NBC's Biggest Loser Contestant Visits Pinckneyville

This is from Julie Hadden's Blog after her visit to Pinckneyville August 26th.   Julie was the runner up on NBC's Biggest Loser season 4.

I recently made a trip to a little community that is making big changes in the lives of its citizens. That place is Pinckneyville, IL, and my time there confirmed to me that when a small group of people commits to making a difference, it will happen! It’s happening in their little corner of the world, that’s for sure.

I was invited to speak at the “Inspire Conference” held on August 26. I really had no expectations of what I would find at the end of my 90-minute long drive from the airport through the rural roads. 

What I ended up finding in this little town of around 5,000 is that inspiration and motivation are everywhere. This was a tight-knit community that is making big changes in its commitment to good health and active lives.

Leading the charge is Sara Tanner, who was the conference coordinator. She is an incredible source of inspiration—not just for those in this little Southern Illinois town—but to me personally. Sara lost more than 110 pounds over five years ago and has done a remarkable job at keeping it off. She operates Motivation Fitness and conducts a variety of classes from “Zumba” to “Hoops” (hula hoping for fitness) to inspire people to get healthy.

I also met David Belcher, Lifestyle Editor, for the Mount Vernon Sentinel. David presented me with a bound folder of wonderfully written newspaper articles chronicling his self-described “massive weight loss project.” Since January he has lost 75 pounds with the determination to lose 110 more! It didn’t take five minutes with David before I was convinced that he will absolutely achieve his goal and will inspire numerous others through his journey.  

I was brought in to “be the inspiration” and in turn, I myself was inspired. Pinckneyville is a lovely place. But it is self-proclaimed to be a small town with the closest “big city” resources being well over an hour’s drive away. Some would think this justifies a “can’t do it” attitude. But that was far from what I found to be true.

I wanted to share my experience in Pinckneyville with you first to commend them for their efforts in putting an end to excuses and changing the mindset and the quality of life in a community! And secondly to say, no matter what your resources—whether big or small—you can make a difference wherever you are. So start today. 

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