Big crowd cheers 'Biggest Loser'

By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Hundreds of Northeast Mississippi women turned out Thursday night for a dose of inspiration from “The Biggest Loser.”
Madelyn Rainbolt of Pickwick and her friend, Freda Hurt of Booneville, were among the sold-out crowd of 580 people who came to hear Helen Phillips, who won the seventh season of the NBC reality show.
“We were excited to see what she had to say,” Rainbolt said after Phillips’ talk during the sold-out “Small Steps … Big Changes” event hosted by the North Mississippi Medical Center Spirit of Women Initiative. “I liked it. She was motivating.”
Phillips, who started the reality show age 48 at 257 pounds and lost 140 pounds to win, challenged the audience to take charge of their health. She is active in the community in the Detroit area and she travels around the country sharing her enthusiasm for healthy living at any age.
Phillips shared a high-five and a big hug with Bailee Edgeworth to celebrate Edgeworth’s 30-pound loss.
“Stick with it, I’m very proud of you,” Phillips told the young Tupelo woman before the event.
Small steps are the key to achieving big goals like weight loss, but Phillips didn’t whitewash the effort that it takes to make those steps.
“I’m not here to say it’s easy,” said Phillips, who currently maintains her weight between 135-140 pounds by following the nutrition lessons she learned on “The Biggest Loser” and robust, varied workouts.
She talked about her lifelong struggles with her weight and the intense challenges of working out seven hours a day at the Biggest Loser ranch.
“I used to be a horrible yo-yo dieter,” said Phillips, who started “The Biggest Loser” with daughter Shannon. “We were always looking for a quick fix.”
With support from family and friends, Phillips was adamant women can make their lives healthier and lose weight, no matter their age.
“The best advice I can give you today is to buy a calorie-counting book and two journals,” Phillips told the crowd. Use the calorie counting book and one journal to track every bit of food. Use the other journal to track feelings.
“If you fall off one day, don’t give up for the next week,” Phillips said.
Carol Pruitt of Nettleton came Thursday wanting to hear about weight loss from someone who had been successful at it.
“I feel very confident she has influenced all of us to try our best,” Pruitt said.
Contact Michaela Gibson Morris at (662) 678-1599 or

It’s Tupelo’s Turn
– Trim Down, Tone Up Tupelo is returning for a second year.
Teams will weigh in together from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 8 and 10 at Tupelo City Hall. The team weight-loss competition is organized by the mayor’s healthy city task force.
More details are coming soon.

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