The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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July 30, 2013

Family drops 158 lbs. to win national weight-loss challenge

FATE, Texas — A Texas family lost a combined 158 pounds by turning their garage into a gym and cooking more food at home, helping them win $10,000 in a national weight loss challenge.

The Fisher family competed against 170 other teams in the 12-week HealthyWage Matchup, an event that allows individuals and companies to organize weight loss challenges with cash prizes.

"The first 10 weeks were about pure fun," said dad Kevin Fisher, who lost 45 pounds. "The last few weeks became about winning."

The family worked out twice a day to achieve their goals. They also started watching what they ate.

"We didn’t realize we were eating a lot of really bad foods," said Tamara, Kevin's wife and an aspiring chef. She lost 33 pounds in the challenge.

By dining at home, the Fishers could cook and monitor what they were eating, instead of blowing a whole day's calories at a restaurant. But restaurants weren't the only obstacle.

"I would regularly starve when I went to my friend’s house," said Rilee Fisher, Kevin and Tamara's 18-year-old son who lost 39 pounds. Rilee said it was tough to avoid the snacks his friends were having.

The Fishers did not forsake eating out completely, though. They maintained their weekly tradition of breakfast at a Mexican bistro.

For exercise, Tamara and daughter Triniti, 14, ran regularly, and the youngest competitor, 10-year-old Averleigh, teamed up with her father.

By the end of the competition, Averleigh went from struggling on their runs to running two miles without a break. Triniti found herself losing weight more consistently than anyone else.

"You saw her confidence level go up," Rilee said of his sister.

Still, the Fishers said they had to lean on each other for support.

"Everyone had times where they didn't want to do some aspect of it," Kevin said. "There were many times when Tamara and Averleigh were in tears."

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