E. Tenn. woman keeps off pounds, pockets $50K

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

KNOXVILLE (WVLT) -- An East Tennessee grandmother's weight-loss has made her healthier and wealthier.

Phyllis Stewart, 51, has shed 77 lbs over the last four years, an accomplishment that was recently recognized when she won $50,000 in the Internet-based Million Dollar Body Game.

Not she is a finalist for the $250,000 grand-prize.

"I had no earthly idea that I would even have a chance at winning," Stewart said as she worked out by throwing some punches.

Now she is one of eight finalists sweating it out on MillionDollarBody.com, a Website that judges tens of thousands of physical transformations.

"It's an online support system for someone who wants to get healthy and lose weight," she said.

It only cost $2.99 to join, and thanks to her 30 minute work-outs, six times each week, Phyllis has gone from 216 lbs to 139 lbs, and lost over 50 inches.

"Back in 2003, the doctor told me I was severely obese and my mother had just passed away from a heart attack," she said.

Which motivated her to quit smoking and start spending more time in front her television than ever before.

"I applied for the competition in March 2007 and I was the winner for my age category," she said.

That earned her $50,000, and put her in the running for the much larger prize of $250,000.

"I'm pretty excited, hopefully she can buy me something," said Phyllis's son Danny, who thinks his mom has inspired the whole family. "She used to be real shy and she never talk to anybody. Now, she just has so much confidence. She'll go up to anybody."

The Stewart family living room is now practically a gym, complete with an elliptical machine and treadmill.

"I don't know what age I'll slow down," she said, "and I don't know that I will."

To Phyllis, exercise more of a lifestyle than a hobby, because thanks to a contest, she can call herself a winner by losing.

We will know if she won next Friday.

Stewart already plans to take her whole family on vacation to Mexico.

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