Photo by Shawn Arrajj
Biggest Loser contestant gives back to community
The experience Magnolia resident Mark Cornelison had on season 13 of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” which wrapped May 1, changed his life in ways that go far beyond helping him lose more than 100 pounds. After competing on the show for 15 weeks, Cornelison said he returned to his community charged with inspiration and the desire to help others in the same way the show helped him.
Cornelison, with help from his son Isaac—who was also on the show, and known to viewers as “Chism”—are both working within the community to promote making healthy decisions.
“Anybody can do what we did,” he said. “It’s not just the magic of the TV show. It’s a matter of making the right decisions. That’s the greatest thing I learned from my experience, and that’s the message we want to send.”
The father-son team recently wrapped up a two-week fitness program at the end of May called Weight Fit. It was based out of Faith Bible Church in The Woodlands, where Cornelison serves as youth pastor. The program, which was free to the community, was designed for people who needed a little help getting into a workout routine, Cornelison said.
In addition to sharing the insight he gained from being on “The Biggest Loser,” Cornelison said he wants to create a support system for people in the area—something he said was key to him staying motivated while on the show.
“Making the journey within a community, people in the same place as us, was huge in terms of staying motivated,” he said. “With the Weight Fit program we wanted to create the support [and] the friendships, so people can see that they’re not by themselves. We’re in this process together, and we’re here to help each other.”
The Cornelisons also launched a free web-based program called SweatCor with similar goals. Through their site, www.sweatcor.com, as well as Facebook and Twitter, they seek to create a community of support in addition to spreading their knowledge and answering questions about the show.
Cornelison said his proudest moment on “The Biggest Loser” was when he won the week 13 challenge and was rewarded with the opportunity to give 30,000 pounds of Newman’s Own food products to the Montgomery County Food Bank. The food was delivered to MCFB at a formal press conference May 8 and was valued in excess of $150,000, according to Margie Taylor, MCFB marketing and outreach manager.
“Summer is our neediest time and this has made a huge impact on the Montgomery County Food Bank,” Taylor said. “We are so excited and honored to accept this donation.”
Cornelison said the moment the reward for the challenge was revealed, he knew he was going to win.
“Through my church we have a good connection with the food bank,” he said. “In the past we’ve done food drives and volunteered in other ways. To be able to bring that back to my community was the best thing that could’ve happened.”
Cornelison, who left the show on his own accord in week 15, said his goal was never to win it all.
“Most of [the contestants] really didn’t care about the money,” he said. “You win if you go and you lose weight and get healthy. I was 300 pounds and on different kinds of medication for different issues. Now, I’ve lost 101 pounds and I’m not taking any medicine. That’s winning right there.”