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Victoria residents show healthy losses at midpoint in H-E-B Slim Down Showdown

By Elena Watts
Feb. 26, 2014 at 7:02 p.m.
Updated Feb. 25, 2014 at 8:26 p.m.

Amber Thomas, 24, of Victoria, exercises at the H-E-B Slim Down Showdown midpoint weigh-in in San Antonio on Feb. 22.

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Visit sdsd.heb.com to read more about the Victoria contestants' weight-loss journeys.

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Participate in the Slim Down Showdown program from home with a 10-week online course that includes recipes, workouts, summaries, videos and a mobile tracker for weight. Register for free at heb.com/slimdown.

Jason Brown, 36, and Amber Thomas, 24, returned to San Antonio with the other 28 contestants in the H-E-B Slim Down Showdown for the midpoint weigh-in last weekend.

"I've dropped two dress sizes," Thomas said. "It's the best feeling in the world, and I just want to keep going."

Thomas has lost 19 pounds since the competition began seven weeks ago. She started at 279 pounds and weighed 260 at the midpoint.

Thomas was depressed before the competition began. She cried when she tried on a pair of blue jeans in her size and could not pull them over her thighs.

Last week, she tried on the same pair of pants, and they were a perfect fit.

"They weren't even tight," she said. "I cried happy tears this time."

Her exercise routine is on track despite occasional adjustments to her schedule.

"This is real life, and I'm raising a child," Thomas said. "So no day is exactly the same."

Thomas attends spin classes Tuesdays and Thursdays. She exercises on the elliptical cross trainer or Stairmaster on Wednesdays and Fridays. Her weekend workouts, which last 90 minutes to two hours, are a combination of cardio, strength training and suspension training. Mondays are her days to rest.

"I can run 4 miles on the elliptical machine in 30 minutes," Thomas said. "I have realized that there are no limits - that I get better when I push myself."

The healthy diet has come easy for Thomas.

"I plan to eat this way for the rest of my life," she said. "My goal is to duplicate or increase the weight loss the second half of the competition."

Brown, who works at H-E-B, said he fights food temptations that surround him in the store.

"I walk out and smell Little Caesars," Brown said. "My nose doesn't stop working because I'm on a different life path."

Brown, who weighed 358 pounds at the initial weigh-in, has dropped 26 pounds by the midpoint. He now weighs 332 pounds.

A broken foot and birthday indulgences slowed him down during the first seven weeks, he said. But he is free and clear for the second seven.

"I consistently work out two to three times per day," he said. "There are no excuses."

Brown exercises 30 minutes in the morning, 10 to 15 minutes in the afternoon and two hours in the evening.

His wife, Jennifer Brown, and his son, Connor Brown, 7, participate in his routine.

"I burned 975 calories playing baseball with my son for a couple of hours in the evening," he said. "My wife and I push each other and enjoy exercising and dieting together."

Brown hopes to drop 32 more pounds to make his weight an even 300 by the end of the weight-loss race.

"Instead of worrying about scales and numbers, I keep it positive," Brown said. "I know I'm in a different place than I was just two months ago."

In San Antonio, Thomas and Brown attended a mock dinner party with healthy hors d'oeuvres and mocktails, non-alcoholic cocktails.

Health screenings and yoga were also part of the weekend. The competitors shared their successes and failures and offered each other support and advice.

H-E-B selected 15 customers and 15 employees across Texas to compete in the third annual Slim Down Showdown.

The contest began in January with a wellness program in San Antonio.

The competitors have the opportunity to win a $10,000 grand prize or a $5,000 healthy hero prize in addition to their improved health and weight loss.

Winners will be announced April 12 at a ceremony at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center in San Antonio in conjunction with the Healthy at H-E-B Family Expo.

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