Adoption is reason why Knox woman enters weight loss challenge

Adoption is reason why Knoxville woman enters weight loss challenge

"I really wanted to better my health for the kids and for my life," Stephanie Mitchum said. "I really wanted to better my health for the kids and for my life," Stephanie Mitchum said.

6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A local woman is trying to stay on top in a national weight loss competition, but she needs the community's help to do so.

Stephanie Mitchum was the only one from the Knoxville area chosen to participate in Genghis Grill's Health Kwest challenge.

For Mitchum, it's not just about losing weight. It's about impacting 3 lives.

Mitchum runs Water Angel Ministries on University Avenue and now she is one of 80 people competing in the national 2-month weight loss challenge.

"I love the worst foods, I don't crave salads and I hate exercise so all of that has been kind of hard," said Mitchum.

Since February 1, Mitchum has been getting up at 4:30  a.m. to work out for two hours, and she is eating only 1,200 calories a day.

"I am the worst. I start a diet January 1st of every year and by the 3rd, I'd break it," she said.

But she hasn't broken down yet and she is determined to make this year different.

Mitchum says her driving force has been three children she met in Jamaica during a mission trip.

"It's not really for me it's for these children who has been staying at an orphanage for 4 years," said Mitchum.

Mitchum, a mother of two, and her husband hope to adopt the three sibling orphans.

"The prize money is exactly what we need for the adoption so I feel like God has opened this door for me," said Mitchum.

The competition is offering $10,000 to the winner.

Weight loss is only 50 percent of the challenge. Public votes also play big a role.

Mitchum created the Christian-based non-profit about 10 years ago. The goal is to help low income and homeless children. Now those close to Mitchum are hoping the community will give back by voting.

"The homeless people she helps are going to libraries to vote for her and the children are cheering her on," said her friend, Kelly Duisen.

Mitchum says her best cheerleader has been Duisen who has been working out with her during the challenge. 

"Stephanie is an incredible lady, she has a heart as big as this town," said Duisen.

Mitchum is hoping the public's vote will shoot her to the top, because the challenge is not just about the scale but a better life.

"I really wanted to better my health for the kids and for my life," Mitchum said.

Public votes are 25 percent of the competition. There are no limits on how many times you can vote. 

You can vote for Mitchum by going to and clicking on the green "thumbs up" icon beside her blog posts.

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