NEWS

Still winning for losing

Ryan Ori

Scott Senti is still a loser — and proud of it.

About 2½ years ago, the nation watched Senti and his family melt the pounds on the NBC show "The Biggest Loser Special Edition: The ‘Little Italy Family’ vs. ‘The 1950s Diner Family.’"

Since then, the Senti family of Peoria Heights has seen weight fluctuations. Scott Senti, on the other hand, has defied percentages by keeping off the pounds long-term.

It all goes back to a vow he made after "Biggest Loser" filming ended in September 2005.

"I swore to myself when we walked off the finale of that show that there was no way I was going to get back into the kind of shape I was in," Senti said. "Somebody brought a picture in here the other day. I had on this huge blue shirt, kicked back with my feet up on the chair and my gut sticking out. When I see that picture — little things like that have driven me to stay where I’m at."

Senti, who turns 47 on Friday — July 4 — had more than 270 pounds on his 6-foot-1 frame when the family began training under the watch of NBC cameras in April 2005. Senti, who manages the Maid-Rite restaurant in the Metro Center, reached a low of 190 pounds through exercise and improved eating habits.

These days, his weight stays in the 200-205 range. Senti attributes those additional 10-15 pounds to muscle gradually gained through almost-daily workout sessions.

Despite life-changing improvements, Senti admits his body is no picture of perfection.

"Everybody has that trouble area where it seems like everything settles," Senti said. "Mine is right here in the back. I do have loose skin. I’m pushing 50."

But Senti is proud to provide an example for central Illinoisans in search of significant weight loss.

Senti never found the time to gain certification as a personal trainer, but people often recognize him as the guy from "Biggest Loser" while he works out at World Gym in Peoria. He dispenses practical advice to anyone who approaches him, or for those who send e-mails to sentzeh@hotmail.com.

For those who ask, Senti stresses that permanent lifestyle changes don’t come easy.

He wakes up daily at 3:30 a.m. to do abdominal crunches, pushups and other exercises. After finishing work in the afternoon, he heads straight to the gym for an hour-plus workout combining treadmill, climbing machine and free weights.

Oatmeal, fruit, nuts, fish, chicken and turkey are dietary staples.

Senti trusts his system and doesn’t need a scale to tell him he feels energized and healthy.

"I think I’ve weighed myself three times, maybe, in the last year," Senti said.

Senti relaxes his strict diet and exercise regimen on weekends, but he immediately gets back on track each Monday.

"People want to grasp onto one magical thing that’s going to turn it around," Senti said. "It’s not one thing. It’s the entire lifestyle that I’m living now.

"What I’m doing might not work for you. The thing I try to teach people is, you have to find what works for you."

Ryan Ori can be reached at (309) 686-3264 or rori@pjstar.com.