Joe Messina is fighting to win by losing -- losing weight, that is.

The Auburn man, a contestant on the current season of NBC's popular weight-loss show "The Biggest Loser," is fighting to win the competition's top prize by being the contestant to shed the most pounds.

During the course of the show's season 13 premier Tuesday evening, the 38-year-old Messina dropped 15 pounds, lowering his weight from 357 pounds to 342 pounds within the first episode.

After a lifetime of struggling with his weight, the final straw for Messina came when his weight prevented him from being able to board a ride with his son at an amusement park because Messina could not fit, reported the contestant's biography on NBC's website.

Sick of suffering from sleep apnea, high cholesterol and high blood-pressure, Messina decided he wanted to become a competitor on "The Biggest Loser" to set a good example for his three children and improve his health, said the website.

During the show, contestants will work with an array of health professionals, including trainers and nutritionists, to help them lose weight. In the show's May season finale, the biggest loser -- and winner of a $250,000 grand prize -- will be announced.

Paula Messina, Joe Messina's mother, said she thinks Joe's time on "The Biggest Loser" will be a wonderful experience for him.

"I just know that I love my son. I love seeing him on TV," she said. "He's a good looking boy."

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