GREENFIELD — “The Right Weigh” challenge kicked off this week the way so many contests like it do – with a step on the scale and a groan.
About 180 people have signed on to be part of the contest organized by Hancock Regional Hospital.
For the next 12 weeks, they’ll receive fitness and nutrition challenges and begrudgingly agree to step on that scale to measure their progress along the way.
The contest is piloting this year as a three-way competition among employees of the hospital, the city and Greenfield Banking Co. Whichever team of employees loses the highest percentage of weight will be declared the winner.
Organizers hope to make it a communitywide event in the future. Stephanie Swann, hospital wellness coordinator, said the hospital has periodically held in-house “Biggest Loser”-style weight-loss contests. This year, she decided to expand the hospital’s effort to help people get healthier through better nutrition and daily exercise.
Too many programs issue a weight-loss challenge and wish contestants luck without providing support for them to meet their goals, Swann said. “The Right Weigh” will involve two weekly challenges, one nutritional and one physical, in hopes of providing more options for healthy living.
The challenges will increase in difficulty with each passing week. This week, participants were challenged to drink 64 ounces of water per day and add 30 minutes to their daily exercise.
But that’s just the start, Swann said.
“It starts (at) the ground level,… and you go from there,” she said. “We’ll have certain weeks where, if God didn’t make it, you don’t eat it. It’s difficult.”
Mayor Chuck Fewell said he believes healthy workers make good workers, and he’s leading by example as one of the city’s team members.
He’s also revved up for a little friendly competition.
“We’re excited, and we’re going to win, of course,” he said. “The hospital probably thinks they have the upper hand. We’re here to tell them that they do not.”
Fewell said he doesn’t have a specific weight-loss goal; he just hopes to shed a few pounds and hopefully lower his blood pressure in the process.
“I’m absolutely going to put my heart and soul into this, and I know the others will, too,” he said. “Competition always makes people try just a little bit harder.”
Fewell said he was surprised by the difficulty of some of the weekly challenges. He balked at being encouraged to drink 64 ounces of water.
“Coffee would have been ideal,” he joked. “That’s a lot of water.”
For Senior Patrolman Chris Borgmann of the Greenfield Police Department, the contest prompted him to change his eating habits and start exercising more.
“I just thought since it was a challenge, might as well do it,” he said. “I’m going to try 20 pounds.”
While the winners will be determined by which team loses the highest percentage, the overall goal isn’t necessarily to lose weight, Swann said.
Swann hopes participants will also become more aware of how they care for their bodies and also form some healthy habits over the next 12 weeks.
“I feel like with these challenges, it makes them really truly think about what they’re doing every day,” she said. “This is supposed to implement healthy lifestyle changes.”
Those who complete the challenges each week will see great results, she said.
She hopes the winners walk away from the challenge feeling better about their health – because the hospital doesn’t have big plans for the victors.
“Just a gaudy trophy and bragging rights,” she said.
An informational meeting about Let’s Talk will be at 5 p.m. Sunday at Mt. Comfort United Methodist Church, 3179 N. CR 600W.