St. James Hospital Wellness Team leads weight loss competition

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lutcher – St. James Parish Hospital’s Wellness Committee, TEAM HEAL – Healthy Eating, Active Living – recently revealed the winners of a successful employee weight loss competition.

The competition, a three-month long contest deemed by employees as “The Biggest Loser,” encouraged hospital staff to start living healthier lifestyles by making smarter choices on the dinner table, by moving more and by better managing stress.

“I was excited to hear St. James Parish Hospital was starting a wellness team this year to promote healthier lifestyles. I had been a

victim of the roller coaster diets

and New Year resolutions for

about three years. For me, a little competition is a lot of motivation,” said Jeremy Martin, a team

member participating in the competition.

Employees were required to confidentially weigh-in at the start and end of the competition. The recent “weigh-out” revealed that employees who finished the competition lost an impressive total of 124 pounds, but only one employee could be named “The Biggest Loser.” Employees gathered for a healthy snack as the winners were disclosed. Martin, director of Support Services, was the competition’s male winner, losing 6 percent of his body mass. Felecia Smith, CNA, took home two titles as the female winner and “The Biggest Loser” shedding a whopping 10 percent of her body mass.

When asked about their secrets, Smith commented, “I started eating a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, grilled fish, chicken and turkey. I also do aerobics and walk five miles several times a week. Martin added, “I started off dieting and drinking more water and less carbonated drinks. I saw progress, but realized I couldn’t sustain weight lost on diet alone. I kicked off my exercise plan with running and eventually started biking several miles a week with a group of residents from the parish. This combination has greatly improved my quality of life at work and at home.”

Martin and Smith both won $100 worth of free health-related items of their choice. Smith also received a free one-month membership from Anytime Fitness in Gramercy, but the real win was for the hospital because employees learned tips and tools to improve their overall health and wellbeing. Smith’s success story says it all.

“My hard work paid off. My doctor took me off of blood pressure and cholesterol medications. I now only take vitamins,” said Smith.

The wellness committee at St. James Parish Hospital, known to employees as TEAM HEAL, consists of a group of employees from several departments who meet regularly to come up with different programs and ideas seeking to interest employees in achieving and maintaining a healthier lifestyle.