By Chris Fish
BREVARD -- Since the beginning of the year, 100 residents from across the county have been working to achieve their ideal body.
But months of competition came to an end on Saturday, June 29, when the biggest "loser" was announced.
Michael Pepe of Palm Bay lost 80 pounds in this year's "I'm Losing It 2013" -- Brevard's biggest and best weight-loss contest.
"It was really great to see someone stick it out to the very end," said Kyle Hendry, marketing coordinator for Nature's Market in Melbourne, which served as the host of "I'm Losing It 2013."
Mr. Pepe won a two-night stay at the Hilton Rialto Place in Melbourne for his efforts.
For the fourth year, Nature's Market hosted the competition. This year, the competition became bigger and better, as "I'm Losing It 2013" added the new "Battle of the Gyms" element to the contest.
Within the battle, gyms, including Planet Fitness of Melbourne, Sunbay Fitness of Melbourne, Sunbay Fitness of Viera, Anytime Fitness of Melbourne, Elite Fitness in Palm Bay, Maximum Fitness in Palm Bay and Beach Bodies Fitness in Indialantic, competed to see which could sign the most contestants.
The winning gym was Elite Fitness in Palm Bay, which won the "Battle of the Gyms" trophy and bragging rights for its contributions, Mr. Hendry said.
Mr. Hendry said the competition began as an idea based upon the television show "The Biggest Loser."
The second-biggest loser was Meg Price, who lost 32 pounds. The third-biggest loser was her husband, James Price, who lost 21 pounds.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Price received free beach-cruisers for their weight loss, and Mr. Hendry said the couple did not belong to a gym and lost the weight on their own.
The free-to-participate contest kicked off Jan. 26 with a fun walk from the Hilton Rialto to Nature's Market. There, the contestants were weighed and received an "I'm Losing It" diet book. After the weigh-in, they walked back to the hotel.
Then, the contestants worked out and weighed in every week of the contest, along with various walking and running events that were held.
Contestants also received free cooking classes from lucysinthekitchen.com, a website that shares the culinary secrets of Lucy Hendry, who manages the café at Nature's Market.
Nature's Market is located at 701 S. Apollo Blvd. in Melbourne.