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Chaplain assistant trumps competition, becomes "Biggest Loser"

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- Editor's Note: This is the final article in a series chronicling fitness exploits of Ellsworth Airmen.

As he confidently stepped on the scale, Staff Sgt. Kevin Pike, 28th Bomb Wing chaplain assistant, surpassed a goal he had set for himself eight weeks before when he was named the Bellamy Fitness Center's "Biggest Loser," March 10.

Sergeant Pike, who set out at the beginning of the competition to lose the 20 pounds he had gained after his 2007 back surgery, ended up losing 30 pounds, trouncing 70 other competitors.

Despite the high number of competitors, Sergeant Pike felt that his most challenging opponent was his ability to stay motivated throughout the competition.

"I felt my real competition was myself," Sergeant Pike said. "I had done my best in it, and I felt all my efforts were validated when I was declared the winner."
Along with being his own adversary during the competition, Sergeant Pike was also his own motivation.

"This competition wasn't easy for me by any means," Sergeant Pike said. "My real motivation was my desire to lose the weight and show myself I could do it. I am not one to give up easily but every day I had to keep convincing myself that it was possible to succeed."

Along with personal drive, Sergeant Pike utilized the programs and classes offered by the fitness center staff during the competition to ensure his success.

"Carey Karger [28th Force Support Squadron fitness center director] and Senior Airman Tamiya Skinner [28 FSS fitness specialist] really encouraged me each time I weighed-in and they also suggested several things to keep me on track," Sergeant Pike said. "This helped to keep my interest and provided me with some new ideas."

Some of the tips suggested included rotate his weekly workouts in order to keep him interested and eating healthy, not just in general, but eating healthy according to his body type, Airman Skinner said.

"It's important to remember that there is no magical way to lose weight, proper diet and strength training is only the beginning, you have to be willing to make the changes for a lifetime," Airman Skinner said.

Along with alternating his workouts and performing them at least three times a week, Sergeant Pike has been developing healthier eating habits.

"I would buy healthy snacks and put them in all kinds of different places including my car," Sergeant Pike said. "This helped especially when I was running errands downtown and became hungry. This simple fix would stop me from ordering fast food on my way home, and I figure this trick alone saves me about 1200 calories a day."

Sergeant Pike's son, Johni, and his daughter, Kaylee, also helped him monitor his diet to make sure he made healthier decisions.

"My son Johni was a big help because every time I would make something to
eat he would take it from saying that I didn't need it," Sergeant Pike said. "My daughter Kaylee would encourage me by planning meals with me and helping me choose healthy foods and counting my calories."

Despite the success of his weight loss and the conclusion of the competition, Sergeant Pike plans to continue his newly adopted lifestyle.

"A lot of people I know have made comments that I look slimmer but
I'm not done yet," Sergeant Pike said.

The improvement to his quality of life and his relationship with his children has already motivated him to continue with his new lifestyle.

"When I lost the weight, I felt good and accomplished. My mood also improved and I'm sure that came across to [my children]," Sergeant Pike said. "It allowed Kaylee and I to have quality time making our diet meals and I also have a lot more energy for running the house and taking care of the kids."

"Even though the competition is over, I still want to lead a healthy lifestyle," Sergeant Pike said. "It's important for each of us to develop healthy habits and maintain them. I have the healthy habits and I want to keep them for the rest of my life."