The Lighten Up East Texas celebration and prize ceremonies will be 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. today on the patio of Brookshire's FRESH, 6991 Old Jacksonville Highway.

This is the second year the Fit City Challenge Coalition has sponsored the event.

The Fit City Challenge was established during the summer of 2010, joining numerous city and county officials, nonprofit organizations, agencies and health professionals to make the city a healthier one.

Series of health messages, fitness opportunities and weight loss challenges are the visible efforts of the campaign.

Organizers said the goal for the contest is to encourage East Texans to make better choices, including participating in regular physical activity.

"The mission for the second year was accomplished in that we have more people that returned to weigh out," said Terrence Ates, an event organizers. "More people accepted the challenge."

LUET participants were entered into a grand prize drawing for every 5 percent of weight lost, tracked from an official weigh-in at the start of the contest and the official weigh-out at the end of the challenge.

The grand prize drawing is a 2014 Dodge Dart, donated by Allen Samuels Tyler. Other prizes include four $1,000 Brookshire's gift cards, redeemable at any Brookshire's or Super1Foods grocery stores. Smaller prizes will also be randomly selected from returning participants who lost less than 5 percent of their starting weight.

The random grand prize drawings were held June 6. The selected finalists have been contacted and will receive their grand prize at the celebration event.

During the celebration, participants will have a chance to sign the Fit City banner, win door prizes, enjoy refreshments and hear live music from the Tuxedo Cats.

Event organizers will announce the winners of the Inspiration Awards, given to people who have inspired others to get fit.

They also will unveil the total number of pounds lost.

"There were a larger number of people from schools across the region and we have people from different cities and counties than last year," Ates said. "So, we have a better outreach."

Last year, participants lost 4,321.65 pounds, with 578 individuals weighing out. Of those weighing out, 473, or 81.8 percent, recorded a weight loss.

To help participants on their journey, they could get the help of a wellness action team, as well as the resources pages on LUET's website.

Ates said people who don't win a grand prize still could win door prizes, which are $25, $50, and $100 Brookshire's gift certificates.

"That's for anyone who attends," he said. "They don't have to be a LUET participant."

Attendees may also get inspired.  

"They'll hear other people's stories — how they decided to live healthier, whether they lost weight or not."



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