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Chapel Hill woman 4th in 'Loser'

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Marshall County woman was one of the record breakers on the just-concluded eighth season of "The Biggest Loser."

Liz Young, 49, of Chapel Hill, a grandmother of nine, broke the record for oldest contestant ever to take part. She was a contender until the very end, reaching the final four before being voted out, losing third place to Amanda Arlauskas.

There's no money prize for placing fourth, but the personal satisfaction is immeasurable.

"When I first started, I never thought I would make it past week three," said Young in a telephone interview Thursday. "I'm elated, and very proud of making it to the end.

"It truly has been life-changing," she continued.

Young says she has a manager now, and they are "working on some things," but she does plan to go back to work as a "comfort consultant" for Private Quarters.

Her goal weight is 160 pounds, and she plans to reach and maintain it.

"It's a lifestyle," she explains. "It's all about making choices, and I'm the only person that can control those choices."

Young started converting her favorite recipes to healthier ones when she got home in late August. So far, her husband Jimmy has lost about 35 pounds, and she says he's amazed how good things taste.

"I've always fried everything," Young says. "I haven't fried a single thing since I've been home. We use our grill almost every day now."

She says people don't understand what hard work it is to be a "Biggest Loser" contestant.

"We were in the gym six or eight hours a day," she said.

While Young was at home this fall, still trying to lose weight before going back to California for the live finale, she was in the gym for six hours, as well as running five miles a day.

"I have to get it back to where it fits with a normal life," Young says, adding that she plans to work out about an hour and a half a day, and run three miles.

"You've got to put the time in, and make the choices to eat right," she concludes.

Young's partner on the Brown Team, Danny Cahill, was the overall winner, also breaking the record for most weight lost by any contestant.

The sixteen overweight people who struggled to run one mile this summer finished their intensive program of diet and exercise by running a marathon. Young and Cahill finished the 26.22 miles in a respectable 6:55:22.

Young started the contest at 267 pounds, and ended at 176, which represents a loss of 34.08 percent of her body weight. Her record-breaking teammate went from 430 to 199, or almost 59 percent. Rudy Pauls, who finished second, also lost over 50 percent of his body weight.

Young was sequestered at a ranch in California with the other contestants for three and a half months this summer before she came home to Chapel Hill and a homecoming party at Henry Horton State Park on Aug. 20. She lost another 16 pounds before returning to the West Coast for the season finale.