Man's solo weight-loss mission become a community-wide effort

Man's solo weight-loss mission become a community-wide effort

CREATED Jul. 31, 2012

Reporter: Corinne Hautala

BENSON, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - The community of Benson is ralling behind a group working to shed off some unwanted pounds.  

About a dozen people, in Benson, are gathering daily for a morning walk and about 20 additional people are taking part in a friendly competition to lose weight.

The walkers and the competition started with Derek Ausseresses.  He said he posted his weight loss goals on Facebook.  He told 9OYS he thought it would be a good way to stick to his plan, knowing his friends on Facebook would hold him accountable, but that single post spiraled into something much bigger.

 “I started receiving e-mails and messages saying ‘I need help too,’” explained Ausseresses.

Stunned and encouraged by the response, Derek invited those who emailed him; to join him on his morning walk, which he was doing solo.

About a dozen walkers showed up at 4:45 a.m.

Robin Fenn, Ausseresses’ former teacher, was one of those who showed up.

“I have seven grandchildren right now,” said Fenn, “I want to be able to play with them. I want to be able to go on walks and hikes and not have to stop.”

To continue to motivate those who joined him in his daily walk, Ausseresses came up with a way to increase the work-out intensity.  He created the Thousand Pound Club.  It is a competition made-up of 20 people broken up into two teams.  The goal is to have both teams lose a total of 1,000 lbs.

“We’ll have a final weigh-in and then we're going to do prizes,” explained Ausseresses.  “Local businesses have started to donate money.”

Frontier Fitness in Benson is giving competitors discounts on their membership to the gym and Scott Mayersohn, with Medicine Shoppe in Benson, is giving competitors free nutritional consultations.

“This is one of the reasons I got into this,” explained Mayersohn, “I had struggled with weight my whole life, obesity. I lost 120 lbs. from 1993 to 94 so I wanted to give back.”

Ausseresses is now planning a community-wide fitness day on Sept. 15.  

“I love our small town,” he smiled.  “I love our community and we're all really pulling together caring this burden together.”