Final weigh-in: Contestant sheds pounds in healthy living challenge

Yearlong campaign ends with contestant learning how to live a healthier life

LAKE MARY, Fla. - During the past year Local 6 followed two Central Floridians who challenged themselves - and all of Central Florida to live healthier lives. Their goal was to lose 100 pounds in one year.

[WEB EXTRA: Lake Mary Healthy Living  | PICS: See Emily's journey ]

When Local 6 caught up with contestant Emily Edwards she said what she gained from the experience can't be measured in pounds or inches.

She said the challenge has changed the way she lives.

"You don't think of it as exercise, it's just us out here having fun," said Edwards.

The Edwards family would have been hard pressed to play catch out in the street 12 months ago.

"My family would all go out and play without me and i would stay inside in the air conditioning where it was comfortable," she said.

Now family outings are becoming routine.

"At least three times a week we go out and play softball play football um we go on walks after dinner as a family," said Edwards who credits the Lake Mary Healthy Living Magazine "Weight Loss Challenge" for bringing her family together through exercise.

"It's been such a positive experience in my life, my family's life. I wouldn't trade it for the world," she said.

The last year has been a busy one for Edwards. She was chosen from hundreds of applicants to be one of two weight loss ambassadors.

She and John McGivern hit the gym hard. They were given memberships and personal trainers, nutritionists and psychologists and the community watched supporting them as they documented their set-backs and success.

In the end, Edwards lost 70 pounds.

She says distance to the gym and several personal issues were more than she could overcome.

"I feel like anything that could have happened to try to derail me in this past year did. I didn't meet the goal that I intended to meet when I set out to do this, but I feel like I got so much more out of it," she said.

And her trainers say that while their time with her is over she has the ability to take what she's learned and soon reach those goals.

"I see Emily's future extremely bright. I wouldn't be surprised if she leads up a fitness program of her own. She's really taken the initiative at her home to implement all the workouts that we've been teaching her and I'm so proud of her," said her trainer Ariel Hernandez.

Sometimes change happens slow but being able to recognize progress is what keeps Edwards motivated.

"We're all eating better we're doing things we're closer as a family so I think that that was a lot more rewarding than just me losing 100 pounds," said Edwards.

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