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
A CHALLENGE IN THE MAKING
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.
- Ten participants per team.
- Minimum weight allowance to participate: 175 pounds.
- Same clothing must be worn for original and final
- 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.
- Agree to work in team fashion.
- Drink 3-4 cups of Bigelow green tea
- Weekly weigh-ins to be conducted to review results.
- Weights to be posted on conference room board for tracking
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.
THE CHALLENGE BEGINS with INITIAL
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.
THE CHALLENGE CONTINUES as TEAM STRATEGY TAKES
Daily 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
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
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
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.
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
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.
THE CHALLENGE ENDS with FINAL WEIGH-IN
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.
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!
THE JOURNEY AFTERWARDS
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!
MEET THE TEAM
- 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
- 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)
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
- MARYANN (-16 pounds)
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
- 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
Back to Health
- Ensure team members are committed for an 8 week period.
Dropping out is not an option.
- 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.
- 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.
- All members must drink 3-4 cups of Green Tea
(preferably Bigelow - it worked for us) per
- All members must commit to ½ hour a week to meet to
honestly access each members performances (triumphs and
- 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.
- Each member must try to exercise a couple of times a week,
whatever activity they prefer to do. Exercise burns calories.
- Come to the meeting even if you have a gain during the week, do
not find excuses to a miss meeting.
- Seek support from coworkers and family.
- Healthy eating, no soda, no processed foods, watch your sodium