by CINDY M. CRANMER
Perseverance and “keeping at it” are keys to success with a weight-loss plan, according to a Rockford resident and “The Biggest Loser” Season 13 winner.
Jeremy Britt, 23, lost 199 pounds during the 13th season, dropping his body weight to 190 pounds. His sister, 24-year-old Conda Britt, lost 115 pounds to drop from 294 pounds to 179 pounds and finish third.
Britt said his weight loss of 51.16 percent during the show placed him in the top five contestants of all the show’s 13 seasons.
Jeremy and Conda left Rockford, their jobs, families, friends and all the technologies that connect people to try and make a change to their lives.
During a recent interview at MVP in Rockford, Jeremy spoke to The Rockford Squire about the things he gained in the process. “There are so many ways my life has changed,” he said.
A tremendous weight loss, prize winnings of $250,000 and better health are some obvious things, Britt said. The friendships that he made and learning to change behaviors that were harmful to his health are things that may have been less obvious to the millions of television viewers who saw him win the live season finale in May.
“There are definitely people I will always stay in touch with. I’m friends with the people on the show for the most part,” Jeremy said. “It was such a great experience.”
Things have slowed down for him after a whirlwind of television and radio appearances, but Jeremy wants to continue to tell his story and let it serve as an inspiration for others.
Jeremy said he eventually plans to return to college and finish pursuing an education such as the business and management degree he was working on. He currently wants to serve as a motivational speaker and help others as they struggle to overcome obstacles to weight loss and improved health.
“I feel I have a story to be told right now,” Jeremy said. “It’s pretty amazing being among the top five contestants of all time.”
Jeremy was the youngest winner in the 13 seasons at age 22, and one of the younger contestants on the show.
While he could travel if he becomes a motivational speaker, Jeremy said he has no plans of moving out of the Rockford area. “I have no intention of moving anywhere else,” he said.
Jeremy actually plans to further solidify making his home in Rockford by putting a down payment on a house as part of his prize earnings.
“I just didn’t prioritize eating right and working out in my life before,” he said.
With a job and taking classes through Grand Rapids Community College and Davenport University, Jeremy chose not to make that a focus.
His biggest piece of advice: “Keep at it. Don’t give up.”
Knowing that there will be setbacks and that losing weight is not an easy process can help someone keep going, he said. “You just need to keep at it and stay focused on why you are doing it. You need to work hard and keep going.”
This advice served the winner well as he won his spot as a finalist back by not giving up and winning a challenge after being eliminated shortly before the finale in season 13.
“That final challenge was the most difficult. The stakes were a greater amount. It was 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical,” he said.
While the trainers and nutritionists on “The Biggest Loser” ranch provide equipment, meals, support and information to the contestants that result in dramatic weight loss, hard work can pay off for those working at weight loss on their own.
“I kept at it. The biggest challenge is being away from friends and family,” Jeremy said.
This also was a blessing to his extreme success on the other hand. “The show allowed me to just focus on weight loss. I left my job and school and focused on just that.”
A good support system helps in losing weight. This was something Jeremy and Conda had in family and friends rooting for them in Rockford even when they couldn’t visit the siblings.
It also was something they had in each other on the show. “Conda knew I would have her back and vice versa,” Jeremy said.
Part of having people support you is knowing that you are accountable to someone. Having someone track your progress, whether that is through a weight loss program or a personal trainer, is more valuable than having a workout partner.
He said hard work and perseverance are crucial along with not giving up in the process. Jeremy got up before the others many mornings to do an hour of cardiovascular exercise such as walking or running before the day’s workouts began.
When questioned whether exercise or nutrition was more important, Jeremy said that nutrition is 90 percent of weight loss. “It’s all about what you eat and when you eat it,” he said.
Jeremy said he eats carbohydrates in the morning with “lean and green” foods for dinner and protein after working out. Watching carbohydrates in certain fruits, watching sodium intake and staying away from processed foods are some tips.
“Your body burns off more after a workout,” he said.
When he went to the season finale for the live weigh-in, Jeremy said he knew he had given it everything he had. “I was confident but I was nervous,” he said. “I wanted to lose 200 pounds so I was pleased with these results.”
“I went on ‘The Biggest Loser’ to get healthy. It wasn’t for the money. I knew if I could stay longer, my chances were better to get healthier,” he added.
Jeremy said he has maintained his weight since leaving “The Biggest Loser” and is working on building muscle. His current routine is about one hour of cardio in the morning and one hour of strength training in the afternoon.
He said people just need to get started and go from there. Trying to find an exercise that is enjoyable helps with motivation.
“It’s about building yourself up. You just have to start somewhere,” he said. “I remember it vividly the first time I ran a mile.”
Jeremy said he was in a public park and ran for a mile and a half. A couple at the park recognized and encouraged him about his accomplishment.
According to Jeremy, the contestants from the show will do active things together when they meet up. He also tries to enjoy being outside with friends, doing such things as walking and golfing.
Jeremy also gained some memories while he was on the show. His favorite memory and experience was the trip to Hawaii.
“It was the most fun. It felt like we were all normal people on a vacation. It was a great bonding experience,” Jeremy said.
“This definitely changed my life,” he added.