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Local man starts own ‘Biggest Loser’ contest

Stand on the front steps of Creative Financial Solutions, facing South Third Street, and the aroma of fried fish, chicken and hushpuppies from Long John Silver’s stirs up afternoon hunger pangs.

Walk down the steps, turn right and cross Monroe Street and you’ll find yourself mingling with the exercise fanatics at the Total Fitness gym.

Such is the quandary staring daily in the face of financial counselor Jay Zornes.

“I need to lose weight, but I can’t do it without (making it) a challenge,” he laughed. “There has to be something on the line.”

That “something” is called putting your money where your mouth is… figuratively, of course.

Welcome to The Biggest Loser, Ironton style.

Zornes recruited 10 area residents — nine males and one female — who, in varying degrees, felt the need to drop some extra pounds.

“I just need to lose weight so I can play ball again,” said participant Kevin Hacker, whose wife Kelli is the lone female in the competition. “I figured the money part would get me motivated.”

Weigh-ins began Sunday, March 28 at CFS with the prompt 3 p.m. arrival of Zornes and a brand new set of electronic scales, Tim Thomas, Tim Johnson, Rod Depriest, Scott Walter and Chris Metzger.

The remaining contestants stopped by Zornes’ office the following Monday to log their starting poundage.

“I’ve had a bad stretch since last Friday,” laughed Tim Johnson, who claims to have lost three pounds, when asked recently about his progress. “After that, I was kind of like a drunk on a bender.”

Johnson promised that he would correct his course, but the fervent confidence he displayed during his weigh in seemed to wane.

“I like the friendly rivalry part of this,” he said. “It’s great to compete against friends because you can rib each other.”

The rules are fairly simple: Whoever loses the largest percentage of body weight after 90 days is declared the winner.

Bi-weekly “check in” weigh-ins will be utilized to keep everyone abreast of the status of their fellow losers — with monetary penalties for those who fail to continually drop at least three-fourths of 1 percent of their original weight.

That would equate to 1 1/2 pounds every 14 days for someone who weighs 200 pounds.

The participants are: Tim Johnson, Jay Zornes, Tim Thomas, Kevin Hacker, Kelli Hacker, Rod Depriest, Greg Klaiber, Mark Fields, Bret Hensley, Chris Metzger and Scott Walter.

No one seemed concerned with competing with Zornes when he is protecting an investment. They may have forgotten that’s what the man does for a living.

This may be a “lose/lose” situation for all contestants. But that didn’t stop Kevin Hacker, who has initially struggled to lose weight, from guaranteeing victory.

“I’ll get kicked in before long and take it all,” he laughed.