H-E-B's first Community Slim Down Showdown on FB encourages 956 lost pounds across 24 dieters

SAN ANTONIO — Over the past four months, 24 contestants from across Texas have been working hard to adopt healthy habits and shed pounds, and on Sunday H-E-B named Alison Spangler from San Antonio as the $10,000 grand-prize winner of its first-ever Community Slim Down Showdown competition.

Alison lost 48 lbs and slimmed down from a size 24 to a size 16. A graphic design teacher at John Paul Stevens High School, Alison said her lifestyle has changed completely since she began the competition in June.

“Before, I wasn’t doing anything at all. Zero. Now I exercise every day,” she said.

Over the four-month challenge, the 24 contestants lost a total of 956 lbs and showed off their healthier frames to hundreds of cheering supporters in an emotional makeover reveal ceremony at Pearl Stable on Sunday. In addition to weight loss, the contestants improved their health numbers significantly — total cholesterol for the group dropped by 804 points.

Applications for the 2013 Slim Down Showdown are now being accepted through Oct. 21 at HEB.com/slimdown.

H-E-B determined the overall winner using three metrics: overall health and weight loss, participation and fan engagement. 

Lorena Flournoy, a school social worker from Austin, won the $5,000 “fan favorite” prize rewarding the contestant who was able to engage the most online activity and chatter on their blog — Lorena lost 53 lbs during the competition and garnered nearly 32,000 likes, shares and comments on her blog.

Overall, the contestants penned more than 1,300 blogs, attracting a quarter of a million page views and 63,000 comments.

On Sunday, H-E-B president Craig Boyan decided to also reward the contestant with the most dramatic weight loss and health results. Reuben Ybarra, a public health nurse from Victoria, was named a “Healthy Hero” and won $3,000 for losing 85 lbs.

“I was so inspired,” Boyan said. “It’s not easy to share yourself and expose yourself in that way. We are really proud of our contestants. We think they are ambassadors for the state of Texas and H-E-B.”

The contest began in June with an intensive, 4.5-day wellness seminar in San Antonio with experts from H-E-B, Methodist Healthcare and the Cooper Aerobics Center. Each contestant received a full health screening and learned about nutrition, how to control portions and how much exercise their body needs to stay healthy.