Twelve employees in Sourcing and Operational Purchasing have lost a total of 100 pounds since January—thanks to their Fun Committee’s friendly weight-loss competition. Although the competition isn’t over yet, it’s already inspired healthy lifestyle changes that will last long after the winner is announced.
How they got started
Their Fun Committee was formed a couple of years ago as a way to help colleagues in Sourcing and Purchasing get to know each other. “In the beginning, we would do a lot of potlucks, pie baking contests and cookie exchanges,” said Christine DiPiazza, Supply Management Team Lead, Strategic Sourcing Organization. “Eventually people started to suggest getting out of the office and doing something other than eating. So I thought a competition might be a fun way to help myself lose weight after maternity leave, and people liked the idea.”
The competition kicked off in January, which was perfect timing for Hal Kain, Supplier Manager, Strategic Sourcing. “Honestly, I joined due to the results from my Numbers@Work health screening,” he said. “For the first time I was beyond borderline. So I was already thinking along those lines when this came up. I thought it would be a good motivator.”
How the competition works
The Fun Committee put a lot of thought into setting up the competition. “We talked about how to optimize it so people wouldn’t be afraid to join in,” said Christine. “We did it anonymously, assigning everyone a number, so only one person knows what everyone weighs. We helped generate more interest because we were able to keep it private.”
Participants weighed in on the same scale at the start of the competition and will weigh in on the same scale when the competition ends around Memorial Day. For monthly check-ins along the way, participants can weigh themselves and email their weight to the trusted weight keeper. The weight keeper then emails percentages and pounds lost to the group.
Initially, the Fun Committee planned to offer programs and events just for participants, including daily walks, lunch and learns with nutrition and fitness experts, weekly motivational emails and tips, and invitations to friend each other on popular fitness apps like Fitbit. But those features were so popular that they ended up opening them up for anyone to participate.
“We get emails on a regular basis with healthy recipes,” said Hal. “I’ve taken some of those home, and my wife has fixed them. I’ve also participated in some of the daily walks.”
How they’re doing
The formula seems to be working. Participants are losing weight and having fun along the way. “I really appreciate that the Fun Committee put this together. It gave me the opportunity to add some camaraderie with the others and, to be honest with you, the competition is kind of fun,” said Hal. “Watching what others do motivates you to do a little more. I think that’s a big benefit.”
The group motivation has inspired numerous lifestyle changes among the group. “Four of us have started training for a 10k in June, and we run on our lunch break,” said Christine.
“I started an exercise program with a health club that also offers training on nutrition. I’ve been tracking my daily food intake on the My Fitness Pal app and started changing my eating habits,” said Hal. “I’ve seen huge changes both with my weight and stamina. Physically, I’m getting more muscular and my BMI has dropped considerably, so it’s all working together to help me feel better.”
“I have lost about 10 pounds,” added Christine. “I’m focusing on real changes that are going to last. I’m trying to drink less soda, running three times a week, going out to eat less and making all the smart choices instead of dieting and then falling off the wagon.”
The extra inspiration from the competition will certainly help. While we don’t yet know who will lose the most weight or how much the group will lose when the competition ends, one thing is clear: The secret to weight loss just might be to eat less, move more and make it fun.
Photos: Three of the 12 participants—Christine DiPiazza (white shirt), Kathryn Mankiewicz (blue shirt) and Hailey Lindner (gray shirt)—enjoy a group walk in April.
Want to lose weight? Get started with a Take Action activity, like the Step It Up challenge, Time Out for Health or the Rockwell Automation Walking Challenge. They’re designed to help you move more and eat better, which can help you slim down. And when you participate as part of our Health Management Program, you can earn up to $200 of your 2016 medical premiums, too.