SOME Tamworth hospital staff have entered 2013 fitter, lighter and healthier, after shedding 106kg last year during a weight loss challenge.
The biggest loser was Ward Three registered nurse Ashleigh Santos, who lost 17.6 per cent of her starting body weight, making her the winner of $500 in prize money.
It was just 330g that gave Miss Santos the edge on social worker Val White, who lost 17.2 per cent of her starting weight.
But Mrs White still came out a winner – she was one half of the social work/renal unit team that took out the team challenge and another $500, alongside Kim McNamara.
Together the pair lost 11.7 per cent of their combined weight.
Third place in the individual competition was registered nurse Kim Zwegers, who with Cath Bubb in the Connecting Care team, came second in the team challenge.
Another impressive result came from medical records officer Victoria Dillon. Her motivation for joining the challenge was trying to conceive and she has not only lost 7.6 per cent of her weight and come in fourth, she is now 27 weeks pregnant after a year-and-a-half of trying.
The challenge started when Ward Three nurse unit manager Ian Wilson thought he could lose a few kilos, so put a similar challenge to his colleagues, offering up $500 of his own money as motivation.
Director of medical services Barbara Moritz then put forward another $500 for the team winners.
The participants are happy they became involved and say the healthy changes are something they will stick with.
“It was hard at the beginning, but once you just changed your lifestyle it got easier,” Miss Santos said.
She can now run 10km in under an hour, something she said she would not have been able to do previously.
The participants said among the secrets to their success were portion control, cutting sugar intake, increasing protein, exercise, and keeping things varied and interesting.
Joining the challenge and having to be accountable to it kept them motivated, they said, as did the support of fellow employees and participants.
It has not only helped the staff themselves – some said their new healthy habits had also rubbed off on their families.
As for Mr Wilson, despite setting himself the goal of winning and keeping his own money, he said he was happy it went to someone else and was pleased with his own progress, with 12kg and 7.3 per cent of his body weight lost.