Our Current Stories on Caring for Our People

Wellness Program

Biggest Loser Is a Winner

Biggest Loser Is a Winner
How much weight can you lose in 13 weeks? That was the challenge presented to employees at Nordstrom's Southern California distribution center during a "Biggest Loser" competition in summer 2011. The competition is part of Nordstrom's ongoing Take Care Wellness Program that encourages employees to take steps to live healthier lifestyles.

"Our goal through the "Biggest Loser" was to improve the health and well-being of our people," says Deann Day, Human Resources manager for the facility. "This contest grabbed everyone's attention. We had 24 teams of four compete, or more than 40% of our total staff. Combined, they lost 592 pounds – and our top 10 biggest losers lost 273 pounds!"

The A Team

The biggest loser, as far as tipping the scales, was Felipe Santos, a systems support technician. Even though Felipe spends most of his work day on his feet, going up and down stairs and from one end of the building to the other, he knew prior to the competition that his weight was a concern.

The "Biggest Loser" contest gave Felipe just the incentive he needed to commit to making a serious lifestyle change. He partnered with three coworkers to form the "A Team," named after the old TV show.

Felipe also set an individual weight goal. Since he and his teammates worked different shifts, Felipe relied on his wife for support and encouragement. "She focused on cooking healthy recipes and helped me resist seconds at dinner," he said.

He stopped frequenting fast food places, started drinking lots of water and ate three sensible meals a day, supplemented with healthy snacks. Felipe also bought an elliptical machine and began working out for 30 minutes a day, five to six times a week.

Seeing the Results

Felipe and his "A Team" finished in second place overall, losing a combined 6.6% of their body weight. The winning team, "The Leap Frogs," lost 10.5% of their body weight. Felipe won the individual competition for losing the most weight.

Felipe says the benefits of weight loss are many. "I've gotten so many compliments on my new appearance," he said. "Before, all my shirts were either XL or XXL and when I bent over, one of my buttons would usually pop loose. Now I wear a size large and a 34-waist pant, instead of a 36. I had to buy new clothes, but it was well worth it."

Better yet, Felipe's health has improved. "During my last checkup, my doctor called me an inspiration to her."

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