Mechanical contractor develops fitness challange for employees.

Three members of the “Weight and See” team participate in the monthly weight checks as part of Grunau Co.’s “Biggest Losers” weight-loss competition. Design engineer Jessica Rauch (left) and HVAC engineer Rachel Donnelly (right) look on as CAD coordinator Brian Buske checks his weight.
OAK CREEK, Wis. - Employees at mechanical contractor Grunau Co. have lost more than 230 pounds since Jan. 17 as part of a weight-loss challenge.

Twenty-seven employees formed teams called "Weight and See," "The Fat Pack," "Been There, Done Fat" and "Six Pack," and started working together to lose weight. Each team hopes to drop the largest percentage of weight over three months to be named Grunau's "Biggest Losers" for 2005.

The contestants have their weight checked at the company every four weeks. To lose weight, many participants increased the amount of time they spend exercising, while others have changed their diet. Some are avoiding second helpings at meals, drinking more water and watching their portions.

Don Mateicka Jr., tool equipment manager, has lost 10 pounds by avoiding his daily doughnut habit.

"I was surprised by how much junk food I really ate," he said. "Now I'm going to eat fruit instead of junk food."

The competition allows for teams to tempt each other with not-so-healthy treats. Christine Owens, executive assistant, said she has received multiple Snickers bars in her mailbox from other teams. Owens hasn't given in to temptation though, sending the candy bars back to the offending parties.

The winning team will be announced during a lunch ceremony and will receive a cash prize.

"We want our employees and their families to learn from these programs and understand the benefits of a healthy lifestyle," said Paul Grunau, company president and CEO. "The company will benefit from employees' improved health through increased productivity and efficiency. Hopefully, in the future, we will benefit from reduced medical insurance premiums."