Nation waits to see if Rockford contestant will win Biggest Loser

Brother and sister are in finals on national television show

by BETH ALTENA

Rockford siblings Conda and Jeremy Britt began the contest weighing a combined total of 683 pounds.

A Rockford brother and sister have made it to the end of a life-changing process that has taken place in the public on NBC’s Biggest Loser Club series. The two are back home now after the 18-week show where they accomplished more than they ever imagined after starting the show weighing 389 pounds (Jeremy) and 294 pounds (Conda). Their journey even took them to the White House, where they spent a day with First Lady Michelle Obama, and currently have the chance to win $30,000 to bring a gym locally if they are first in online voting.

Jeremy Britt, 22, employed at Fifth Third Bank, and lived a sedentary life—the only sport he ever played was golf, where the exercise was minimal as he always used a golf cart. He knew he had to make a change in his life when a friend asked him to go to the beach and he declined because he didn’t want anyone to see him without a shirt.

Rockford resident and Biggest Loser contestant Jeremy Britt.

Conda Britt, 24, is a single mother and college student with a full-time job. As a nutrition technician for Spectrum Health, she is responsible for helping patients maintain diets created for them by doctors or dieticians. She felt she had to make a change in her life not only for herself but for her two-year-old daughter.

Both Rockford High School graduates say they come from a family where being heavy is the norm and family gatherings feature delicious but not very healthy food.

“Being overweight was easy and acceptable,” Jeremy said.

The brother and sister duo went to a Detroit open casting call for the show and were accepted. The first airing of their season of the Biggest Loser Club took place on January 3 of this year. The final episode will air May 1.

Over the next 18 weeks each contestant, always a team of pairs, are challenged to lose weight, learn healthy lifestyle habits, and face challenges with eliminations throughout the season. Through each elimination, the cast has been narrowed—both in the number of contestants and physically as each sheds pounds. Now the participants are all home, and know what only the NBC staff of the show and the Biggest Losers themselves know: who will be this season’s winners.

Rockford resident and Biggest Loser contestant Conda Britt.

Prohibited from doing an open interview until terms of their contract are over, Jeremy and Conda were able to provide answers to some questions—not the big one—through the NBC publicity director. Both share their gratification with how their lives and futures have changed since losing what is easily the weight of an average person.

“The show has taught me that anything is possible and I’m much stronger than I ever thought I was,” said Jeremy. “At the same time, it taught me that hard work pays off; if you work for something you will be successful.”

Conda said the biggest thing she learned is how to set goals for herself and follow through. “I believe in myself and know I can do anything I set my mind to.”

Both say the hardest part of being on the show was being away from their family and having no outside contact while on the ranch where the show is filmed.

Jeremy said people who have never been heavy can’t really know what it is like to be extremely overweight. He said now he is a completely changed person, living a completely different lifestyle centered on exercise and eating well.

Conda said she is still the same person after her experience, although her lifestyle is also drastically altered and her mindset is greatly improved. “I love my new life and I look forward to what’s to come,” she said. “People don’t treat me differently, but when I hear someone say how I have inspired them, it is a great feeling. I set out to do this for myself and my family, and to help other people’s lives is just an added blessing.”

Jeremy said the best part of the experience is the relationships he built along the way, especially his stronger relationship to his sister. Conda expressed similar sentiments. “The relationships we built will last a lifetime,” said Conda, “and being able to share such an amazing opportunity with my brother is something that will forever bond us. It is hard to explain sometimes how being on the ranch was to people, but I know there is one person who will always understand, and that is Jeremy.”

Both say the change in their lives since losing the weight is not just in the way they look, but in their ability to be active. “It’s not just the look but the energy level I have now,” Jeremy stated.

Conda said she has done things she never believed herself capable of doing. “My life is completely different now, not just my body.”

Both brother and sister believe the weight they lost will never be regained. “I have such a visual memory of how hard day one of this journey was, and I never want to go through that again,” said Jeremy.

“I will never gain the weight back,” said Conda. “I am at a point in my life where I have worked hard and am very happy. I always want to feel that. My secret is that ten pounds doesn’t sneak up on you if you weigh yourself every day.”

To help the pair make a difference in the lives of others by winning $30,000 for a gym in a neighborhood where exercise opportunities are scarce, vote online to Michelle Obama’s campaign.

“In true green team fashion, me and Conda are thinking everyone should sign up under my name to help combine our fans and strengthen our hometown’s chances,” said Jeremy.

Mrs. Obama also tells the contestants about the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA), the six-week pledge-based program designed to get both adults and children more physically active and healthy. She challenges the players to see who can get the most people to sign up under their names on www.nbc.com/pala after the episode airs and until April 25, and they later find out that Planet Fitness will donate $30,000 worth of gym equipment to the hometown of the winning contestant, so that their whole community can get active too! The winner will be announced at the finale.

Jeremy shared something about the show that would surprise fans to know. “I never got the phone number of the nutritionist. She gave me all the signs that she was into me. I don’t know what happened.”

More seriously, he said that he learned that hard work will pay off, no matter how difficult the task. “I never took shortcuts in the game and I worked hard every week to do my best. One thing fans will never learn from me is how to cook.”

Both hope others will learn from their unique experience of both being a contestant on a popular national show and being successful in their determination to make a change for the better in their lives.

“I hope that fans of the show learn that starting something that is going to change your life is never going to be easy, but if it is something you really want, it is attainable,” said Conda. “Never give up. No matter how hard it is, it will get easier.”

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