Workmates weigh in to meet new goal

Workplace competition, Biggest Loser style

KERRY MCBRIDE
Last updated 05:00 29/01/2013
Moana Fisheries
MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ

GOOD START: Staff at Moana Fisheries are starting the year off Biggest Loser style, with a competition to see who can lose the most weight. The competition was organised by sales administrator Veronica Raukawa, centre, pictured with filleting supervisor Malesi Va’a, left, and driver Jaymie Baker.

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Nineteen workers at a Wellington fisheries company are introducing some friendly competition into the workplace, Biggest Loser style.

Staff at Moana Pacific Fisheries will all be weighing in each month to see who can reach their goal weight the fastest, with a $20 penalty for any weight gain.

The weight loss challenge started from humble beginnings, when sales administrator Veronica Raukawa mentioned to a few co-workers in early January that she was keen to shed a few kilos.

But more and more of the staff said they would join her in her new year resolution, including driver Jaymie Baker, who tipped the scales at 196 kilograms at the start of this month.

Their "before" shots now adorn the walls of the front office. "It's been great," Ms Raukawa said. "Everybody has been so enthusiastic about it and keen to make some real changes.

"I used to work on the boats and you'd be moving round all day, which would keep you fit, but now that I'm in the office I've got to be more proactive about it."

Every participant has set their own goal weight to meet by the end of March, and the company has stepped in to support them, with fruit bowls now arriving every Monday and a small gym set up for staff to use during their lunch breaks.

Mr Baker was happy to have lost 4kg in the first weigh-in yesterday. "I'm doing this for myself and for my kids," he said. "It'll make a huge difference in my life if I can get in better shape."

At 1.95m (6ft 4in) tall, he is the biggest employee to sign up, but also faces a unique challenge - as a driver he is often offered feeds of fish and chips by clients of the company.

"I love my food and my rice, and it's tough to say no when the customers offer you up a big feed. I'm having to eat less and avoid the junk," he said.

But the pay-off would be worth it, filleting supervisor Malesi Va'a said. "It's pretty hard giving up your favourites, but I already feel better about my lifestyle."

LOSING EFFORT BEFORE THE CHALLENGE

Sedentary jobs behind desks, at filleting stations, or driving. Lunches and snacks of fast food, pies, and soft drinks. Lots of rich Pacific food at home, such as taro, corned beef, chop suey. Family members eating similarly, making it hard to diet at home. NOW Small gym installed for staff to use during lunch breaks. Company-supplied fruit bowls a huge hit with staff. Staff reducing or eliminating high-fat foods and cutting meal sizes. Some partners and family members have joined the challenge. Activities such as indoor netball planned for staff and family, and aiming to do the Round the Bays marathon as a team. 

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- The Dominion Post

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