by E.I. Hillin
Anticipation ran high at the finale of the 2017 Mustang Makeover Challenge on Monday evening at the Town Center, 1201 N. Mustang Road. Committee Chair, Shannon McCulloch, said she was very proud of each of the 27 participants.
The group lost a combined total of more than 500 pounds and 243 inches in the 12-week challenge. First-place-winner Joe Wilhite lost 51 pounds and 21 inches to win the competition and the $500 prize sponsored by First National Bank & Trust.
Wilhite said he was fully committed to the challenge and would not allow himself to cheat.
“It was just discipline,” he said. “I’ve exercised every day since Jan. 9.”
The weight wasn’t the only big change for Wilhite. He said the most impressive thing to come from the challenge was the change in his health. Wilhite’s blood pressure dropped dramatically. He said he went from taking four pills of blood pressure medicine a day to only taking half a pill a day.
Wilhite said he plans to use his prize money to purchase some new clothes for his new body. Life after the challenge will be the real test for Wilhite and some of the other participants.
“Now is when the tough part comes for me,” he said.
McCulloch shared a presentation after the winners were announced about how the participants can maintain the lifestyle they have followed for 12 weeks. McCulloch said the community was well represented in the challenge with participants from different fields including teachers, bank workers, and church workers.
The Mustang Chamber of Commerce started the wellness program in 2015 to help improve employee health. The idea was to bring together all health and fitness related chamber member businesses to provide information and training for the participants, focusing on their common areas of expertise.
Josh Devonshire lost more than 42 pounds and 18 inches to win second place and a $200 prize sponsored by BancFirst. Jim Harris lost more than 41 pounds and 14 inches to win third place and a $100 prize sponsored by Christy Thompson of Liberty Mutual Insurance.
Honorable mentions from the competition include fourth-place-winner Erica Koch, fifth-place-winner Tiffany Devonshire, and sixth-place-winner Shelly Holinsworth.