April 25, 2012
Fort HealthCare recently challenged local workers to lose weight and improve their health by participating in the Slimdown Challenge. The 12-week challenge was open to employees of Fort Atkinson-based Fort HealthCare, Nasco, Spacesaver, Digi-Star, Cygnus Business Media and members of the Rock Lake Activity Center in Lake Mills.
Eligible participants formed teams of four-to-six players, attended official weigh-ins and logged weights throughout the competition. The team with the highest percentage of weight-loss at the end of 12 weeks won a $1000 Visa gift card for each team member. The competition started with 182 teams and 962 players. When the challenge ended at midnight on April 9, 685 participants completed the challenge by weighing out. On average, each player lost about 10 pounds- the equivalent of losing two points on the body mass index (BMI) scale. The combined total weight loss was 6,504 pounds- just over three and one-quarter tons.
The winners, the Fab Four, a team from Fort HealthCare Therapy & Sport, comprised of Kim McCrea, Sherri Elsner, Tracy Wilde, Patience Cosson and Sara Wilde serving as team manager, lost a total of 183 pounds and 20.7 percent BMI over the three-month challenge. There was no shortage of determination from the group, especially with their team manager providing motivation to the team.
“My role consisted of planning monthly and emergency meetings, discussing diets and exercise plans and sending weekly motivational quotes,” said Sara. “I also planned mini-team competitions with prizes and kept track of team statistics.”
The Fab Four started an immediate workout and diet regimen that, although tough in the beginning, became a part of their daily routine not long after the January 16 start date. They constantly looked to their inspiration, the story of the Tortoise and the Hare, and remembered that slow and steady wins the race.
“We all had to make healthy food choices, like no fast food, candy, diet soda or alcohol,” said McCrea. “We also had an exercise strategy that worked for each of us individually. Many of us were doing two workouts a day.”
Each team member had to alter their daily routine in some way to help achieve the overall goal of winning the competition. Whether it was waking up an hour early to hit the gym, working out twice a day, buying new foods at the grocery store or just making the conscious decision to make healthier food choices, they all held each other accountable.
“You can’t focus on the numbers,” said Tracy. “It’s a process. Wake up every day with a plan and take it day by day. It’s not a straight line up to success, it’s definitely a process. We stayed a course and made suggestions to help each other. You have to enjoy the process.”
Heidi Pitzner, an obstetrics nurse at Fort Memorial Hospital was among the top ten in terms of body mass lost, having shed 21.594 percent. “I feel awesome with my results,” she said. The support she had from her coworkers and Bridezilla teammates helped her to stay focused, and were, she said, her biggest asset. Exercise and a healthy diet were key. She attended a weekly cardio-kickboxing class and boot camp twice each week at the hospital. She also spent many hours exercising in the cardiac rehab department and stopped eating white carbohydrates while eating more fruits and vegetables. “The biggest thing was watching portion sizes,” she added. Her children helped, too, threatening to take pictures and send them to team members if she cheated.
The Slimdown Challenge follows the very successful Rock the Walk Challenge, a step challenge that was open to select local employers in the fall of 2011. More than 600 people participated, walking 10,769 miles and averaging nearly 400,000 steps over six weeks.
Cygnus Business Media: 49 participants completed, 283.6 pounds lost. Average of 5.8 pounds/person
Digi-Star: 27 participants completed, 181.4 pounds lost. Average of 6.7 pounds/person
Fort HealthCare: 412 participants completed, 4245.3 pounds lost. Average of 10.3 pounds/person
Nasco: 82 participants completed, 650.8 pounds lost. Average of 7.9 pounds/person
Rock Lake Activity Center: 72 participants completed, 622.6 pounds lost. Average of 8.6 pounds/person
Spacesaver: 43 participants completed, 522.4 pounds lost. Average of 12.2 pounds/person