Losing weight is rarely fun or easy, but winners of the Truckload Carriers Association's inaugural Trucking's Weight Loss Showdown proved that it can be done.
From left: Jeff Bone, Cline Wood Agency; Tom Liutkus, TravelCenters of America; Carl Bailey, Hirschbach Motor Lines; Linda Moran and Kathy Ayers, Lindora Clinic; Terry Leahy, Hirschbach Motor Lines.
A special awards presentation recognizing the Showdown's individual and company winner was held recently during TCA's Safety & Security Division Annual Meeting in Norman, Okla. Jeff Bone, southwest regional sales manager for Cline Wood Agency Inc., of Leawood, Kan., presented $2,500 and a trophy to Carl Bailey, the overall individual winner. A truck driver for Hirschbach Motor Lines of East Dubuque, Ill., Bailey shed 58 pounds, or 26% of his body weight.
"I am in awe of what Carl has accomplished," says Tom Grojean Jr., CEO of Hirschbach Motor Lines. "He was certainly not one of our larger contestants, but his being able to lose so much body weight shows that anyone can do it. His effort heightened awareness and energized our company to being healthier."
It wasn't until halfway through the contest that Bailey learned that a prize for one individual winner was being offered. "Sure, I thought it might be nice to take home the cash, but losing those pounds made me feel like I was winning anyway," says Bailey, who plans to buy a new cell phone with the money and use the rest to pay off some bills. "I feel great and sleep much better. Hopefully this will prove to other drivers that this can be done."
After the individual winner presentation, Prime Inc., Springfield, Mo., was recognized as the Showdown's company winner. Its team lost a total of 353 pounds, representing a 15% drop in the team's collective weight. Don Lacy, director of safety, accepted Prime's trophy from Tom Liutkus, vice president, marketing and public relations for TravelCenters of America of Westlake, Ohio. TA has donated $13,000 worth of StayFit commercial-grade exercise equipment for Prime's employees' use, and it will also give individual members of the team TravelCenters/Petro restaurant and food gift cards or certificates with a collective value of $3,000.
"This puts action to the call for health and wellness; we take it seriously," says Robert Low, president and founder of Prime inc. "We cannot just talk about it, we have to do it. I am really proud of our team for leading the way for our company in this area."
TCA's Trucking's Weight Loss Showdown brought together teams of 12 drivers and staff from 11 carriers to determine which individual and which company could achieve the greatest percentages of weight loss. During the course of 10 weeks, participants followed the Lindora Clinic's Lean-for-Life program, which is based on a low-carbohydrate, low-fat, moderate protein menu plan coupled with exercise, nutrition education, and lifestyle changes. Competitors received weekly phone calls from Lindora's coaches, who educated them on nutrition and behavioral changes, helped boost morale, supported them through personal challenges, and recorded weight loss.
Beginning July 1, TCA will be accepting applications for a second Showdown that will kick off National Truck Driver Appreciation and Wellness Week, Sept. 16-22, 2012. For more information, go to www.TruckingsWeightLossShowdown.com.