Participating in a weight challenge was nothing new to this team. Two years ago, they had competed against each other. They knew what each person was capable of and they figured out what they could do. Thanks to the help of their company, their strategy was that much easier to achieve. With a fun name that fit their culture and personalities, they were ready to take on the Healthy Wage team challenge. Armed with an on-site clinic where it was easy to do weigh in, a free gym membership located just one-quarter mile from the office, and a company that promoted and supported the team in the company newsletter, Los Vatos Gordos was set. Despite each tackling their individual weight loss with personal strategies – some modified their diets and focused on portion control, others gave up junk food and worked on changing their metabolism – the weight loss challenge truly was a team effort. Each week, they met together to talk about their goals, give each other advice on calorie-cutting and nutrition, and cheer each other on, especially when there were some weeks where only one pound was lost by some of the team members. There were some challenges along the way. After all, with such a giving company, there were many meals out, meals in, and tempting food around, but the team persevered by planning ahead and sometimes just saying ‘no.’ What kept them going was that cash incentive. Although many knew they had high cholesterol and weigh issues, it was the thought of winning that money that sweetened the deal. When they participated in their own workplace-created challenge two years ago, they only lost half of what they lost with the Healthy Wage team challenge. Now, they are focused on maintaining it by eating smart and keeping it balanced – after all, they have all just invested in new, smaller clothes!
Team Lean Machine wanted to put together a team of people who had the weight to lose and the motivation to lose it. The team came together as a combination of co-workers and spouses. They each had specific weight loss goals and motivation driven by the cash incentive, including an upcoming wedding of two of the team members. The team members agreed that doing the weight loss together would produce amazing results. Their support extended beyond their families and involved the company where some of the team members worked. At the shop, the company put some money towards the monthly fee and posted flyers to encourage other employees to vote for Lean Machines in the final mini challenge. The team name came from the movie, “The Longest Yard,” which had a team called the Mean Machines, so the team members adapted it for their weight loss challenge. The team approached their weight loss with a practical strategy of focusing on healthy foods and cardio. This meant cutting bread, potatoes, soda, pasta and sweets except for an occasional low-calorie treat. While cooking took some relearning, it has been worth it for the team members who now have discovered that healthy food can be delicious and satisfying. Exercise included walking and jogging, which doubled as more quality family time. When cravings set in, the team members supported each other to get past them. Closer to the deadline, they even made up individual challenges to see who could hit their target weight first. With young children, many of the team members are focused on staying healthy so they have the energy and drive to keep up with them as they grow.
Third Place Winners: Team Money
With a team name like Team Money, there is no doubt this team was driven to drop the pounds and win the cash prize. It wasn’t always the case though as most of the team and even some of their colleagues started out in doubt. There were phrases like “no way can I lose that much weight” tossed around, but the team, consisting of co-workers plus one wife, decided to give it a try. Despite not really ever focusing on diets or exercise before, all of them knew they wanted to lose the weight and they wanted to win. Knowing what would work for each of them, they set out on their individual plans – one joined the gym and got a trainer while others focused on dietary changes. Together, the co-workers took walks at lunch and in the afternoon while Tim and his wife also walked in the evenings after supper. Regular pep talks among the team kept them inspired and motivated. The big turning point came at the half-way point. Weigh-ins revealed that they had already lost half of their goal weight and they still had half the time left. The results were amazing and that spurred them on. Second helpings and junk food were replaced with smaller plates, fewer carbs, and fruit and salad. A sedentary lifestyle was revamped into one that involved elliptical machines, weight-lifting, a treadmill, and biking to and from work. While they hit their weight loss goals, they are not done. Each has more goals planned for themselves to keep losing more weight. What started as a group that didn’t think they were going to make it became a healthier group of individuals who worked together to meet their weight goals and change their lives for the better.