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Biggest Loser program offers cash incentive for weight loss
Biggest Loser
Contestants Lala Vasquez and Sharon Cathcart participate in the first weigh-in for Biggest Loser Turlock's eight week weight loss challenge on Monday afternoon. - photo by BROOKE BORBA / The Journal

Lala Vasquez has made great strides in trying to keep her weight in check, but feels there is certainly room for improvement. The active grandmother and cosmetic sales representative is a returning contestant for Biggest Loser Turlock’s “Get in Shape for Summer Challenge,” a program designed for weight loss and cash prize incentives.

Though Vasquez is a strong individual, her prior weight loss efforts were defeated when she had to deal with a sad stroke of misfortune the last time she had signed up for the event. Vasquez was troubled with the news of her son’s death, which prolonged her eagerness to continue the program at that time.

Despite being in mourning, Vasquez had lost five pounds that steadily stayed off throughout the course of the program. This time, she attributes the need to lose weight in order to be closer with her young grandchildren.

“It is important for me to lose weight this time. I’m being a lot more persistent. I’m a grandmother and a mother looking forward to life,” said Vasquez. “The point is to get healthier. I have grandchildren, and I want to do my part to look after them and be with them.”

Instead of dwelling in the past, Vasquez hopes to move forward, and is utilizing the competition as a new start. She hopes to lose at least 30 pounds, and believes that having a strong attitude makes all the difference.

 “Never give up,” said Vasquez. “It really isn’t that hard if you are intentional about losing the weight. I don’t want to be complacent. I want to move forward.”

Her goals are not out of reach. The 10 week program from January to March accounted that at least four contestants who lost over 50 pounds for their efforts. Vasquez hopes to join their ranks through the eight week spring program, and better herself and her family.

Despite her busy lifestyle as the head of a family, Vasquez took control of her schedule and has made time for exercise. She has decided to join West Side Ministries' Zumba course, which she believes will be the key to winning the grand prize. She also looks forward to the weekly encouragements sent out by the Biggest Loser representatives for “accountability,” and warns the rest of the competition to “watch out.”

Vasquez is no stranger to tough competitions. In fact, she stands her ground as a fierce competitor, and was previously ranked 3rd place in past challenges. But just like any other competition, Vasquez must compete against other hopefuls, which could be anywhere from 80 to 100 other contestants, according to Biggest Loser Turlock spokesperson Darla Dahlquist.

“But the payout is worth it,” Vasquez said.

Last year, first place winner Nathan Ayala won $1,250 after losing 23.7 percent of his body fat during the 10 week New Year’s Challenge.

The friendly competition allows local residents a chance to track their progress through weekly weigh-ins with cash incentives and continual support. For more information, visit