Though the focus of the competition is on losing weight, the main goals of the weight loss challenge issued by Whirley go much deeper than just that.
According to Dave Engstrom, who has lost more than 85 pounds himself over the past 20 years, "the main goals are not just weight loss, but also healthy eating and a healthier lifestyle. Weight loss is good, but not if you gain it all right back."
In order to help accomplish these goals, Shelly Wells, of Blair, will be leading fitness classes throughout the course of the challenge. In addition, group walks will be held and nutritional information will be provided by dietician Agnes McKenna once a month at Warren General Hospital for everyone who participates.
The program will run for 12 weeks starting with an initial weigh-in followed by bi-weekly weigh-ins until the end of the challenge.
This is the first year that Whirley has included other businesses in the area.
"We've been doing the weight loss challenge at Whirley the past four years, but this year we thought 'what could we do differently?'," said Engstrom. "We thought outside the box and came up with the idea to make it a corporate challenge."
This year, the gauntlet has been thrown and four local businesses have accepted the challenge. Betts, Blair, Northwest Savings Bank and Warren General Hospital have all agreed to field teams to battle it out for the title of Warren's healthiest weight loss champion.
"The hope is to try and put up a scoreboard or thermometer somewhere in town so people can know the score," added Engstrom.
To sweeten the deal, all of the businesses have donated $500, creating a prize pool that will award the top five overall winners based on greatest percentage of weight loss and the top winner from each company as well. In addition, the company who has the highest overall weight loss will receive a cash prize.
"The contest is not just for those who feel they are overweight," Engstrom stressed. "It's for anyone who wants to learn about a healthier lifestyle, plus every bit of weight lost helps out for the overall company challenge."
Initial weigh-ins will be held Jan. 7 through 11 at each participating facility and winners will be announced at the end of the first week in April.