Employees at the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity decided to challenge themselves over the holidays and hold a competition to maintain or lose weight.
Lt. Col. Michael Ingram, USAMMDA deputy commander, was inspired with the idea when he went to Vanderbilt University in 1998 to complete a postdoctoral fellowship. Everyone on campus participated in a weigh-in challenge for accountability during a time of plenty of delicious temptations.
Bringing the challenge to the USAMMDA this past holiday season, Ingram enlisted the help of Maj. Mabel Salas, chief of technology transition at the Tissue, Injury and Regenerative Medicine Project Management Office, to help lead the effort.
Twenty participants weighed in the week before Thanksgiving and the week of January 9 with the goal of gaining no more than two pounds or losing weight.
“I was very impressed that the group wanted to participate, and now they want to continue it and check in every two months,” said Salas. “That’s beyond the need to control their weight; they want to change their mindsets and help themselves and their families by being healthier.”
Everyone who won the challenge received a special treat in the form of a healthy breakfast cooked by Ingram, Salas, Deputy Commander for Acquisition Kathleen Berst and Col. Stephen Dalal, commander.
A couple of participants exceeded the competition’s base goal for an advanced challenge to lose more weight than Ingram, established by Ingram himself.
“Let’s not talk about that,” joked Ingram of his loss.
With the competition’s success, Ingram and Salas are envisioning a Weight Watchers-like program for the USAMMDA in the future.
The USAMMDA’s healthy lifestyle initiatives complement the Surgeon General’s Performance Triad plan of promoting sleep, activity and nutrition among the entire Army population.“We’re trying to come up with fun ideas that are not only in line with the Surgeon General’s Performance Triad, but also in some way help with team-building,” said Ingram. “The breakfast especially is a fun team prize.”