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Take the OurSkinny Challenge

Shanta Hayward is a triage nurse at Optim Healthcare in Savannah, Georgia. She's been an LPN for over 15 years, and spends her time taking care of others, which means she sometimes forgets to take care of herself.

When Shanta's employers issued a challenge, offering $500 prize for the four-person team that lost the most weight, she decided that she was playing to win. "I actually started the challenge to win the money,” Shanta admits, but when she lost 19 pounds in four weeks, and her focus began to shift.

All of a sudden money wasn’t the most important thing.

"Before the challenge, I would get up and go to work Monday through Friday and come home really tired. I would have trouble getting off the sofa on Saturday, and all you want to do is stuff food in your mouth." Things started to change for Shanta once she started losing weight. Today, she has more energy, she looks and feels great.

Even her teen-aged daughter is impressed: “She says she’s got a jazzy mama now!

EVEN NURSES NEED A REMINDER 

Shanta was quick to explain that, even working in health care, she would sometimes forget to think about her own health.

"Nurses are the worst,” Shanta laughs. “We are the kind of people, we wait until something happens, because we think we can fix anything, but of course we all know that losing weight keeps your cholesterol down, keeps your blood pressure down, and decreases your risk of diabetes."

Other things we know: it is a well-documented fact that healthier employees are more productive. It is also true that obese employees experience higher levels of absenteeism due to illness than other employees. For Shanta, weight loss has had an almost immediate impact on her energy level at work, and no wonder! All of a sudden her knees didn’t hurt anymore.

The benefits of weight loss have made a difference at home, too: “Now that I’ve lost some of the weight, I am thinking on Friday about what we are going to do on Saturday.”

“We are out and about, me and my daughter." "We actually went shopping, trying on clothes, and that is something I got away from. We go out to eat. We go walking now and we went bowling for the first time in six or seven years. I have even been swimming at the Aquatic Center.”

WEIGHT LOSS AND KNEE PAIN 

There is plenty of research to suggest that losing weight can reduce discomfort in your knees, often delaying or even eliminating the need for surgery.

Shanta has seen similar results in her patients over the years, and, in fact, her aunt had recently had knee surgery: “She was scheduled for knee surgery, and her doctor said she needed to lose some weight first." Shanta says. "She lost 60 pounds on OurSkinny and was back up and running in six weeks’ time.” Despite the fact that her aunt had succeeded on the program, Shanta was skeptical.

“I didn’t think it was going to work,” she says. “You figure, no diet stuff works! But here I am doing a testimonial and I haven’t had any side effects. It’s awesome."

"The shakes are really good and easy to prepare, but the most important thing about OurSkinny is that it changed my cooking at home all the way – all the way – and it's made me pay attention and read labels now, whereas before I wouldn’t bother.”

As for fitness, she is getting there. “For now, I will race my heart in place. Just stand in place and walk. My goal is to start the treadmill this week and then in two weeks the elliptical.

WEIGHT LOSS AT WORK 

Sometimes that’s what it’s all about: motivation. OurSkinny developed the “Live the Whole Thing” Challenge to help promote workplace wellness. So in addition to her OurSkinny coach, Shanta had a team of co-workers pulling for her.

“They are my motivation!" she says of her co-workers. “I have to dedicate my success to them, because we sort of antagonized each other, saying, ‘Eat that if you want to!’ ‘Go ahead and eat that!’ reminding each other aware of what we are putting into our bodies. I don’t know if I would have been this successful without them.” 

Last year, in the fall, Shanta went on a cruise for her 40th birthday and she’s going again this fall. She can’t wait to compare the photos. “I enjoyed myself last year, but I was a fat little girl," she says. "Now I am sexy!" “My biggest goal now is just to stay healthy."

"I have learned so much thanks to OurSkinny, thanks to my coach Jackie, and thanks to my co-workers. They are my inspiration. They rock! And I got the wakeup call I needed."

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