SAN ANTONIO -

His name is Chris Sonnier, and between he and his wife, they are $13,000 richer -- and nearly 55 pounds lighter -- after winning the HEB Slimdown Showdown.

"I pretty much cut fried foods out of my menu," said Chris Sonnier. "I cut my beer drinking down considerably."

He said he also exercised to whittle the pounds off his 300-pound frame.

"I would start at 4 a.m., work out for an hour or hour and a half, then do some sort of workout in the evenings," he said.

His wife was already an avid exerciser, but the meal planning and healthy diet gave her coaching an added bonus.

"I wasn't looking to lose weight, but I ended up losing 15 pounds," said Sonnier's wife and coach, Donna Muth. "That was based on what I ate, because I was already exercising, but then I wasn't putting the right fuel in my body."

With the fuel in place, they won the showdown.

"As a company, just this past year, we saw 4,500 partners losing 23,000 pounds in the Slimdown Showdown," said HEB spokeswoman Shannon Hernandez.

Each HEB employee -- known as "partners" -- in the 12-week challenge takes home $1,000 for participating.

For winning it, Sonnier got $10,000 and his coach wife took home $3,000 -- quite a haul for the championship couple.

In June, HEB is expanding its Slimdown challenge from its employees to the public for the first time.

A total of 500 people have already applied and from them, 25 will be chosen to compete for a $10,000 prize.