Battle of the Bulge: Workplace Wellness Program Launches at HU
By S. Z. Freeman, graduate assistant, Office of University Communications
The new, leaner Kevin Campbell has slowed down on the mayo—way down. He makes all of his sandwiches with mustard, even his tuna fish sandwiches.
“It may sound weird, but believe it or not it’s delicious,” said Campbell, a 47-year-old HVAC technician at Howard University Hospital (HUH). “Mustard has zero calories so you can almost eat as much as you want.”
Campbell lost 42 pounds in this summer’s Employee Weight Loss Challenge at HUH. Due to Campbell’s and other participants’ success, an expanded version of the program launched this fall.
“We really want to broaden the concept and resource for workplace wellness,” said Denia Tapscott, M.D., professor of medicine and director of the Howard University Center for Wellness and Weight Loss Surgery.
Tapscott said the demand for the fall challenge was strong—more than 100 people showed interest during the selection period—and 20 participants were chosen, twice the number involved in the summer program.
The 12-week fall program, which launched on Sept. 27, will feature a more aggressive fitness component. Darlene Mitchell, an alumna and fitness expert with Thick and Fit Boot Camp, is leading the activities.
Tapscott said the focus of the current weight loss challenge will remain on teaching people how to eat healthier. “There are a lot of variables that play a role in individuals losing weight,” she said. “Some individuals are committed. They attend on a regular basis and follow the recommended eating plan.”
Kevin Lawrence, a 33-year-old HUH employee who participated in the summer program, said he is still getting results. Over the summer, Lawrence said he learned which carbohydrates to eat and how to control his calorie intake.
“I was starving myself previously,” he said about dieting attempts. “I wasn’t eating enough calories.”
Lawrence, who is six feet tall, has returned to his daily jogging and also kept his weight down to 239 pounds, from a high before the program of 279.
For Campbell, who lost the most weight in the summer program, eating zero-calorie mustard is just one lesson from the summer. He said he has become an avid label reader and calorie counter. He sticks to a controlled eating plan: five or six small meals a day instead of large, heavy meals. He also runs and walks throughout the week and plays Active Personal Trainer, a Nintendo Wii video game.
Campbell’s recommended meal plan, though, allows him one break. One day a week is “Splurge Day” when he can eat whatever he wants.
“Sunday is my Splurge Day,” Campbell said. “My wife makes a mean lemon cake that will blow your mind.”
Participants’ progress in the Battle of the Bulge challenge can be tracked at www.huhealthcare.com/BattleOftheBulge/index.html.