Wilton’s ‘smallest winners’ gained by losing

Jason Dahl of Wilton and Nina Jankauskas of Norwalk are officially Wilton’s “Smallest Winners.” Mr. Dahl took the top spot in the men’s division after losing 14.9% of his body weight, while Ms. Jankauskas was the top woman competitor, losing more than 11% of her body weight.

From April 1 to May 13, 55 Wilton area residents took part in a “Smallest Winner” competition put on by Loryn Galardi and Yuri Petunovs, owners of Comprehensive Nutrition and Wilton Sports & Fitness, respectively.

Competitors were tasked with losing as high a percentage of their body weight as they could over the course of the six-week period, with optional weekly weigh-ins keeping them on track. Each participant received a free six-week membership to Wilton Sports & Fitness as part of the competition, and was able to access nutritional advice from Ms. Galardi.

In the end, three “losers” in both the men’s and women’s division were honored by Ms. Galardi and Mr. Petunovs as Wilton’s smallest.

In the men’s division, after Mr. Dahl, second place went to Phillip Luongo of Norwalk, with a 10.27% loss, and third went to Bruce MacDonald of Wilton, with a 9.09% loss.

In the women’s division, after Ms. Jankauskas, second place went to Sue Dorfman of Wilton (whose weight loss was not disclosed), and third place went to Patty McManus of Wilton, with a 6.71% body weight loss.

Three of the top losers, Mr. Dahl, Ms. Jankauskas, and Mr. Luongo, came to Ms. Galardi’s office on Thursday, May 23, to pick up their special gift bags and to speak about their experience.

For Ms. Jankauskas, the competition was less about losing 10 pounds than it was about making a systematic and intentional change for the better.

“It was a life change. It wasn’t a diet, or just trying to do it for six weeks, it was something where I said, ‘I want to change, and I have the ability to do it.’ I turned everything around for myself,” she said.

As part of her plan, Ms. Jankauskas utilized a 26-day cleanse with supervision by Ms. Galardi. A cleanse works to rid the body of unnecessary toxins by strict control of diet.

Mr. Luongo said his inspiration for joining the competition was about living up to a promise to himself.

“About three years ago, I lost almost 55 pounds. I was at about 220 pounds, and I got down to 165 pounds. I felt great, I looked a lot better. But then a year later, my son was born. Slowly, five pounds here, 10 pounds there, and I was back to 210 pounds, somewhere I always said I never wanted to be again,” he said.

“I want to be there for my son. I don’t want my weight to keep getting higher and higher, and having my health get worse and worse.”

Ms. Galardi said people who really enjoyed the weekly weigh-ins were the most successful competitors.

“The people that were successful were the ones that really liked that competitiveness,” she said. “If you are of that nature, this is a really good thing for you to do, especially if you’re doing it with someone you know.”

The men’s winner, Mr. Dahl, agreed that the competitive nature of the competition made it a great motivational force.

“The competitive aspect of the event was very motivating, and it helped you make the right choices,” he said. “That and the support of friends and family made it a lot easier.”

By the end of the competition, all of the competitors said an increased feeling of well-being was palpable.

“Three years ago, I was on blood pressure medication, diabetes medication. I saw this downward spiral — I was already on acid reflux meds and had sleep apnea,” Mr. Luongo said. “My wife had to fall asleep before me, because my snoring was so loud.”

Now that he’s beginning to lose that weight again, he’s starting to feel as if those problems are going away.

The top three “losers” in both the men’s and women’s division received prizes donated by Wilton area companies, including head shots by Simplicity HeadShots, Wilton Sports & Fitness memberships, Naked Greens gift certificates, Triloma haircuts, Village Market certificates, Mama Cat tea bags, ComplexionPerfexion treatments, Jade Activewear certificates, and yoga lessons from FitYoga.

Ms. Galardi’s business, Comprehensive Nutrition, offers private and individual health and wellness and nutritional counseling and education as well as many classes, including Restyle Your Lifestyle!, the 28-day Cleanse and Detox Workshop, the Seven-Day Jumpstart, and the HEALTH*i*FIT Program.

Wilton Sports & Fitness is at 644 Danbury Road in Wilton and offers a family-friendly athletics and fitness environment that includes an indoor turf field and a gymnastics floor.