As the second edition of HEB’s 16-week Slimdown Showdown begins, the 25 competitors participating this year are taking physicals through the Methodist Health System.
This week is Fit Camp where the contestants attend classes on healthy living and do tests to see where they are physically. On the first day, 34-year-old Juan Ramirez of San Antonio is taking a stress test on a treadmill.
Ramirez said the $10,000 grand prize is not the main goal, instead he wants to lose about 60 lbs. and get a better handle on his lifestyle.
“For me the winning is the new knowledge that you get from the tools and the resources that they train you on," Ramirez said. "So you have the ability to make those good choices when you go out to eat or you go shopping for your groceries."
He and his wife just adopted two twin boys and he said they are his main motivation.
"I want to be around a long time for those boys," He said. "I know they need that and to be honest I know I need them."
The same can be said for fellow competitor Nancy Martinez, who wants to completely change her lifestyle for the benefit of her family.
She said for years she felt like a "sideline mom."
"And I don’t want to do that anymore. My daughter is also overweight. She’s 7-years-old and 95 lbs. and comes home crying because kids are picking on her and that was it; I don’t want her to live the life that I did," Martinez said.
HEB hosts the Slimdown Showdown for customers and employees on a yearly basis. During the four months, contestants learn how to incorporate nutrition, healthy meals and fitness regimes into daily life.
"To some extent losing the weight can be the easiest part of the journey – the hardest part is once you’ve taken it off, keeping it off, because these are decisions we have to make everyday for the rest of our lives,” said HEB's Vice President of Communication, Kate Rogers.
During the last Slimdown Showdown -- which concluded in October -- the contestants lost a collective 956 lbs.