35 pounds lighter, she’s on her way to Los Angeles and better health

Former Biggest Loser contestant Jesse Atkins announces grand-prize winner JoAnn Buck of Burnsville, an employee of the University of Minnesota.

The Biggest Loser Minnesota Challenge helped JoAnn Buck lose weight and win the competition’s grand prize drawing

JoAnn Buck of Burnsville, an employee of the University of Minnesota’s Pediatric Urology Clinic, lost 35 pounds during the Biggest Loser Minnesota Challenge and won the competition’s grand prize drawing, a trip to see The Biggest Loser Season 11 finale in Los Angeles, California. This spring, JoAnn joined in the Minnesota Challenge, among 22,000 other Minnesotans, earning points for exercise, nutrition and weight loss.

The recently completed Biggest Loser Minnesota Challenge is sponsored by the Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota. Twenty-two thousand Minnesotans joined the free statewide wellness competition with their coworkers, friends and family and lost a total of 76,048 pounds.

JoAnn before losing 35 pounds during the Biggest Loser Minnesota Challenge.

Participants in the twelve-week competition also earned points for time and intensity of exercise, and making healthy nutrition choices such as eating adequate servings of vegetables and high fiber or whole grain foods. Together, participants earned 27,749,925 nutrition points and exercised 383,807 hours — the time it would take to walk around the earth 46 times.

“The Biggest Loser Minnesota Challenge really helped to hold me accountable. I don’t have [The Biggest Loser trainers] Bob or Jillian to keep me accountable, but seeing my progress from week to week online pushed me to stay focused,” Buck says. “I set smaller goals, like losing 10 pounds per month. I want to do it slowly and steadily so I don’t set myself up to fail.”

Participants who earned a spot in the top 1,000 in each category (weight, nutrition and exercise) were entered in a drawing to win a trip to see The Biggest Loser Season 11 Finale in Los Angeles or one of four one-year memberships to Snap Fitness.

“Watching the contestants on The Biggest Loser has helped encourage me,” Buck says. “I learned some exercises and healthy recipes while watching the show to change up my routine and help keep me motivated.”

The grand prize includes two tickets to the finale; JoAnn will be bringing her 36-year-old daughter of LaCrosse, Wisconsin. The visit to Los Angeles will be a first for both of them and they’re planning to make the most of it. “I’m absolutely ecstatic that I get to watch the finale live,” says Buck. “It’s an incredible prize; the trip to California is going to be fantastic!”

The Minnesota Challenge is the second wellness competition offered by the Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota. During summer 2010, with the help of General Mills, the Alliance developed a relationship with NBC’s The Biggest Loser. A pilot wellness competition called the Biggest Loser Summer Challenge brought 10,000 employees of the Alliance member companies together to shed more than 37,000 pounds, exercise 16 million minutes and earn millions of nutrition points by making healthy food choices. The Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota’s Biggest Loser Challenge competitions are web-based and powered by RedBrick Health.


The Alliance is an employer-driven organization that uses competitions, entertainment and information to create community-wide campaigns that encourage Minnesotans to eat better and move more. Alliance member companies include: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Cargill, General Mills, Medica, Medtronic, The Midwest Dairy Association, Target, UnitedHealth Group and the Minnesota Department of Health’s Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP). Learn more at HealthierMN.com.

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