The kick-off of the 2020 Great Hernando Weight Loss Challenge will be held Jan. 11 at the Brooksville Mining Association Enrichment Center.

BROOKSVILLE — It’s that time again when all the holiday cheer begins showing in places even filtered photos on social media can’t hide. Waistbands feel a little snug, shirt buttons pop out a bit, and that little mental voice is dangling the idea that changing a few habits might be a good goal to consider for the new year.

January is a great time to get back into fitness and nutrition routines. New Year’s resolutions aside, it’s also the launch of the Great Hernando Weight Loss Challenge. For people who have $10 and are willing to commit to a 10 pound weight loss in a 10-week span, this might be exactly what they need to cross that one off the resolution list.

It’s likely you have heard of it since the community health initiative launched in 2017. It returns for its fourth consecutive year with a kickoff party on Jan. 11 at the Brooksville Mining Association Enrichment Center, 800 John Gary Grubbs Road, off Broad Street.

Teams of 10 will weigh in and begin the 10-week project that has gained in momentum each year. Then, beginning Wednesday Jan. 22, and each Wednesday through March 25, participants will weigh in and report that week’s loss to their team captain.

An end of the challenge celebration event will be held on April 4. Trophies, recognitions and awards will be distributed at that time.

The initiative works because it requires accountability, said Jennifer Raffaelli, recreation leader with Brooksville Parks and Recreation. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in nutritional science.

“Having to weigh in weekly helps people stay accountable,” Raffaelli said. “There is also the team approach. Your team can help you stay accountable too.”

Raffaelli is a team leader for the Brooksville city team. “The community opens up tons of health and wellness information to the over 700 people in the challenge,” she said.

Experts agree that accountability motivates healthy change. With a small financial commitment to get started and competitive incentives that entice participants to keep going, teams have collectively lost significant amounts of weight.

For more information or how you can register for the 2020 Great Hernando Weight Loss Challenge, visit the event page on Facebook or contact Ann-Gayl Ellis at or