Weight loss challenger Joey Goodwin is way out in front of nine other competitors after Friday’s first weigh-in of the 12-week contest at The Fitness Center.

Goodwin’s beginning weight was 278.6 pounds, and after the first week of the competition, he slimmed down to 261 pounds - a whopping total loss of 17.6 pounds. The percentage of body weight lost was 6.32.

Johnny Huffman is in second place with a loss of six pounds - a percentage loss of 3.07.

Close on Huffman’s heels in third place is Traci Riggs, with a loss of four pounds and a weight percentage loss of 2.38.

Goodwin attributed his success to running every day and eating lots of grilled chicken and vegetables.

“I am trying. It’s about what I expected, but I worked out pretty hard this week,” Goodwin said.

Goodwin explained that because school was out for bad weather he had more time than usual to work out.

“I had two days off from teaching for weather so I worked out more,” Goodwin said. “I’m running about a mile and a half every day and I think that helps out the most.”

Goodwin said he enjoys running and has been a runner in the past.

He also said his wife and daughter are basically eating the same way he is except that they might put barbeque sauce on the grilled chicken or cheese on a salad.

“I’m not allowing myself those little extras,” Goodwin said.

Goodwin said the only difference he has noticed so far is that his pants might fit a little better, “but not much.”

The contestant who loses the largest percentage of their starting weight will receive the following grand prize package:

One-year membership to The Fitness Center; Treadmill, courtesy of Wal-Mart SuperCenter, valued at $400; A full-day spa package including massage and hairstyle, courtesy of LaBella Day Spa. A $100 gift basket tailor made for a man or woman, courtesy of Amy Looby, independent beauty consultant for Mary Kay Cosmetics; Five cases of diet drinks and three T-shirts courtesy of Dublin Dr Pepper;

None of the above prizes can be exchanged for their cash value.

The contest is sponsored by the Empire-tribune, Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital and The Fitness Center.

ANGELIA JOINER is a staff writer for the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at angelia.joiner@empiretribune.com or (254) 965-3124, ext. 229.