ORTING — Kim Whitlock started to lose weight as a personal mission. But her success ended up inspiring an entire town. The 46-year-old Orting woman has lost 166 pounds since about 2005. When Whitlock's neighbors heard that she was going on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" to talk about her experience, they not only decided to...
ORTING — Kim Whitlock started to lose weight as a personal mission. But her success ended up inspiring an entire town.
The 46-year-old Orting woman has lost 166 pounds since about 2005. When Whitlock’s neighbors heard that she was going on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to talk about her experience, they not only decided to throw a party around the broadcast — they started a townwide fitness campaign.
Whitlock and more than 30 other Orting residents gathered Tuesday at DeSanto’s Restaurant and Pub to watch her TV appearance and launch a campaign called “Get Fit Orting.”
City officials came to tell residents how the local Foothills Trail system could help them reach their fitness goals, while local gyms offered free workout opportunities for residents participating in the fitness challenge.
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Meanwhile, friends congratulated Whitlock on her progress and showered her with goodies like a $115 gift certificate for a local hair salon and free Zumba classes through the city parks department.
Whitlock said she lost the weight by taking walks every day, rain or shine. She also uses a treadmill she has in her spare bedroom.
“I was slowly becoming disabled by my weight,” she remembered. “I couldn’t even mow my lawn.”
When she told “The Oprah Winfrey Show’s” producers about her journey in an e-mail, they invited her to come to Chicago and shoot a segment for the show last month.
“It was the thrill of a lifetime,” Whitlock said. “She treated me and my mom like queens. She put me up in a hotel, bought me new sexy shoes. It was just a whirlwind.”
Whitlock plans to lead weekly support groups for people who pledge to lose weight as part of “Get Fit Orting.”
Rhonda Madison, executive director of the Orting Chamber of Commerce, said she hopes people in town are inspired by Whitlock to reach their own personal goals.
“This is a huge achievement,” Madison said. “How rare for someone to achieve this in our city, let alone be featured on national television. Anytime we can capitalize on the good things happening in Orting, we will.”