PETOSKEY -- Some Northern Michigan businesspeople are walking around a bit lighter after participating in a recent weight-loss competition.
The "Win by Losing" program was hosted locally for the second year in a row by the Health Care Task Force, a committee of the Petoskey Regional and Harbor Springs Area chambers of commerce, in cooperation with statewide organizer Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
Officials from Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Petoskey chamber paid a visit Friday to the winning team, from Michigan Heart & Vascular Specialists of McLaren Northern Michigan.
Nine people from that office participated in the competition, together losing 124 pounds for a weight-loss percentage of 6.87 percent. Michigan Heart & Vascular Specialists' showing earned it first-place recognition in Northern Michigan and second-place overall in the state.
Each member of the winning team received a $50 gift card from Boyne Resorts, a local sponsor of the competition. The business also will be offered a free sponsorship at an upcoming Business After Hours event hosted by the Petoskey chamber.
Team members with Michigan Heart & Vascular Specialists credit healthier eating and increased exercise for their weight-loss success. A couple of team members credited apps on their smart phones as good motivators and guides as well.
Members of the winning team included Michelle Watson, Laura Medsker, Teresa Eberly, Sara Petrowski, Ashley Westover, Sandy O'Neill, Krista Cook, Sarah Herron and Melanie Bingham.
Last year, only 10 teams from the region participated in Win by Losing, and that number jumped to 30 in 2013. Helping to boost that number were 13 different teams from McLaren Northern Michigan.
"Blue Cross is delighted to have so much participation from Northern Michigan," said Donna Ludwig of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
She noted that teams from this region comprised 29 percent of all participating teams in the state.
"The incentive of the Boyne gift cards and the promotion by the local chambers really created some excitement for the competition," Ludwig added.
Finishing second locally was the team from Circuit Controls Corporation, with a weight-loss percentage of 6.27 percent, followed by McLaren Northern Michigan Cheboygan Campus Radiology at 5.95 percent. Rounding out the top ten were Northern Lakes Economic Alliance, Bearcub Outfitters, Wii Not Fit -- McLaren Northern Michigan, Preston Feather Building Centers, McLaren Northern Michigan Chunky Monkeys, Internal Medicine of Northern Michigan and McLaren Northern Michigan Cheboygan Campus.
Although not among the highest percentages, the Northern Michigan team with the biggest weight loss was the team from the Odawa Casino, which lost 459 pounds.