A group of people participating in the win by losing challenge.

Losing Weight Was in the Cards For Internal Medicine of Northern Michigan

Competition, creativity and camaraderie are the cornerstones of Internal Medicine of Northern Michigan’s team strategy to compete in Win by Losing, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s free weight loss competition for group customers.

Win by Losing started in 2009, and the practice, located in Petoskey, has participated in the free, nine-week weight loss competition every fall and spring.

For the spring 2017 competition, team captain Karen Williams created the Lose’em to Hold’em Poker Tournament to challenge the team members.

“Competition among the team members always seems to be a motivator, but I didn’t want it to just be about weight loss,” Williams said. “We can all be eating and exercising the same way, and some will lose and some won’t. … The challenges bonded us more. We learned about ourselves and our teammates.  And it was just plain good fun.”

How the Lose’em to Hold’em Poker Tournament worked

Each team member was dealt five cards, which were displayed on a bulletin board. Their goal was to build the best hand during the Win by Losing competition.

Each week, team members earned the chance to select cards from the deck or steal from a team member. The member with the highest five-card hand at the end of the competition won.

The poker tournament included squat challenges, plank challenges, balance challenges and goal-setting challenges. Members who participated or won the challenge received new cards or could steal cards from other players.

Working together worked for the team

Williams agreed that going through the program together helped everyone stick with it more so than they would have on their own. “First, no one wanted to let the team down,” Williams said. “So when a week went by that was not as successful, there was additional motivation to do better the next week. Second, a program with a beginning and an end helps to set realistic goals. Third, having to record weekly weights gave us all deadlines that kept us accountable as well. Most everyone on the team felt that working together held them accountable. A few have continued to support each other after the program was over.”

Determination and competitive spirit led to success

Some of the challenges could be daunting, but Williams was excited to see when a teammate succeeded.

“One member had never done a plank before,” Williams said. “She complained all week long how she was going to just be terrible at it. But when she competed alongside us, she was determined not to be the first one out. She came in third place (out of 11) and stayed in her plank nearly three minutes. It was a great demonstration on how putting your mind to something and trying something new makes a big difference. A little friendly competition never hurts, either.”

The team finished the season with a healthy potluck and came in fourth place in the 11-29 participating employees category. The 11 participants lost a total of 83.8 pounds for a total weight loss percentage of 4.37, but they gained friendships and healthy lifestyles.

Registration information

Important dates:

  • Sept. 11 — Registration opens
  • Sept. 18 — Competition begins
  • Sept. 22 — Submit total team pounds lost for Week 1 by 5 p.m.

Each group must pick a team captain, who’ll need to submit:

  • The company name
  • The number of participating employees
  • Total group starting weight. This is used as the starting point from which we’ll track the company’s progress.

Group customers can register online at bcbsm.com/yourhealth.

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