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News > Hanscom gives a lot of TLC
Hanscom gives a lot of TLC

Posted 11/4/2010   Updated 11/4/2010 Email story   Print story


by Sarah Olaciregui
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

11/4/2010 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass.  -- For the second year in a row Hanscom has been named the Air Force Materiel Command's small base with the most losers. Fortunately, losing is good when it comes to weight and Hanscom lost the most during the 2010 Team Lean Challenge.

The Team Lean Challenge is an AFMC initiative designed to promote weight loss for healthy living. Individuals are encouraged to form teams of at least five members. The idea is that with direct support, along with a spirited competition, people will be encouraged to live healthier lifestyles and lose weight.

Kelie Grassie, a dental assistant for the 66th Medical Squadron, was one of the TLC participants. The direct support was what she needed and, as a result, she lost 10 pounds during the competition.

"I needed somebody to push me to do more than I would on my own," she said. "I went to classes at the gym and participated in group PT with the dental group."

After signing up for TLC, participants conducted an initial weigh-in and signed up for an account on AFMC's wellness website, www.afmcwellness.com.

Throughout the competition, participants could log in their activities on the site and keep track of exercise and weight loss.

Senior Airman Becky Annison made sure to keep track of her activities on the website, but didn't want to know how much weight she was losing during the process.

"I weighed in at the beginning and at the end," she said. "I knew there was going to be a difference, but I wanted it to be a surprise."

At the final weigh in, she found out she had lost around 10 pounds.

By the end of the competition 26 teams, comprised of 36 civilians and 42 active duty members, dropped a total of 423.7 pounds. The average team weight loss was 16.3 pounds and the average percent of weight loss was 2.6 percent.

The individual recognized as losing the highest percentage of pounds - at 10 percent -- was Tech Sgt. Richard Staples.

The winning team, comprised of Tom Leeds, Maj. Ron Reinertson and Lt. Col. Johnathan Fitton and called "Stranger Things Have Happened," averaged a 5 percent weight loss.

Mr. Leeds, from the Aerospace Management Systems Division, never even met his two teammates, but was still committed to the challenge.

"Team members supporting each other can be a force multiplier in reaching a goal, even if you don't know the other members," he said.

He knew losing weight by exercising would help control his blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

His teammate, Maj. Ron Reinertson from the Theater Deployable Communication program office, agreed that competition was a huge motivator and forced him to make exercise a priority during the busy workday.

The other team member, Colonel Fitton from the Airborne Network Division, was just healing from an injury around the time TLC began.

"I was at the heaviest I had been in my life and wanted to get back down to a weight I felt was closer to optimal," he said. "I was just getting back into my regular workouts when the TLC started. Since I was fairly confident I could lose enough weight to be measurable, I decided to sign up."

In addition to a winning individual and team, Hanscom's winning unit was the 66th Medical Squadron.

For Staff Sgt. Darron Barnhart, a dental lab technician with the 66th Medical Squadron, participating in the Team Lean Challenge helped him change his lifestyle.

"I started working on my diet, played sports and took part in the Hanscom Olympics," he said. "During the competition, I lost between 15 and 20 pounds. Since then, I have lost around 25 pounds total."

Airman Annison began seeing the benefits soon after the competition started.

"I just felt better, had more energy and didn't want to go home and watch TV," she said. "I wanted to do things."

Although working out was hard, she admits it got easier as time passed and got to a point where she wanted to go to the gym.

"Working out with a friend made it easier, too," Airman Annison said. "Our team decided to get together on Wednesdays for an hour. We would go to the gym or go on runs around the base. After the competition was over, we still kept up our routine.

"The Team Lean Challenge was a good idea. There was a start and an end point, which helped, and other people on my team motivated me."

AFMC's Team Lean Challenge, which debuted in 2006, has proven to be a big hit and some are already looking forward to next year.

"I'm already looking for team members," said Sergeant Barnhart.

The Team Lean Challenge runs from the spring until the fall. More information about the 2011 challenge will be available early next year.

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