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Published: Friday, July 13, 2012
Page: 1A

Greenbrier resort owner Jim Justice, whose plate is filled with responsibilities, says a recent weight-loss challenge will not be easy.
However, he intends to give it his best shot.
During the Greenbrier Classic, Justice was surprised when professional golfer John Daly presented a weight loss challenge. Daly said he would donate $100 for every pound Justice could lose and added that Tiger Woods would match the offer. The money is to go to any charity Justice wants.
“First and foremost, it’s kind because they care,” said Justice, who began watching calories and doing some extra walking on Tuesday.
“Right now I don’t like either one of them, but I’ll give it a shot. Really, it was a wonderful, kind gesture from people who care about me. It made me feel really good. It surely surprised me.”
Justice, 61, is 6 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 378 pounds.
“I need to lose 100-plus pounds,” he said.
In the past, he has delved into weight loss efforts such as the Atkins Diet or Nutrisystem. He sometimes lost as much as 60 pounds. Then he gained it back.
“I try to go on a diet and then fall off the wagon,” he said. “My weight goes up and down. It’s a struggle a lot of people have.”
The recent challenge has him thinking about getting a nutritionist and a personal trainer on board as he works around obstacles.
“Now my knees are really bad,” he said. “I’ve had them operated on bunches and bunches of times. I’ve got back problems, too. It makes a lot of exercises impossible.”
Water exercise might be an option, and he is thinking about working swimming into his hectic schedule. While he has no pool at his house, there are the Greenbrier pools.
However, he is always on the move as he oversees business in several states.
“We have 62,000 acres of crops in five states with $45 million annual revenue,” he said. “Our family works. We grow corn, wheat and soybeans. We’ve made enough mistakes that we’re good at it now.”
Crops are doing well in South Carolina and North Carolina. In Virginia some are good and others fair. West Virginia is doing OK.
“Kentucky is destroyed,” he said. “The Kentucky corn crop on 4,000 acres is burned up. It’s terrible. We’ve got cattle there, too. The grass is gone.”
However, he loves the business and feels good about the crops that are grown.
He is always on the go to take care of things. He works seven days a week, often under a great deal of stress.
He also attends church, participates in community outreach efforts and coaches basketball.
He does not eat a lot of sweets, breads or gourmet foods. He likes fried chicken, meat, potatoes, green beans, salads, pinto beans and cornbread.
“Country cooking is what I grew up with,” he said. “The thing I end up doing is eating too late at night. I end up eating dinner at 11 and then going to bed. A lot of people are connoisseurs of Greek, Italian or Indian cuisine. In all honesty, I’m just common. There is nothing fancy about me.”
He notes that he is actually in pretty good health.
“I’m in great shape,” he said. “My stress test was perfect. For as big as I am, I’m amazed at what I can do.”
Even with knee issues, he can walk a few miles if the ground is fairly level. He can walk half the holes on the golf course. He likes to hunt and fish.
His penchant for helping others may be just the motivation he needs for losing weight.
He said half the money he earns from the challenge would go to people who suffered loss during the recent storms. The other half would go to help those serving in the military and their families.
Justice emphasizes that he is grateful for those who care about his health and wants to do what he can to meet the challenge.
“I don’t want to be put on a pedestal,” he said. “I just want to be humble, respectful and thankful.”

Tiger Woods, left, talks with Greenbrier owner Jim Justice during the Greenbrier Classic. Justice is accepting a weight-loss challenge from professional golfer John Daly and Woods.

Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at or 304-348-1246.

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