They lost a total of 132 pounds and gained a day of pampering.
Team In It to Win It took first place in the third annual Lighten Up Onslow weight loss challenge. The team lost a cumulative 132 pounds 16.4 percent of their weight to win the wellness program started by Onslow Memorial Hospital.
For their efforts, Belk department store in the Jacksonville Mall dedicated a day to the team members to celebrate their achievement. They were treated Wednesday to a special morning with a makeover from Clinique University, a new summer outfit from the store and a portrait session with Olan Mills.
Team In It to Win It was one of 162 teams that participated in this years challenge. Team members include team captain Mary Butts, Vanessa Ervin, Latonya Lettley-Frost and Angel Hazelwood from the nonprofit organization Carobell Inc.
The women said the most engaging part of the program is the team aspect.
When we would even think about cheating, wed always think, What would Mary say? said Hazelwood, who echoed the team members sentiments that Butts kept the rest of the team motivated. I loved the camaraderie, all of us doing it together.
Butts made a reputation for herself with her team as a catalyst for action and an inspiration when they were losing steam. She inspired them with weekly motivational quotes to keep up their spirits, too, which she said she will continue despite the competitions end.
All four of the team members said the weight loss challenge was not a temporary alteration in their lives, but a permanent lifestyle change.
When youre looking at a healthier you, you have to apply all the principles, said Ervin, the president and CEO of Carobell Inc. She said the teammates ate healthier and smaller meals and also exercised.
She said the Lighten Up Onslow program offered great coaching tools to help them lose weight and change their lifestyles.
Most of the time were looking for the quick fix, but the quick fix is not the long-term fix, said Ervin, who lost 44 pounds. So the online portion allowed you to get information that not only you could do for yourself, but that you could also carry on to your family. And for me thats a win-win.
Ervin said her children knew she was taking it seriously when she would come home from jogging at midnight, unable to squeeze the exercise into her busy schedule at any other time.
Ervin also said the online forum allowed participants to talk to each other and build one another up on difficult days.
Lettley-Frost said cooking tips on the Lighten Up Onslow website taught her to alter her cooking to more baked and grilled foods rather than fried foods, aiding her in her 30 pound-loss during the challenge.
Butts said her favorite part of the program was the competition aspect.
I just love being competitive and I love coming in first, she said. Thats a motivator to do anything.
Butts, who lost 26 pounds, said she used the Lighten Up Onslow website to watch helpful videos on exercise techniques and how to reduce food intake.
Hazelwood said the whole process helped her lose the weight she gained after her second child. She lost 32 lbs.
Twelve employees on three separate teams from Carobell Inc. participated in this years Lighten Up Onslow, and Ervin orchestrated an in-house competition in addition to the hospitals. For the team that won third place, those employees all received one day off or could trade in that day off for $10/hour. The team that won second place received two days off and team In It To Win It received three days.
Ervin said she wanted to reward her employees for making the effort to become healthier. She also said by being proactive about their health, they help reduce the cost of company health insurance.
Ervin formerly served as the chair of the Onslow Memorial Hospital Board and got involved with the program in that way. She said she is proud of the way the hospital is leading the community in a proactive approach to healthy living.
Amy Sousa, vice president of public relations for the hospital, said the challenge isnt about weight loss alone. Rather, its a program to promote a healthy lifestyle through healthy eating habits and exercise.
The true purpose of the program is to promote health and wellness. If participants learn to have a healthy lifestyle then weve helped make a difference, Sousa said.
This years teams had a combined weight loss of 1,530 pounds.
So many times the hospital is judged by who walks through the door as a patient, and its important to not just be partners in sickness, but be partners in health and wellness, Sousa said.
The top 10 teams were: In It to Win It; The Walking Dead; Waist-ing A-weigh; Desang family, the Weight Is Over; The Fatty McFattersons; Thin It to Win It; OCS Enlighten and Lighten II; Jollys Girls; and OCS Enlighten and Lighten I.
Lighten Up Onslow is a free program open to any team or individual in the community who wants to participate.
The next Lighten Up Onslow program begins Jan. 20, but area residents can access resources promoting a healthy lifestyle at anytime by going to lightenuponslow.org.
- ^ lightenuponslow.org (lightenuponslow.org)
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