- Westchester, PA-based integrator Advanced AV won the local Be Well Philly weight-loss challenge, shedding 219 pounds in nine weeks between its 10-member team.
The Advanced AV team pictured at the Be Well Philly Challenge awards ceremony from left to right: Christa Bender, Heather Hoopes, Kevin McGinnis, Mary Anne Wallace, Colleen Leskowich, Dennis Melahn, the emcee for the awards ceremony, Maureen Gochenauer, Dennis Krebs, Pat Launhardt, and the team’s personal trainer. Eric Bixler is missing from the picture. Photo courtesy of Jessica Vermeer Hawkes.
After seeing an ad in Philadelphia Magazine, Advanced AV decided to apply for the contest. As one of six teams chosen to participate, the team went to work exercising more and eating more nutritiously while the magazine provide them with various tools to help, including recipes, weight loss tips, access to a gym membership, and a personal trainer that came to the office, as well as an online tool called MyFitnessPal, which helps track calories and exercise tailored to each person.
“All of us realized that it needed to be a lifestyle change,” said Colleen Leskowich, sales support manager at Advanced AV.
Some of these lifestyle changes included no longer bringing in chicken wings and pizzas for sales lunches.
Leskowich cites the team effort and hard work of everyone together for their success. She sent out regular emails encouraging teammates, and they closely interacted with each other for support. The team really helped motivate each member.
From the start, Advanced AV was at a disadvantage from some of the other teams because they are located about 50 miles from Philadelphia, where most of the contest’s sponsors were. As a result, they weren’t able to take advantage of many of the tools, such as the gym membership or coupons to healthy Philadelphia restaurants. “We would have to lose more weight than the other teams because we didn’t have access to the same help the other teams did,” Leskowich said.
The experience was eye opening, for some of them that had never really learned about proper nutrition and exercise.
Keeping in contact and staying connected was key to the team’s success, Leskowich said. “Just to be a part of something that had nothing to do with audiovisual was neat for us as team to be able to accomplish.”
Since the contest concluded in mid-November, most of the team has been able to keep off the weight.