First there was one water bottle, and then there was more. For Elaine Aquillard of Lake Charles, it was all for one reason.
Aquillard is a part of TOPS, also known as Take Off Pounds Sensibly, a non-profit weight-loss support program with various chapters across America. As Southwest Louisiana's area captain, Aquillard offers monthly weight-loss challenges for gifts and prizes to encourage members to lose weight.
"The goal was to keep pushing to get my members to keep trying to lose weight," said Aquillard.
This particular challenge required one thing; water bottles.
"If you drink the right amount of water, it helps flush out the toxins in your body and helps you melt the body fat," said Aquillard.
Aquillard challenged local members to drink 8 bottles of water every day and volunteered to go pick up their empty bottles to be recycled. Members from Southwest Louisiana who participated turned in their bottles which then turned into over 10,000 bottles.
"I collected 11,838 bottles," said Aquillard.
Aquillard says she gets inspired every time she sees one of her members lose weight. She invited one of her members from Sulphur, Tammy Myers, who lost over 100 pounds.
Myers along with her husband participated in the water bottle challenge and says being a part of the program is more than about trying to lose weight.
"We're a family," said Myers. "We're not just a group, we are a family."
A family Aquillard calls her own. She says this is one of the many challenges TOPS offers to help their members shed off the pounds. The water bottle challenge is one of her ways to help the state of Louisiana get healthy.
"We were recently name one of the top 5 heaviest states in the nation," said Aquillard. "I'd like to see Louisiana grow."
The water bottles were all taken to be recycled. Aquillard says she says she's looking forward to another challenge.