Twelve weeks of working hard brings us to the end of the 2017 At Work Fittest Loser challenge.
It was in February that nearly 80 At Work teams took on this challenge. Before my eyes, dozens of these teams committed to living a healthier lifestyle and the results are stunning.
Pounds were lost and friendships were gained.
Emilia Malysko from Clearbrook reflects on her changing mindset: "I remember our At Work 5K. I was really pushing myself to jog more, and when I happened to pass my teammates, they would rise up to the challenge and jog with me. I felt the support for sure.
"After it was completed, one of my teammates said that she was pushing herself more when she saw me pushing myself. All the support from my team, instructors, family, and friends has helped me to get to where I am today, and I can finally start to say, 'I'm proud of myself,' instead of just hearing it from those around me. It's finally beginning to sink in that I can do it!"
Robert Kaczmarek of EMKAY recalls enjoying healthy lunches shared with his co-workers, and surpassing his weight goal of 10 percent lost -- 21 pounds total!
Fellow team member Dennis Gonio describes his favorite Fittest Loser moments as working out at the Push Fitness boot camp with his team, having his picture in the paper and hitting the mark of 25 pounds lost.
"From exercising, to eating healthy, to juicing we've come a long way," said Adriana Eloiza, of team Wildphats from Wheeling High School. "As a team we have encouraged each other to try new methods to helping each other lose weight and be fit. Some of us have joined a gym for the very first time in our lives, some have done their very first 5K.
"Although we've had some week moments where we've caved on our cravings, we continue to stay positive. We've enjoyed working out together, keeping each other in line and being a support system to each other. We'll see how weigh-in goes, we might not come out the winners, but at least we've built some lasting relationships and have made some positive changes toward our improving our health. We are TEAM WildPhats! #dropthemic"
On Tuesday May 9, many of the teams will gather under one roof for the Fittest Loser Finale celebration at Chandler's in Schaumburg. The top three teams with the most percentage lost will take home prizes.