Turning Goals into Reality
Winner of Biggest Loser Contest Credits Competition, Hard Work and Healthy Eating
Slow and steady wins the race, but a healthy dose of competition fuels the fire.
That was the sentiment among contestants in 2012’s Biggest Loser challenge. The 13-week event created a bond among contestants, established friendships across departments, and, more importantly, jump started healthy lifestyles for 20 contestants.
In all the contestants lost approximately 450 pounds combined. Last night at the big reveal in the Showroom, an event that was open to participants, fellow employees and families, Travis Goff was crowned winner of the Biggest Loser contest.
Losing 60 pounds was Travis’s goal. The weekend attendant at the Oneida Indian Nation Recreation Center was able to turn that dream into a reality – losing 61 pounds to be exact – and earned the $500 top prize.
“My coworker (Cole Perkins, weekend attendant) mentioned it might be a good idea to join this contest,” Travis explained. “My goal was to get healthy, to lose 60 pounds, and use this program to get started.”
The most eye-opening activity for Travis was portion control and healthy eating. He even came up with his own method: Push Away. “You just push yourself away from the table,” he said.
“I like being held accountable for my actions so the weekly weigh-in was very important. The competitiveness was a motivator. When I didn’t see my name in the top three it made me work hard the next week.”
His ultimate goal is to lose another 25 to 30 pounds before a planned trip to Puerto Rico this fall. That and he would, “like to serve as a positive role model on what you can accomplish if you work hard. Nothing comes easy.”
Human Resource Benefits Specialist Michelle Melfi joined the ranks of the losers because she wanted to make healthier lifestyle choices. “This was a really good venue, and we had a good group in place,” she said. “The idea of being in this program the last three months was to jump start the rest of my life. We like to be competitive, and it was a fun competition. I’ve pretty much met my goal.”
Toby Werner, IT customer support technician, echoed Michelle’s comments. “Basically I was tired of looking and feeling the way that I was. I have two children, and I had to start taking better care of myself, to be around for them.”
The busy father of two was surprised most by the way he was eating. “I saw how poorly I was eating, and we learned what a healthy diet was. I was eating a typical ‘American’ diet, pizza, stuff like that… convenience foods. I learned that cooking is a big thing, too. Over and over, you’ve got to cook your own food. You cannot lose weight eating boxed, processed meals.”
For Jackie Carbone, box office manager, the competition helped her stick with the program. “I felt I wasn’t as healthy as I could be, and I gained weight. To do something like this on your own, you can always decide to do it later. But knowing you had to weigh in every week was good for me. You tend to be lackadaisical when you do it on your own.”
Alyssa Bettinger, cage shift supervisor, said what surprised her most was her ability to keep up with the athletic challenges. “Honestly, what surprised me the most was the ability to stick with it, and I enjoyed it,” she said. “I had fun with the challenges, and learned to combine the right foods. We were outside, we were having fun… everyone was having a good time. I lost weight, and I continue to get down to where I want to be. Today, I’m half-way to reaching my final goal.”
“I am honored to be a part of a fitness program such as this, and I’m really proud of all the contestants,” Juliann Haarman, workplace programs manager, said. “I think the Oneida Indian Nation is definitely dedicated to the health and wellness of its employees and the Biggest Loser program is just one avenue of support offered to our team.
“Slow and steady definitely wins the race. That’s what we’re teaching our participants,” she continued. “The goal of the program is to build a solid foundation so the participants can continue to work on their goals. Long term, they have to keep their eye on the prize, if you will.”
Special thanks to the many volunteers who made the program possible. Also thanks to the following for providing support:
Shari Ruffalo, Employee Recognition Coordinator
Debi Childs, Food and Beverage Administrative Assistant
Angela March, Executive Administrative Assistant
Jennifer DiGiorgio, Executive Pastry Chef
Fred Mazza, Skana Fitness Supervisor
Michael Washo, Community Nutrition/Diabetes Coordinator
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