Hundreds of people in Central Florida are about to begin a weight loss transformation as part of "Take the Challenge," sponsored by Lake Mary Healthy Living Magazine.
Two "ambassadors" were chosen from over 150 applicants. The winners were chosen based on the results of an essay and questionnaire as well as their ability to complete the responsibilities of a yearlong media intensive weight loss campaign.
And the winners are: John McGivern of Sorrento and Emily Edwards of Winter Garden.
John, 32, is a Seminole County Sheriff's Office corrections deputy, and at 6 feet 7 inches and nearly 400 pounds, his goal is to lose at least 125 pounds.
Emily, also 32, says she wants to lose about the same amount.
Both John and Emily say they suffer from something we can all relate to, emotional eating. Both say their lives changes with the death of someone close.
For Emily the sudden loss of her father sent her into a yearlong depression.
"I think that was the beginning of the downward spiral. By the time I started to heal from that it was too late," she said.
John lost his uncle in 2010. He considered him one of his best friends. His uncle died from complications from his own weight challenges.
"I think about my uncle and the struggles he went through," he says "and I don't want to do that."
John also suffers from a back injury which complicates his exercise abilities.
Both ambassadors will work with a team of experts, free of charge, to help them reach their healthy living goals.
The challenge is patterned after popular reality TV weight loss shows.
For those who were not chosen as ambassadors, there is still a chance to participate. A limited number of people will be able to have access to the same experts helping John and Emily.
Readers are encouraged to create their own weight loss goals as they follow John and Emily's progress. Lake Mary Healthy Living Magazine has set up a blog and comments section so you can share your own healthy living milestones.
Local 6 will follow the contestants and update their progress over the next year. Viewers are encouraged to come out and cheer on the ambassadors at a public weigh-in event at the lake Mary Farmers Market in Downtown Lake Mary Saturday.
You can read John and Emily's blog here at Lake Mary Healthy Living magazine.