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Here’s more of what individual members of the winning “Lose to Win” team had to say about their 12-week competition, which ran from last September into December (Read more on Pages 8-9):

Donna Tschantre – 2013 team captain

I lost 30 pounds. I have more to lose and know it is not an easy road ahead. It is so easy to gain weight and so hard to lose weight! As I get older, I know this extra weight is hurting me. I have tried many different diet programs. I lose weight but always seem to go back to the old way of eating and not exercising. I have to make a true lifestyle change, forever, not just for 12 weeks.

I sit in front of a computer at work. When I was thin, I worked in a Tops store and I was on my feet, walking and moving all day. I was active, and took the time to go to a gym and exercise. I gained so much weight when I had my children. They’re 22 and 20 years old, a long time ago! Life was busy, working and taking care of two kids; no time for myself. But there are no excuses. I must exercise every day. If I commit to exercising every morning at 6 a.m., I always do it. And I feel better throughout the day. I cannot eat all the things I want to eat. It’s about staying away from sugar, bad carbs and processed foods, eating more vegetables and healthy foods every day. The cravings are gone. It does take some time. I have high blood pressure and a history of heart disease in my family. My goal is to get off my blood pressure meds, and once again be healthy, and thin. I have focused more on activities, less on food. The support of my family, and my co-workers helps so much. The push to get started and see results also helps. When I see progress, I stick with it and keep going.

Rod Bauer – 2012 team captain

The team concept worked very well, because it was us against all other teams in the company. The first year, we all wanted to finish No. 1. At the halfway point, we were in second place but we really bonded together and it paid off.

Last year, Donna did a great job in pulling us together. Donna asked us to make up a goal, and that really helped. My goals were simple: No eating between the three meals a day, so make each meal well-balanced and good (that means no birthday cake, no ice cream and no chocolate); park as far away from the building as possible, (let the other people have the front parking spaces, they will not win the contest); cut out diet soda, except on Sunday mornings; cut down on carbs.

As for exercise: Start on the elliptical at 4 miles each session and add a tenth of a mile each week for 12 weeks; walk a minimum of 30 minutes during lunch, as long as it did not rain four days per week; go to the gym four times a week and add a fifth if necessary; lift weights twice per week and add a new machine each week.

The time involved was huge, but the payoff was worth it. At the beginning, I was 200 pounds and at the end of the program last year my weight was 167.6; I am 5 feet, 11 inches and 60 years old. I am in great shape and still like to climb in the Adirondack Mountains. In fact, during the contest I climbed three mountains, all over 4,000 feet. I would not have been able to do that without getting in shape.

Joe Walf – the biggest loser

I was 28 when the first “Lose to Win” contest started in September 2012. I joined the “Pricing Six Pack” team because I knew that I needed to lose weight. Also, I am a competitive person and wanted to help the team win.

My sister-in-law shared with my wife and I the weight-loss success she experienced by reading the book ‘The 17 Day Diet.” My wife and I both decided to give it a try. I used the nutrition principles from the book during both years of the contest. Also, I knew that I needed an exercise plan. In the past, just a change to my diet was not enough. I wanted the convenience of exercising at home, so I … ended up using Rushfit, by Georges St-Pierre. I started with the eight-week beginner program knowing that I was not in very good shape. The combination of diet and exercise worked tremendously. After the 12 weeks of the first contest, my weight was lower than I ever remembered.

The positive reactions from my family, team members, and co-workers helped keep me motivated. It was a strange feeling at first to hear people call me skinny, but now it helps reinforce the healthy changes I have made. Getting healthy allowed me to participate for the first time in the Chase Corporate Challenge in Buffalo and Syracuse, and the Tops 5K in Williamsville. Also, this past summer I started to play tennis and was noticeably quicker while playing basketball.

I decided to participate in the second “Lose to Win” contest to continue my weight loss. I was motivated to retain the “Lose to Win” trophy cup for Tops. I am so happy that I have lost 72 pounds since the start of the first contest. It feels good that I will be starting my 30s healthy.

Rick Greene – broke a big barrier

I lost 38 pounds during the last contest, and ended up just under 200, at 199.8. Getting below 200 was my goal, since I had not been that light since I joined Tops nearly four years ago.

This contest helped me focus and put both elements together at the same time: diet and exercise. I have always been fairly active, but diet has usually been my downfall. To me, by far, the team competition was the key to our success. Having the scale in the department and having a weekly team bet raised the stakes. Tops adding the incentives with $100 prizes and an extra day off also helped.

Timing of this contest was perfect, because I had just finished in a men’s basketball league, where I knew my performance would have been better if I was lighter and in better shape. In addition to five to six days a week at the gym, I was running another 20 to 25 miles a week above and beyond those gym workouts during the contest. I had spreadsheets where I tracked my weight weekly and my exercise regimen each day and week. It was incredible how much more energy I had to exercise. At home, my girlfriend and I also planned meals and portions much more, while eating out less. At work, we have instituted another inter-department goal to not gain weight back, now that the contest has ended.

MaryAnne Boncore – faced obstacles

I ended up needing hip surgery and have had a hard time the last five months. I’m having the surgery in April. I’m 62. I plan to be back on my bike by June. I ride around my new neighborhood in Cheektowaga, near the (Diamond Hawk) golf course. I think our weekly contest helped. I won once. I could still diet but I couldn’t walk around the block. My diet was based on Weight Watchers. We also started making our own sort of V8 juice.