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RCA teacher wins $1M Dr. Oz weight loss challenge
Michael Lamb

Rockdale Career Academy engineering tech teacher Mike Lamb won $1 million dollars on The Dr. Oz Show Wednesday.

Lamb was one of 10 finalists for Dr. Oz's "Transformation Nation: Million Dollar You" challenge, which got Americans off the couch and onto a journey of health and wellness. According to the Dr. Oz website, participants had to sign up with the Sharecare program, an online weight loss tracker and health and fitness community, and document their weight loss. The Dr. Oz Show also partnered with Weight Watchers.

Ten finalists were chosen out of thousands of entries that had to be submitted by April 19. Viewers voted on the most inspiring transformation and the winner was revealed on today's show. Lamb won $1 million and a chance to enjoy his new life of health and wellness.

“It’s been a whirlwind of an hour,” said Lamb, whose phone battery was on its last legs as congratulatory calls streamed in. “It’s exciting,” he said. “We were the only two people in the room who knew,” he said, referring to himself and his wife, who was a big motivation for his transformation.

The final show, which was filmed last Friday in New York, aired Wednesday afternoon. Lamb and his wife Jody, a learning instructor at RCA, were required to keep quiet about it until now.

The RCA staff gathered Thursday for a viewing party at the school and shared in the Lamb’s excitement. “We're a family at RCA and it's nice to share with your family,” he said.

Lamb said he never dreamed of winning $1 million. He said for now, he would follow the age-old advice of doing nothing at first when coming into money.

“We're going to get some sound advice,” he said.

He also said he knew in the future the couple might face steep medical costs and would focus on being financially solid in preparation.

“My wife has lupus. It's attacked her kidneys. She's stable right now… but we know our medical bills at some point are going to be astronomical.”

He said he’s also learned a new phrase that’s become his mantra: pay-it-forward.

“What can we do to pay it forward?... We know we're paying it forward by raising awareness,” for lupus and kidney issues, he said.

The couple is in the process of selling their house in Watkinsville and moving back to Conyers. Both teach at RCA, and Jody had previously taught at Memorial Middle as a special education teacher before being offered a job in Clark County.

Lamb will be appearing on Fox 5’s morning show on Thursday, around 8 a.m. Fox is the local affiliate for the Fox network, which carries The Dr. Oz Show.

According to the bio/testimonial posted on the Dr. Oz Show finalists' page, Lamb said his transformation started in the classroom.

"My name is Michael L., and I was the average American—a fast-food eating, stressed out, sleep deprived, middle-aged couch potato.

I started my weight-loss journey in September 2011 after seeing the first episode in the 'Transformation Nation' series. At age 54, 5' 10" tall and 300 pounds, I knew it was time. My wife has a kidney condition called CKD3. I am a matching kidney donor, but without losing weight and getting in shape, I would not be considered an organ donor candidate. So I went to Weight Watchers. Seeing the scale’s number, I resolved to join and follow the program.

I am a teacher. I stopped wolfing food down in the hallways and cafeteria and began grazing in my classroom. I brought a lunch box packed with fruit, vegetables, granola and yogurt. My students saw me eating these items and asked, 'Why are you eating like a rabbit?' Thus began a little classroom nutrition transformation.

I started walking a short loop and worked up to a 5K. By the time I was down 35 pounds, I noticed loose skin and lack of muscle tone. I was told of a workout challenge at a gym, so I joined. The first day was the worst; I was scared to go in. Once inside, I found the trainers genuinely cared, and I was nicknamed 'Big Mike.'

My students have noticed my progress because my belly is smaller. In class we debated exercise duration and form. A little classroom (behavior) transformation?

My doctor has been a big part of my weight-loss journey as he, too, is overweight. On my last check-up, impressed with my progress, he started giving me excuses for his own weight problem. I stopped him and recited his own lecture: 'We are never too busy to eat right and exercise.'

My name is Michael L., and I am in the minority of Americans. At 55, I attend a gym, count points, relax and sleep seven hours a night. If and when my wife needs a kidney, I won't have any regrets that I didn’t do everything in my power to give her one of mine. I have lost nearly 50 pounds and will lose 50 more."