Antoine Dove knows the importance, and difficulty, of losing weight.
As a contestant on the eighth season of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” Dove weighed 346 pounds.
Though he didn’t earn the show’s title of “Biggest Loser,” he did shed 152 pounds — most of it after he was eliminated.
“My biggest change (since leaving the show) has been a drop or decrease in workouts,” Dove said with a laugh, in a recent phone interview.
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He added that he and his fiance, fellow “The Biggest Loser” contestant Alexandra White, try to incorporate working out and healthy eating into a normal lifestyle.
“It’s not easy,” he said. “This whole process, the whole idea of losing weight is a lifestyle change and (people) need to take it on in that way.”
Which is exactly what Trim Down Columbus, an initiative to get Columbus residents losing weight and gaining health, aims to do.
The program kicks off at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Columbus Civic Center.
It costs $5 to participate and each person receives a free six-week membership at any Columbus Gold’s Gym, a personal trainer, body analysis, weigh-in program, Trim Down T-shirt and a carry bag filled with items that encourage healthy diet and exercise.
Dove and White will both appear at the kick off to share their stories and experiences with sustained weight loss.
“I think (Trim Down Columbus) is a great idea,” Dove said, adding how excited he was when Jan Pease contacted him about attending the event.
“We’re into having people start being healthy,” said Pease, organizer of the event and owner of Jan Pease Marketing, LLC. “It’s an opportunity to create a healthy lifestyle.”
The goal of the program is for Columbus to lose 10,000 pounds in six weeks.
There is also a Corporate Crunch aspect to the program where companies can compete against each other to lose the most weight.
Prizes will be awarded for most participants and most weight loss for a company; individual prizes will also be awarded.
Pease said the program originally began about 10 years ago when a local high school student lost a considerable amount of weight, but it had been inactive for the last two years.
“I was the catalyst to restart the program,” said Pease, noting that moving it to the Civic Center allows for more people to attend and a bigger presentation.
Pease said they are also hoping to hire a dietician to help participants set goals and make healthier choices when it comes to eating right.
Important factors such as accountability and a support system are two things offered by Trim Down Columbus that Dove found especially helpful for his weight-loss success on “The Biggest Loser.”
Dove’s best advice is to stay committed to the weight-loss journey and find a goal or a reason for wanting to lose weight.
“It was hard at first, but now it’s like second nature” to eat right and exercise, he said.
In addition to the weight-loss information and incentives at the kickoff, until 3 p.m., after they weigh in, participants will be able to purchase tickets to Sunday’s Cottonmouths game for a penny a pound, rounding to the nearest whole dollar amount.
For example, if you weigh in at 135 pounds, a ticket to the evening’s game would cost you $1; if you weigh in at 165 pounds, the ticket would cost $2.
The game against the Fayetteville FireAntz begins at 4 p.m.
Katie Holland, reporter, can be reached at 706-571-8515.