Want to lose weight, gain confidence and be healthier overall?

If so, then the fourth annual Biggest Winner contest could help change your life.

Blue Mountain Health System's fitness center, Healthworks Health and Wellness Center, located in the Carbon Plaza Mall, Lehighton, is hosting the annual event as a way to promote choosing healthy food and becoming more physically active. The contest runs from Jan. 2, 2011 through April 2, 2011.

Tim Kocher, certified fitness professional and manager at Healthworks, explained that the program, which is based on the hit TV show, "The Biggest Loser," is designed to help people meet their weight loss goals; learn how to make healthy choices; and become more motivated about fitness.

He said that some past contestants have found motivation through classes and trainers at the gym, while others are able to find enough motivation through just signing up for the competition.

"The first step is getting yourself to make that commitment and set a reasonable goal," Kocher said. "There are trainers available for consultations, as well as to help design the perfect workouts to meet your needs."

He added that it takes six to eight weeks to create a habit, so the program aims to help people take the first step to build a new way of life.

"Sometimes people need a little push. We're here to help you build a habit, which will make it easier in the long run. If you are overweight, have diabetes, or just don't feel comfortable in your skin, small changes in diet and exercise can make all the difference."

Kocher also explained that anyone can join the contest. You do not need to be a member of the gym to join. The only stipulation is that each contestant must complete their initial weigh-in and final weigh-out at Healthworks. Weights of each contestant are kept confidential.

Once a person signs up for the contest, all they have to do is lose weight. There is no set routine of what a contestant must follow, such as diets or exercise programs. That is completely up to them.

At the end of the contest, male and female winners of each division are announced. The divisions include greatest weight lost and greatest percentage of body weight lost. Half the money raised through the competition will be given out as prizes for each division; while the remaining half will be given to local charities of the winners' choices.

Kocher stressed that all contestants must weigh out on or before April 2 to be eligible to win each division.

He added that there has been a very good turnout annually and hopes to see even more people working to become healthier this year.

Last year, a total of 59 area residents competed.

"Remember, today is the first day of the rest of your life," Kocher said. "Help yourself build a healthier lifestyle."

For more information, call Healthworks at (570) 386-8080.