To raise awareness about the dangers of high cholesterol, Newport Beach-based Fit Foods 4 Life is helping three women shed unhealthy pounds while raising money for local charities.
Fit Foods 4 Life celebrated the grand opening of its Westcliff location on Wednesday with the kick-off for its 28-Day Charity Weightloss Challenge. The challenge coincides with September's designation of Cholesterol Awareness Month, and was created to educate the community about how high cholesterol can lead to heart disease, diabetes and cancer, which are the three leading causes of death in America.
The challenge centers around three contestants -- Consuelo Rodriguez ,55, Darlene Gardner, 48, and Cristina Lopez, 25 -- who are eager to live a healthier lifestyle. While the contestants each have a personal weight loss goal, they also have a special bond with their respective charities. Lopez, an event coordinator for the American Heart Association, recently battled thyroid cancer and was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes.
Fit Foods 4 Life will donate money to the three charities based on the contestants' success, with $50 per pound loss to the winner's charity and $25 per pound loss to the other two charities.
"What really got be motivated to be a part of this is that I'm getting married in a year, so I am shedding for the wedding," Lopez said. "This has been the motivator, this is kickstarting everything and getting me back to a healthier and more fit lifestyle."
Rodriguez, who is representing the American Diabetes Association, was inspired to participate in the challenge because of her son who has Type I Diabetes.
"It's important that I get healthy," Rodriguez said. "People in our community can get up everyday and face these dreaded diseases. They are my role models, they are truly my heroes. If they can do it, then I can get up everyday and get healthy."
Gardner, who is representing the Don't Worry, Be Happy Foundation which provides financial support to cancer patients who cannot afford treatments through donations and sales of their T-shirts, says she has battled with her weight throughout her life and has decided to change her eating habits.
"I want to live a healthier lifestyle. We all have these pity parties, 'oh I'm 20 pounds overweight', but you have to pay it forward," Gardner, owner of Antonia's Shoes in Corona del Mar, said. "That is what it is all about."
During the 28-Day Charity Weightloss Challenge the contestants will be working out with personal trainers at Equinox Gym, where they receive a free membership for one month and also taking yoga and spinning classes at YAS Fitness. They will also receive meals from Fit Foods 4 Life, where chefs prepare fresh foods ready to eat that are nutritious, preservative-free, never frozen and full of vitamins.
"Fit Foods 4 Life was started to help people lose weight and help control their lives," founder John Allan. "It's so hard to eat properly, we set this up for easy use. Get a quick meal and eat healthy and easily instead of going to McDonald's."
Former Real Housewives of Orange County Lynne Curtin, who exercises faithfully, attended the weight loss challenge kick-off party to support her friend who coordinated the store's grand opening.
"My friend Angie just lost 80 pounds and now she is so fit and works out everyday," Curtin said. "I'm so proud of her and she is an inspiration for everybody."
If you are interested in joining the weight loss challenge, stop by Fit Foods 4 Life to sign-up. Fit Foods will donate $2 per pound loss during the 28 days to the charity of the person's choice.
On Oct. 6 the contestants will hit the scales once again and reveal their final weight loss results. Fit Foods 4 Life is located at 2043 Westcliff Drive in Newport Beach. For more information, call 949-722-3663 or visit fitfoods4life.com.