RANGELEY — The biggest loser is now the biggest winner.

The annual weight loss and fitness challenges came to a successful end with Michele Elliott of Rangeley emerging the winner of the Better For Life contest, which focuses on positive changes in weight loss and waist measurement.

Elliott dropped 30 pounds and five and a half inches during six months of physical challenges, exercise and educational classes, earning a one-week trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and airfare for two.

Karen Murphy claimed second place with a loss of 20 pounds and six inches, followed by Pati Ellis of Dallas Plantation, third.

Winners in the Better For Life competition, sponsored by the Rangeley Region Health and Wellness Partnership, are determined by total weight and inches lost and points awarded during the first 16 weeks of competition for gym visits, attending educational sessions on fitness and nutrition and completing exercise challenges.

The overall winning group was the blue team made up of members Jake Richards, Nancy Perlson, Fran Harrill, Diane White, Michele Elliott, Bill Elliott, Belinda Mansfield and Ginny Spiller.

Richards took top honors among men in the Super Fit challenge, followed by Matt Viehmann in second. Kelley Brackett was the top finisher for the women. Second place went to Tracy Dresser and third to Cyndy Egan.

Progress for entrants is measured using five different assessments to determine improvement in a two-mile run and the number of push-ups and sit-ups completed in two minutes based on gender and age. The number of physical challenge completed, participation in educational sessions and the percentage of improvement between the first and last assessments in the six-month competition are also used to determine the winners.

“We hope now that the program is over they (the entrants) will still continue with a healthy lifestyle,” said Lindsay Richards, fitness assistant at the Rangeley Rehab and Wellness Pavilion.

For more information about the 2012 Better For Life and Super Fit challenges, contact Richards at 864-3055 or [email protected]

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