SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The first thing "Biggest Loser" television participant Tara Costa and Slippery Rock University exercise science professors want people to know is her success is not just about weight loss. It's about making healthy lifestyle changes.
Costa, a "Biggest Loser" Season 7 finalist who lost 155 pounds in 18 months, will share her story of ultimate success when she speaks at SRU at 5 and 8 p.m. Feb. 13 in the Smith Student Center Ballroom. The lectures are free.
SRU student groups representing a variety of wellness programs will healthy-lifestyle provide pointers, setting up 10 information booths outside the ballroom. They will provide information about SRU's Exercise is Medicine initiative, yoga and Zumba classes, eating healthy snacks, practicing safe sex and pursuing spiritual wellness, said Jeff Lynn, associate professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences.
"One of the major outcomes at SRU is, number one, building awareness on this campus that we make choices every day that have both short and longer influence on our health and wellness," Lynn said. "We ultimately are in control of those choices. The first step in making healthy changes is becoming aware of our daily choices and taking control."
"Students will be adding energy to the event," Lynn added.
Costa shows that when there's a will, there's a way. Costa began her journey at 294 pounds in September 2008. That's when she began receiving treatment at the "Biggest Loser," a camp that helps contestants change their fitness and eating habits. Doctors, nutritionists, counselors and exercise specialists worked with Costa and other campers to implement healthy lifestyle changes that result in weight loss.
During her 18 weeks at camp, Costa never once "fell below the yellow line," which the show uses to oust contestants who lose the least amount of weight.
Costa won a record-setting eight challenges, the most in show history. Not only did she make show history, she pulled a car during one challenge, demonstrating shear determination. After 18 weeks at camp, she returned in May 2009 for the show's season finale. She weighed 155 pounds.
After the show, Costa founded The Tara Costa Inspire Change Foundation, which promotes a healthy lifestyle by encouraging Americans to embrace positive changes. She is a frequent triathlon competitor.
Costa, who has been featured on the cover of Good Housekeeping and Ok Magazine and appeared on the "Dr. Oz Show," will share her story of personal change when she speaks at SRU, said Lynn.
"Tara exemplifies what is possible when someone creates a vision and becomes dedicated to healthy change" Lynn said. Her passion is to help people by inspiring them to make healthy changes. It had such a dramatic effect on her life. People are always talking about paying it forward."
Costa's example ties in with the many wellness initiatives at SRU and President Cheryl Norton's example, Lynn said. "President Norton is truly a champion for making healthy lifestyle choices, so this is a great time for the Slippery Rock community to embrace these themes," he said.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.