Win by Losing Helps Employees Lose Weight Together

Julie Bitely

| 4 min read

When it comes to losing weight, having partners who keep you accountable is a winning game plan. That’s the consensus from the triumphant participants in the latest Win by Losing weight loss competition. The nine-week challenge is offered to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network group customers’ employees at worksites around the state every fall and spring. Winners of the spring competition are:
  • Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids: 10 and Under Participating Employees
  • Bay County: 11-29 Participating Employees
  • Secure-24, LLC, Southfield: 30-59 Participating Employees
  • Wolverine Packing Co., Detroit: 60+ Participating Employees
Here’s what winning team members had to say: Baker Publishing Group The team from Baker Publishing Group was small but mighty. Four customer service representatives banded together to reach their goals, fighting back against what can oftentimes be a sedentary job covering the phones.
Photo credit: Julie Bitely Sadina Brott, Rachael Kehr, Michelle Plichta and Heather Engel motivated one another through a Facebook group and frequent check-ins. Knowing that each member’s progress could help or hurt their standing as a team, the women all said they thought twice about the cupcakes and other office sweets that are a constant temptation. “It definitely kept you on track,” Plichta said. Engel lost 20 pounds during the challenge, and Brott has lost a total of almost 40 pounds through her challenge efforts and some weight loss she had achieved before the challenge started. “I think this helps you learn the discipline and now it’s a habit,” Brott said. Despite becoming pregnant during the challenge period, Kehr continued to lead the group, although her focus shifted from losing weight to healthy eating and exercise. She’s due at the end of October and her teammates said they couldn’t have done it without her. Bay County Jeanie Deckert, Bay County’s wellness coordinator, said accountability and weekly updates indicating each person’s rank in the competition made the team successful. Deckert kept people going by acknowledging participants’ success and providing tips if they were falling off track. Going through it all together provided a little friendly competition and participants saw real results.
Kari Peckham (courtesy photo) “Once I started seeing the weight drop, it was encouragement to keep going,” said Kari Peckham, who works at the Bay County Health Department University Clinic. “I am a type 2 diabetic and had lab work done and my A1C has dropped 2.3 points since January. If I can do it, anyone can do it.”
Matthew Reszke (courtesy photo) “I like the competitive aspect of it all to keep me motivated,” said Matthew Reszke of the Bay County Sheriff’s Department. “Even though I haven’t lost any more since the challenge ended, I’ve still maintained the end result weight. (I’m) hoping to participate in another challenge in the future to get down even further.” Secure-24, LLC Employees at Secure-24 keep data safe for their clients. For those who took part in this year’s Win by Losing challenge, they can feel good about putting their health on a more secure path. “We had a lot of fun, and a great number of our participants were able to achieve positive results,” said David Piwowar, vice president of Human Resources. The education, awareness materials and tools provided by Blue Cross helped employees start to adopt healthier lifestyles, Piwowar explained. “The rest was just their hard work and dedication,” he said. “Thanks again for providing the platform for our employees to help reach their personal goals. It definitely made a difference.” Wolverine Packing Co. Win by Losing was the first employee wellness program Wolverine offered to its employees. The Human Resources team held brief employee meetings during every shift explaining the goal to have happy, healthy employees. Lisa Cunningham, a Human Resources representative, was thrilled that nearly 20 percent of employees at Wolverine took part. “Our employees chose to make the healthy decision to get serious about weight loss because they wanted to overcome personal health challenges and were excited to go about it as a team,” she said.
Courtesy photo Side bets among co-workers made people put money where their mouths were, Cunningham said. The company provided Win by Losing toolkits to every participating employee, which included worksheets to help people set their goal and identify a plan of action to make it reality. During private initial and final weigh-ins, a wellness coach was on hand to answer questions employees had. Participants also received fresh fruit, bottled water, exercise bands and weight loss tips in their weekly payroll stuffers and monthly company newsletter articles. “Tackling the Win by Losing challenge as a group definitely worked for us,” Cunningham said. “It made losing weight fun! Our people enjoyed the camaraderie and we found success by not going it alone.” Registration for the next round of Win by Losing begins on Sept. 11, 2017, and the competition begins on Sept. 18, 2017. Visit to register. If you have any questions about getting started, email If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
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MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association