of Melissa, 9; Jeshua, 6; and Sierra, 5 months, Milbradt said his family was his inspiration.

“I have gained so much from this,” Milbradt said. “I have more energy and I am happier.”

Another contestant, Dana Richardson, said she would never tell anyone her weight before the contest. She’s now proud to say she’s 195.8 pounds, down from 237.8 pounds, and has gone from a size 20 to a size 14.

“Last summer, I was hiking in the lava tubes at Mount St. Helens when I came to a sheer wall that I couldn’t climb over. I felt like a beached whale, and complete strangers had to help me over the wall,” she said. “This summer, I plan to hike to the rim of Mount St. Helens.”

When she tried to lose weight before, Richardson said, she would watch what she ate but not exercise, or would exercise but not watch what she ate. This time, she did both.

“The contest provided the motivation I needed,” she said. “I got up at 5 every morning to work out. It wasn’t easy and there were times when I thought about staying in bed because the weather was yucky or I was too tired.”

“If you want to lose weight, you have to tell yourself you are going to do this,” she said. “No excuses.”

– Kristine Thomas

Apr 12th, 2011 | Posted in Weight Loss
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