Big Prizes Await Biggest Losers in East Texas


Lighten Up East Texas is a free contest encouraging people in East Texas to lose at least five percent of their weight. When they do they are entered into grand prize drawings held in May.  Any East Texan over the age of 18 can enter. Top prizes include $1,000 Brookshire’s grocery gift cards and a 2016 vehicle from Allen Samuels Tyler.  

The weight loss incentive was created by Fit City Tyler, a coalition dedicated to motivate citizens of East Texas to live healthier lives.

Participants from the first year (2013) combined to lose 4,717 pounds, individuals from the second year (2014) combined to lose 9,310 pounds and entrants from the third year (2015) combined to lose 7,838 pounds.  

The fourth year of Lighten Up East Texas begins Monday, January 4. Participants need to register before February 29 for contest eligibility. All persons who register a starting weight will then need to have their final weight taken between the dates of April 25 and May 8.  

To be eligible for the grand prize drawings each person registers at any weighing location and lose at least five percent of their registered starting weight. An additional entry can be earned for every five percent of weight that is lost (10 percent = two entries, 15 percent = three entries) up to a maximum of four entries. The randomly selected winners of the new cars during the first three years of Lighten Up East Texas each lost less than 10 percent of their starting weight, which was between nine and 15 pounds for each person. The first two winners were both over the age of 60, and one of last year’s winners was an 18-year old high school student. On average each of these prize winners lost less than one pound per week.

Participation within Lighten Up East Texas can be performed on an individual basis and/or by recruiting individuals to create a weight loss team of up to a maximum of eight people.  Team registration into Lighten Up East Texas can provide friendly competition at a workplace, between family members who may live in different East Texas cities, or among groups of friends who enjoy the motivation and accountability.  Data collected from the first three years of Lighten Up East Texas show a statistical significance among persons on a team achieving a higher percentage of weight loss compared to registered individual participants.

Lighten Up East Texas is also promoting team participation within Walk Across Texas, a free initiative that is offered by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agency and by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services. Walk Across Texas challenges teams of eight people to dedicate eight consecutive weeks and to collectively walk 830 miles, or the distance from Texarkana to El Paso. Successful completion of Walk Across Texas means that each team member is required to walk (jog, run or dog-walk) a minimum of 1.85 miles per day, which is the same as eight laps around the track of a football field.

Any company in East Texas and any community organization can become a registration location, as long as there is at least one reliable weight scale and there are employees and/or volunteers that will collect all completed registration forms. The location can provide weekly or monthly weigh-ins for persons registered. Some groups also provide their own pool of prizes that are available only to persons who register at their location.

Great success is seen at school campuses, where the school/district nurse or PTA members led the recruitment process.  Private companies, non-profit organizations and community groups have also held registration for Lighten Up East Texas for their employees and for their customers and volunteers.  Any business (non-profit or for-profit) that is interested in becoming a registration location should email their request to

Learn where you can find your closest registration location by visiting

Edit Module

We encourage you to post thoughtful and respectful comments on our stories and to share them through your favorite social networks.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags