NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A Nacogdoches woman is cruising around in a new car after winning it in the "Lighten up East Texas" weight loss program.
In addition, her hometown had the highest number of people in the region to stick with the program, which is changing people's lives.
"It's not a big decision at all," said Debra Hardy, the winner of Lighten up East Texas. "It's just hard to get motivated sometimes."
Hardy's motivation to lose weight wasn't necessarily going after the Dodge Dart she won.
It was what she discovered during preparation for the weight loss program.
"I found that I was pre-diabetic and insulin resistant, so therefore that pretty much made up my mind i needed to lose weight," Hardy said.
Hardy joined hundreds of others region wide in the Lighten up East Texas effort. Nacogdoches County had an impressive showing.
"One hundred-eighty-four people in Nacogdoches County started this program. We actually had almost 35 percent of them who actually finished the program when it was over," said Kim Barton, a spokesperson for Nacogdoches County Memorial Hospital. "That was a higher percentage of the return than any other county in the region."
Smaller portions, no carbohydrates, and moderate exercise put hardy on the right track to losing weight. She and other participants received entries into grand prize drawings for every 5 percent of weight loss registered from an official weigh-in at the beginning of the challenge.
"If you lose 5 percent you get put in the drawing," Hardy said. "If you lose 7 percent you, get in there twice. And it goes on up. So I actually was in there only one time."
Hardy lost 15 pounds. She's still working at losing about twice that. She's confident.
"Anybody can do it," Hardy said. "If I can do it, anybody can do it."
The returning Nacogdoches County participants combined to lose over 557 pounds.
That contributed to six percent of the over 9,300 pounds lost by all East Texas participants.
Healthy Nacogdoches and Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital organizes "Lighten up East Texas" each year.