Fit to be gold

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AGE: 44

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Kelly Sanders works out regularly at Gold's Gym in Aiken.  Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Kelly Sanders works out regularly at Gold's Gym in Aiken.

STARTING WEIGHT: 229.6 pounds

REASON FOR PARTICIPATING: "Second half of weight loss toward my goal"

HOBBIES: Reading, biking, going to the beach

HAVE YOU TRIED TO LOSE WEIGHT IN THE PAST? In the past, Sanders and some of her friends trained for a sprint triathalon. But she became discouraged when she did not lose weight at the rate she wanted. She later discovered she was using the wrong diet and exercise routines.

"I decided to hire a professional," she said

Sanders started a ketosis diet in April and began working out with a personal trainer. She weighed more than 275 pounds and lost 60 before the Fit to be Gold contest began. Her diet and workout regimen is similar to what many of the contestants are now following. She entered the contest to help her stay motivated.

What do you feel are your problem areas? "Stomach and thighs"

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE? "Staying on it and really making it a lifestyle change. I'm a benefits manager, so I preached, 'Go and get your preventive (checkups).' I preached, 'Do exercise 20 minutes a day.' I was not (doing) that. I just didn't feel good. I was tired of not feeling good."

HOW WILL YOU OVERCOME IT? "I'm going to overcome it by really thinking about how good I feel. It's taken 10 years to put it on. I'm giving myself a year to take it off."

HOW DO YOU BELIEVE YOUR LIFE WILL CHANGE AFTER THE COMPETITION IS OVER? "I will be a better advocate for wellness. I will be an example to people of how your life can change, and about perseverance and endurance. There is no magic pill. It took many years to put it on. It's not going to come off in a month."

THE DIET: "The diet for me has really opened my eyes to nutrition and how simple nutrition is. By cooking ahead on the weekend, I have a whole week's worth of meals. I pull containers to take wherever I go.

"What I've also found with the diet, is I've found in America, we go out to eat. That's what we do. We meet our friends for dinner. I've discovered that I can have my friends for a walk, or I can bring my own food. It's about being together. It's not about what's on my plate. That's something that, I know we know that, but I've had to learn that again."

Ten contestants are competing to lose the highest percentage of body weight in the Fit to be Gold challenge. We'll profile a contestant weekly until the final weigh-in Dec. 27.

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