It's amazing what
employees will do for a little extra
Just ask Catherine
Sandifer, an accountant/fiscal analyst II
with the Department of Pediatrics, who
came up with the idea for her department
to do a Biggest Loser contest a few months
"My husband told me
that someone was thinking of starting a
biggest loser program at his office.
I thought it was a fantastic idea and
started asking around the office to see if
anyone was interested. The idea
received some mixed reviews, but once we
had a real plan in place it caught on
won first place in the Department of
Pediatrics weight-loss contest.
The first weigh in was
Feb. 28, which also included an analysis
with a body mass calculator in case anyone
wanted to track that measurement as well.
No stranger to tracking numbers, Sandifer
conducted weekly Friday weigh-ins during a
10-week period and then notified the
group. Participants agreed to weigh in
weekly and pay for pounds gained.
Having to pay helped
inspire people, she said. She sent out
emails each week with the results, the
amount in the prize fund and general
dieting tools and tips.
"Some of the tips I
searched were on fitness/diet sites, but
for the most part people were just sharing
what worked for them. I sent the
group a blank copy of the spreadsheet that
I was using to track our percentages so
that everyone could track their own
progress. As the coordinator I kept
the updates and emails positive and
encouraging. Among the group there
was a lot of ribbing and jokes about
donuts in the kitchen. Watching the
banter was a lot of fun."
Sandifer said one of
the best effects of the competition is
that it got everyone discussing weight
loss and exercise.
"I think it worked well
because we kept it simple, easy and
The initial prize
pot was $210 and the winner took home
$295.40. The group used an application on
their smart phones to measure how far they
walked, which they did frequently
The final weigh in was May 4 with a total
group weight loss of 172.3 pounds.
"Everyone who finished
was a winner as they had either lost
weight or gained muscle."
The results: Katie Castello won first
place and received a basket full of items
provided by Fresh healthy vending;
Sandifer, 2nd place; Mandy Lewis,
3rd. David Geddings was the 1st
place male for most of the
competition. Plans are in the works
for Round 2.
Feeling motivated and
up for some competition? Email
firstname.lastname@example.org if your department is
ready to battle Sandifer and her winning