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Supper ascends to 2nd place with 29 pounds lost

by Sara Hacking,

Staff Writer

The 8-month-old son in Mark Supper's arms represents nearly the amount of weight that Bethany Supper has lost during the Wadena's Biggest Loser contest.

"How was I walking around with all that extra weight on?" Supper commented about the weight she has lost. "When I carry him now it's like ... I can't believe I weighed this much more two months ago."

Supper has lost 29 pounds since the initial weigh-in March 3.

She credits the Wadena's Biggest Loser contest with her weight loss success as she approaches the final month of the competition.

"It's kept me on track," she said. "Without this competition I know I would have quit."

Supper has chronicled her weight loss with journal entries printed in the Pioneer Journal. The journal has been an honest look at the challenges she has faced in developing a healthy lifestyle for herself and her family. She has also written about the new-found confidence and energy revealed by her drop in pounds. And most importantly for Supper, she shared her past struggle with anorexia and bulimia in the April 12 issue of the PJ.

The desire to reveal her high school eating disorder was one of the main reasons she volunteered to chronicle her weight loss in the PJ, she said. Sharing her battle with anorexia and bulimia was extremely helpful.

"It was nice to get it off my shoulders," she said. "I really kept it very secret."

Many of her family members were not aware Supper had an eating disorder when she was younger, she said. She wanted to write about it because she knows local people who have eating disorders.

"It's pretty common around here," she said. "People may not think that it is, but it is. And it's not just my age either, it's any age. It's something that I did, [but] it's not something that I'm proud of."

Supper has received some response to the journal, but thinks people are afraid to talk to her about the subject, she said.

"If someone does feel 'I'm anorexic or I'm bulimic,' I don't want them to be shy about talking to me about that kind of thing," she said.

There are better ways to become thin, she said. She wants people to know that even if means writing about her life.

"In a way it's like I want to keep things to myself," she said. "But on the other hand, it's going to help somebody if I'll be honest about some things."

She always felt sick and had no energy when she had an eating disorder, she said. Now that she is eating right she has a lot of energy.

People she doesn't know have commented to her about the journal, Supper said.

"I went to [my sister-in-law's] day care one day and this one lady came up to me and she was like 'you're doing so good, you look so much better,'" Supper recalled. "I was like, I don't even know you but thank you so much."

It's nice to receive encouragement, she said.

"When people come up to me and say 'wow you're doing so great' that gives me that boost of confidence," she said.

And Supper's revived self-esteem has impacted her life in many ways including how much she enjoys shopping at the mall.

The 19-year-old said she now feels that she can dress like other women in her age group. Before her weight loss, she didn't feel like she could wear the clothes she did when she was younger and had to cover up.

"I felt this was going to be my body forever," Supper recalled. "I've got to look the part of ... a grown-up mom."

And now she can go into a store and buy whatever she wants, she said.

Supper is also proud of herself for sticking with her diet, even though it became really hard right around Easter, she said. She wanted to go out and eat everything she had been craving.

"But I thought about it and this is what I want," she said about her weight loss goals. "Overall, when I'm all done with this competition, I'll be so much happier and so much better feeling about everything."

Supper's husband has played a continuing role in developing her self-confidence.

After the couple started living together, Supper had a relapse with her eating disorder. She realized that she was gaining weight and started to feel bad about it, she said.

"[Mark] just always stepped in and said 'don't do this,' if he did find out," Supper said. "He really talked me into eating and feeling good about myself."

And now that Supper is trying to lose weight, Mark has been very supportive, she said. He has tried Supper's low calorie versions of the couple's favorite recipes and keeps snacks out of the house.

Mark even joins in Supper's Tae Bo workout, she said.

"I try to do it with her so she doesn't feel so alone," he said.

It really helps to have Mark work out with her, she said.

Mark also pointed out how much of an impact Supper's lost weight has had on her ability to live her life.

"One day I told Mark ... how much better I felt, how much energy I had," she said. "And he said 'that's because you're losing all this weight and you're eating healthier.' It really dawned on me then."

Mark is very proud of his wife and her weight loss effort, he said.

"Every morning he wakes up and he says 'I can tell you've lost weight,'" Supper said. "He says 'good job' and 'I'm proud of you.'"

Supper said there are some days she couldn't go on with the competition if Mark wasn't so supportive.

"He's my rock," she said.

Supper has experienced a lot of success with Wadena's Biggest Loser and has been in the top 10 for most of the competition. She continues striving to improve her ranking, however.

"I like being in the top 10," she said. "It's exciting, but at the same time I wish I was number one."

Even though she hasn't reached her goal of taking the number one spot, Supper has already lost more weight than she thought she could.

"Before I started, I thought there's no way I'm going to lose 30 pounds, it's ... not possible," she said.

That goal is only one pound away now.

And she is on her way to accomplishing another important goal -- developing a healthier diet for her young family.

Instead of having an unhealthy attitude toward foods like she did with anorexia and bulimia, Supper has developed a sensible approach to eating. She has reworked favorite recipes to make them lower in calories, tried new recipes and eats a lot of fruit and vegetables. Regular exercise is also an important factor in her new lifestyle.

"I see our family being a lot healthier due to this competition," she said. "We couldn't have done it without the competition. There's no way."

Supper admits to being worried about the final weigh-in June 2, but she's committed to staying focused.

"Before it was upwards hill, now it's downwards," she said about the competition. "I'm going to give it my all these last few weeks. I really am."