ISU student with local tie to appear on ‘The Biggest Loser’
Special to The Jefferson Herald
An Iowa State University student who battled childhood obesity but has since lost 50 pounds will appear on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” at 7 p.m. today as a youth ambassador for healthy living.
“I completely changed my lifestyle,” said Allie Lansman, 20, a junior from Fort Dodge majoring in dietetics. “I used to be completely sedentary. I don’t know if anyone in my family knows how to use a gym. I added exercise. I just did workout videos and then I take walks, and I love to bike.”
Lansman’s mother, Angie Petersen, owns Angie’s Tea Garden on Jefferson’s Square.
Lansman appears on the reality weight-loss show as one of four youth ambassador “change agents” from the National 4-H Healthy Living Management Team.
The students are there as former “Biggest Loser” finalist Joseph Ostaszewski finishes a 2,937-mile cross-country bicycle ride called Riding it Forward.
The ride — which starts at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md., and ends at the Biggest Loser Ranch in Calabasas, Calif. — aims to reduce childhood obesity by inspiring children to live active and healthy lives.
“He was a ‘Biggest Loser’ finalist on season 14,” Lansman said of Ostaszewski, who lost 147 pounds in six months. “That was the season that was on when I was losing my weight. So I really connected with him. ‘The Biggest Loser’ loved that because I had that connection with him.”
Lansman said she was always teased about her weight in school. Through better nutrition and exercise, she reduced her weight from 171 to 120 pounds.
She’s gone from a size 16 to a size 6 — and can sometimes even fit in a size 4.
“It’s the best choice I ever made,” Lansman said. “One of the biggest things was nutrition. I ate the wrong foods. I ate so much food. A lot of that was because my mom owns a restaurant in Jefferson. I would go on a frenzy anytime I went there. She’s an amazing cook but we weren’t watching ourselves.
“Portion control became a huge aspect in my life. The food scale has become my friend.”
The move toward a healthier lifestyle was a family affair.
Petersen, who owns Angie’s Tea Garden, joined Lansman in the journey and also lost 50 pounds.
Lansman decided to major in dietetics so she can combine her passion for nutrition with her desire to help others. She hopes to become a registered dietitian, specializing in counseling people who are overweight.
“I want to help people who have an issue with obesity and I want to work with weight management,” she said. “I want to be able to hold these people’s hands and say, ‘I’ve been through exactly what you’re going through. I know how you feel.’ ”