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'Biggest Loser' contestants encourage healthful lifestyles

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When Jackie and Dan Evans appeared on the hit NBC show "The Biggest Loser," both were extremely overweight and faced a future of bad health.

The mother-son duo has since shed the weight and adopted a healthful lifestyle, complete with a diet overhaul and increased activity. They take their story on the road as part of The Biggest Loser Run/Walk, a 40-city tour that promotes exercise across all fitness levels. The tour will stop June 29 in Charleston.

And although the Evanses participate in the walk/run, Jackie said she doesn't even really consider herself a runner.

"At this point, I still do not consider myself a runner," she said. "Although, you do say I'm going to a race, I have to get my run in this weekend. I'm a run-walker. I run a little, walk a little, run a little, walk a little.

"There are days I walk a lot and run a very little. But I finish every race. I'm about finishing and celebrating my medal at the finish line."

Pushing herself to exercise and be active was a drastic shift for Jackie, who hated the thought of sweating. Now she competes in half marathons and off-road challenges throughout the year. But before appearing on "The Biggest Loser," the thought of running and exercising for fun was a foreign concept.

"I remember the first time someone told me they were running a half marathon," she said. "I was like ‘what is that?' You run 13.1 miles and I'm like ‘why? What's wrong with your car?' It made absolutely no sense to me.

"That's how foreign activity like that was to me. If I went into the yard to do some yard work, I would be like ‘oh I've got to sit down, I'm about to sweat.' I didn't even want to sweat. I thought that was something going wrong. I'm going sweat. Now today, fast forward five years later. I'm 55 years old and I love run-walking and events and sweating and working out."

Dan Evans said he encourages people to keep an activity — a race, a hike, an off-road challenge — on their calendars at all times so they can think of what is ahead and work toward their fitness goals.

"As your event starts getting closer, take a look at what's next," he said. "We're continually encouraging people to keep those goals in mind, to always have something you're always working for no matter where you are in your fitness journey."

But getting healthy is about more than just exercise, Dan Evans said. A proper diet is a factor, as well.

"It's a two-part combo, it really is," he said.

But the key, they said, is starting slowly and building up.

"Even if it is just that small amount," Dan Evans said. "Today, I'm going to walk to the mail box or walk to the stop sign. I'm going to walk down five mailboxes and my goal next week is to go six mailboxes, the goal is to get your body moving."

And that's the goal of The Biggest Loser Run/Walk series. The event is geared toward all age groups and fitness levels. Online registration for the Charleston event is open through June 26, and information can be found at www.biggestloserrunwalk.com. The race will begin at Haddad Riverfront Park at 9 a.m.

"It's an opportunity for people to come out be involved with the show they've been inspired by, and get with like minded people who are either on their journey, getting started on their journey or a long way down the road on their journey and sharing quite an incredible story," Dan Evans said. "This is a national series going all across the country, sharing that inspiration and brining people together for fun events."