Hometown Heroes Battle of the Bulge in Bolivar

BOLIVAR, Mo. -- At the start of this year, an Ozarks community committed to taking on a hefty challenge.

The goal was for everyone in the Polk County Community Weight Loss Challenge to lose 6 pounds in 6 weeks.

At a week and a half in, Charity Rone is changing her life for the better -- one step at a time.

"I've been heavy my whole life," she says. "My weight has always been a challenge for me."

She's had her share of weight loss programs in the past, but this time hundreds of others are in it with her.

"We text back and forth of, 'Oh my gosh this and this and this happened,' and 'I feel so stressed out and all I want to do is eat a cinnamon roll.'"

Mark Stepp says he's no longer alone when stepping on the scales.

"Doing it individually, you can get down on yourself," he says. "You can get disappointed at some results and as a team you help each other."

 And it's the teamwork that's paying off.

"I just feel more energetic. More stamina. I can go to bed. I can sleep better."

"We've already had 36 sign up just at our facility," says Dr. Sonja O'Bryan. She works for one of the 20 employers signed up for the challenge. "We know that if we have healthy staff members, we have a healthy business."

The Polk County Live Well Alliance and Citizens Memorial Healthcare Foundation teamed up to help businesses cover the cost for the challenge.

"Businesses that can't afford an on-site person to manage their wellness program can partner with this alliance. We'll give them the resources they need," says Lesa Stock with Citizens Memorial.

For challengers like Charity, the program is proving its worth. She's already shed five pounds in one week and if it's up to her, toes will go from treadmill to beach in no time.

"I have a vacation coming up in a year and a half and I need to look great for that vacation."

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