AMHERST - Over three months, a group of online motivators lost a total of 1,036 pounds.
Because of the success of the 'I am BIG and need a PUSH' Facebook group, creator Kim Marks is continuing with the page and has started another contest.
"I can't believe how well this has gone," said Marks, who had reservations about the group after first creating it on Jan. 3.
"I thought people might think (the group) was insulting and I didn't want them to think that, so I was going to close it."
She changed her mind after seeing 10 people in the group that same day. Now, the group has 287 members.
Over the next four months, Marks will have another contest to see who can lose the most weight.
"We have 32 people signed up so far, but I think there will be more to sign up," she said Friday afternoon.
During the first contest, Marks lost 15 pounds. She said there were 70 members that sent her their weight loss numbers on a weekly basis, which were then shared with the group.
By losing the most weight (43 pounds) in the first contest, Melodie Haynes-Fraser won $50 (two $25 donations - one each from Janet Laurie and F&K Computers), a print or photo of her choice by local artist Diana 'Vertis' McIsaac, and a one-month membership to JC's TaeKwon-Do.
"She came in to pick up her prize today and she looks amazing," said Marks about Haynes-Fraser.
Although she originally had thought about closing the group, Marks said she will never shut it down.
"It's just to have fun, share our stories and recipes, and to give each other a boost whenever we're down. It's good motivation," said Marks.
Marks added she's been getting messages from people from all over the world, including Florida, Australia and England, saying how the group is inspiring people from outside Cumberland County.