Corporate Weight Loss Challenge

Corporate Weight Loss Challenge by Team Member Cheryl

Combine the elements of a major television network, an enthusiastic coach, a group of volunteers, and an irresistible 2-month challenge and what you get is a tale of how several Bigelow employees teamed together to accomplish one goal!

"We want to share our story with you, we want to share our journey. We also put together what we consider the 10 key steps (listed at the bottom of the page) for you and your company to possibly use as a guide if you want to start a similar program..."

This past June, ABC Primetime invited our company to participate in a Corporate Weight Loss Challenge game theory show. The challenge was to prove how positive and negative reinforcements (becoming healthy for one's sake vs a threat of humiliation) motivate in team environments. Bigelow Tea (positive motivators) competed head-to-head against the Bridgeport Bluefish (negative motivators) to see how many team participants could each lose 15 pounds in a two-month period. Several guidelines were established to determine an ultimate winner.


ABC guidelines:

  • Ten participants per team.
  • Minimum weight allowance to participate: 175 pounds.
  • Same clothing must be worn for original and final weigh-ins.
  • Participants choose their own weight loss strategy.
  • Goal: Lose 15 pounds in two months.
  • Scoring: Each team member earns 1 point if successfully losing 15 pounds or more at final weigh-in.
    No point awarded if less than 15 pounds lost. Total team points tallied to determine ultimate team winner.


Bigelow guidelines:

  • Agree to work in team fashion.
  • Drink 3-4 cups of Bigelow green tea daily.
  • Weekly weigh-ins to be conducted to review results.
  • Weights to be posted on conference room board for tracking progress.


A preliminary visit to our company on June 20 provided ABC Primetime Producer, Tom Berman, and Associate Producer, Christine Murphy-Costello, an opportunity to tour our facility operations and meet with potential team participants. Soon after notification of our company's participation, our first team collaboration was held to design a special t-shirt for the event. The slogans, 'Drink Green - Get Lean' and 'TEAM Bigelow - moteavated to lose weight' were selected.

A caravan of ABC personnel returned to Bigelow early Tuesday morning, July 18, to set up their lights, cameras, sound and scale equipment. After capturing some early morning film shots of our operations, team participants gathered on the production floor for the opening shoot. Each of us were greeted by Jay Schadler (ABC Primetime Correspondent) before individual interviews were conducted. The team then proceeded to the Blending Warehouse for our initial weigh-ins. One-by one, we stepped up to the scale as our weights were recorded by ABC. Three team members (Liz , Don and Mike ) were each presented with video cameras to document their personal journeys and team events over the next two months. The day's festivities concluded with an initial team meeting to discuss some moteavating ideas to assist in our weight loss endeavors.

0718_abc_primetime_group_photo_jpg1Daily teamwork, diet and exercise became three synonymous words spoken throughout the next two months. With Cindi Bigelow leading the group, our strengths were identified as we began our journeys toward a healthier lifestyle. To assist in reducing the unwanted pounds, the company subsidized a two-month gym membership fee for each person and many participants elected to utilize one of the two gyms next door for their workouts. Others opted for neighborhood walks or other home activities. It was difficult at first to change a lifestyle we were accustomed to, but once we became adjusted to the new routines, it was easier to continue with our exercise and diet programs. Feeling good about ourselves was a moteavating factor that encouraged us to stay the course. But one common denominator prevailed as the backbone of our strategy- the support given and received from teammates, coworkers and family.

As our weight loss regimes continued, our weekly weigh-ins began to see promising results. In the beginning, some of us were a little shy stepping on the scale in a public setting, but once the weights were posted on the board, the shyness disappeared along with the pounds and waistline measurements. Although individual weight loss triumphs and struggles were experienced along the way, sharing our own stories aided in a greater support group as we focused on each person's goal. The group shared much advise about the effects certain foods and exercises have on weight loss. A variety of articles and recipes were circulated and countless weight loss discussions occurred throughout the workday.

Halfway through the challenge, ABC returned to film one of our weekly weigh-ins along with additional camera footage at the homes of Liz, Don and Mike. By this time, four team members reached their weight loss goal, some were within five pounds, and a handful of others were experiencing a more slightly uphill battle. But once again, we were each determined that we would not let the team down. True diligence would prevail, and teamwork, dedication, and perseverance would win out. Our weekly weigh-ins increased to twice per week to help ensure we remained focused in reaching our goal.

Three different guest speakers joined us to offer a variety of nutrition and weight loss information. Stavros Mastrogannis, Personal Trainer and Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant, Rene White, Nutraceutical Consultant, and Lisa Storch, Holistic Nutrition Health Counselor, each shed some additional light on the impact of body, diet, exercise and the reaction to certain foods consumed. Other factors that affect our health and well-being (physical activity, career, spirituality and relationships) were also discussed. Each presenter also shared healthy recipes with us.

The challenge's excitement was expanded to include an additional nineteen employees from Corporate and Operations. Although their participation would not be highlighted on ABC's show, they agreed to abide by the established guidelines. TEAM 'C' was named for all others who elected to lose weight on their own. Without documentation of weekly weigh-ins, the total members and weight loss for this team is unknown.

 The single most debated topic throughout this time centered on the accuracy of our scale readings. Three weeks into the challenge, accurate scale readings were not obtainable on our warehouse scale. A new scale was purchased and debates still existed as to its accuracy. A third scale was brought in for comparison purposes. The results - three different scales all with different readings! Keeping our fingers crossed, we felt confident the digital scale was within a 1-2 pound variance from ABC's, and just to be on the safe side, we thought an additional loss of two pounds would ensure that we would not experience any last-minute surprises at our final weigh-ins.


Our three camera techs took their assignments seriously. Their keen and witty insights captured the essence of their own personal journeys and the team adventures. Feeling a little camera shy at first, Liz recorded everyone else but herself. One morning, she experienced a tearful meltdown and her son reached for the camera and began recording her innermost thoughts. The comical camera buff, Mike, always looked for the unexpected rare moments. "Things seemed good to film at the time. If it airs, I'll probably be in trouble!" As for Don, he's been very quiet about his own efforts, but be assured he will share some laughs along the way. Overall, more than 30 hours of film footage was provided to ABC for incorporation into the show. Whether it was a weekly meeting, weigh-in, lunch, gym workout, or home video, everything was fair game for this camera crew.

With eager anticipation, September 19 finally arrived and many of us found it comforting to reach the end of the challenge. Bridgeport's Arena at Harbor Yard hosted the final weigh-in segment. As ABC was performing final setup preparations, we each had time to reflect over the course of events that led up to this day.


 For the first time since the weight loss challenge began, both teams met face-to-face. Emerging from the ballpark dugouts, team participants met over home plate and shook hands before proceeding up the stadium steps for another interview to relate our weight loss experiences. Then it was time to face the scale one last time - just you and the scale. Once again, ABC recorded everyone's weight as they stepped up for their final weigh-in. Tom, Christine and Jay tallied the individual weight losses and team points. The moment of truth arrived as one-by-one, the results were announced. Weight losses from both teams ranged from 13 to 31 pounds.

Although ABC Primetime has not confirmed a scheduled air date as of this writing, stay tuned as they highlight how positive and negative motivations work in team environments and witness for yourself the power of TEAM BIGELOW!


Looking beyond the first 15 pounds of weight loss, the team was determined the challenge was not going to end. Although a few have already reached their ultimate weight goal, plans were put in place to successfully maintain their weight. While many others still have a few additional pounds to shed, TEAM Bigelow has geared up once again and established another two-month goal along with ultimate weight goals. As we continue our quest to shed those extra unwanted pounds, the weekly weigh-ins are continuing but we can feel comfortable that the cameras are not lurking around corners!


  • KATHY (-31 pounds)
    "Several years ago, I lost my spirit and my true self and I gained at least 55 pounds. Being a member of the TEAm Bigelow gave me the will, moteavation and the determination to start a journey to find what I lost and to lose what I gained. With everyone's support, friendship and caring words and deeds, my spirit is starting to rise again and I am on my way to losing the extra pounds. And watch out - my true self hopefully will be arriving too."
  • MELANIE (-18 pounds)
    "I will admit that although being on television was not a goal for me, wanting to prove to all of 'TV Land' that I could make the effort and successfully lose the 15 pounds was a huge incentive! But the BEST part for me was actually DOING IT...LOSING the weight! I was beginning to feel that my age and injuries were going to win the 'battle of the bulge' but I found out that victory always goes to hard work and perseverance! Cliché or not, I forever count my experience with Bigelow's weight loss team as a solid foundation for future successes."
  • ED (-22 pounds)
     "I have learned through this experience that, "It is not necessarily our individual efforts that make the most difference but it is the support, courage and hard work of others that help individuals accomplish great and challenging things."
  • DON (-22 pounds)
    "The challenge was far more than just a weight loss experiment; it was an intimate opportunity to share and support many different facets of teammate life experiences that became appreciated through the shared relationships in achieving our goal."
  • LIZ (-20 pounds)
    "This was truly a life style change for me. Getting up at 4:25am was not a problem. I am at the gym by 5:00am each day. I never went to the gym before this. My motto is, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me." Phil 4:13 - I prayed a lot, cried a lot, and drank lots of Green Tea. I have no desire to eat and do the things I did before. I have to thank God, ABC, the 'TEAM,' my co-workers, and my family. Everyone was and is very supportive!
  • MARYANN (-16 pounds)
     Leafy greens are quite okay,
    But white and starchy...stay away.
    Drink lots of green tea and water every day,
    and watch your waistline waste away.
  • MIKE (-19 pounds)
    "Never go to a weigh-in with wet pants."
  • JEANNETTE (-13 pounds)
    "It was a challenge but by faith and hard work, I was able to drop 13 of the 15 pounds required to meet PRIMETIME requirements. Due to getting off to a slow start because of some of the medication I was (and still am) taking, I came up short, but I am still determined to lose a total of 60 pounds and get down at least three more dress sizes by the grace of God. I have already dropped two sizes during the past two months. - My advise to anyone out there who is thinking about loosing weight, "JUST DO IT." You don't know what you can accomplish if you first do not try."
  • CHERYL (-19 pounds)
    "Although this weight loss exercise was ultimately individual goals we each had to attain, utilizing teamwork to achieve its success was equally important. For me, the interest, support and coaching from family and co-workers were vital elements that geared me towards accomplishing my goal through a change of lifestyle that includes a better balance of both diet and exercise."
  • RICHARD (-20 pounds)
    "To lose weight, eat everything and anything you desire, but beware, you are what you eat, so eat less and you will see less....of yourself."
  • CINDI BIGELOW (Team's General Manager)
    "This has been one of the most enjoyable journeys as I watched a group of people pull together and work so hard to help each other achieve their goal. It was a very moteavational experience that one could take a lesson from in every chapter of life."


10 Steps for a Successful Corporate Weight Loss Program:

  1. Ensure team members are committed for an 8 week period. Dropping out is not an option.
  2. Pick a team captain (might be best if not part of the weight loss program), who understands the commitment of this role. This person must be able to provide the right combination of Support and "tough love" - this blend is critical.
  3. All members starting weights, weekly weigh in result and each individual weight loss goal must be posted for all to see. The weigh-ins are done in front of the team, this way the members can applaud those who lost weight that week and can rally and offer suggestions for those who did not , to get them back on track , in a positive way. Being positive and upbeat must be the way the team feels when they leave the room.
  4. All members must drink 3-4 cups of Green Tea (preferably Bigelow - it worked for us) per day.
  5. All members must commit to ½ hour a week to meet to honestly access each members performances (triumphs and pitfalls).
  6. Keep the team focused on doing this for their health, this is for the long haul - to make our bodies strong. This should be a lifestyle change for all individuals.
  7. Each member must try to exercise a couple of times a week, whatever activity they prefer to do. Exercise burns calories.
  8. Come to the meeting even if you have a gain during the week, do not find excuses to a miss meeting.
  9. Seek support from coworkers and family.
  10. Healthy eating, no soda, no processed foods, watch your sodium intake.
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