Women and men can lose weight even when they're middle aged is the message and the example coming from Helen Phillips, 48, who beat out contestants half her age on "America's Biggest Loser: Couples," NBC-TV's weight-loss competition.
"No matter how old you are, you can make the change if you have the dedication and the drive," said Phillips, who lost 140 pounds since starting the competition in September. The Michigan native also won a $250,000 grand prize.
Phillips praised her husband, Russell, a Chrysler autoworker, for his support.
She credited celebrity fitness coach Jillian Michaels for helping her lose the weight during the approximately 18 weeks of the show.
Phillips slimmed down to 117 pounds from 257 pounds and went from a size 22 to 2. She lost 32 pounds after returning home.
At home, she worked out six hours a day - two hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon and two hours in the evening, often at a high school track.
Phillips, who recently shot a "Got Milk?" ad, offers the following advice for anyone trying to lose weight, but she says her message is aimed especially at the middle-aged crowd:
1. Be prepared.
Pack your food so you don't fall into bad habits like stopping at fast food restaurant drive-throughs.
2. Never make excuses.
"It's a priority now to go to the gym or do some kind of physical exercise every day," she said.
3. Believe you can do it.
"I was tired of doubting myself," she said. "Stop saying you can't and start saying you can."
(c) 2009, Detroit Free Press.
Visit the Freep, the World Wide Web site of the Detroit Free Press, at http://www.freep.com.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.