Chunky Dunkers stay on task

Anne Kazmierczak
Register Reporter

Register/Anne Kazmierczak
Allen County Hospital Meltdown teams Chunky Dunkers 1, 2 and 3 are trying to edge out the competition in time for next Saturday’s final Meltdown weigh out. Chunky Dunkers 2 are one of the top four “losing” teams in the competition, having lost 100 pounds thus far. Pictured from back left are: Stefanie Anderson, Jessie Morrison, Sharon Weeks, Lisa Griffith, Lorie Jarred,Sandy Marvin, Charolette Murry and Marcia Holliday. Front from left, Dawn Montgomery, Joyce Heismeyer, Jamie Powell, Patty McGuffin and Johna Lederhouse.

Like petulant children passing the blame, most of the 21 members of the three Allen County Hospital Chunky Dunkers Meltdown teams pointed at ACH CEO Joyce Heismeyer and said, “Joyce made us join!” when asked what motivated them to participate in the countywide health initiative.
“I invited them to participate,” Heismeyer corrected while the women laughed.
“Joyce challenged us to lose 200 pounds,” said Patty McGuffin, of Chunky Dunkers 3.
“I felt we were a large enough representation of the community that we could do a tenth of a ton,” Heismeyer said, referencing the overall 2,000 pound weight loss goal of the countywide program.
In addition to the Chunky Dunkers, hospital employees are melting down on teams for Curves, the Presbyterian Plowshares and a dietary department team, Picture us Thin, Heismeyer said.
“It’s good for us as health care people to serve as an example to the community,” she added.
The three Chunky Dunkers teams are separated only because of Meltdown team size limits, the women said. Meltdown teams have a limit of 10 members apiece.
“There were 21 of us, so we were forced into breaking ourselves apart,” Heismeyer explained.
Chunky Dunkers are now teams of six, nine and six members — no one seemed sure why they divided that way. But they all remain loosely affiliated, considering themselves part of one giant team.
Still, had they to do it over, they would have done more, said some.
“I wish we would have gotten together more often,” said Marilyn Miller. “If our whole group could have gotten together once a week, even for 15 minuets, it would have helped,” she said. “Now I think, we’ve only got seven more days — we’d better get serious!”
The women reflected on the Meltdown Web site, meant to be a motivator and connector between participants.
“I went on the first two weeks then stopped,” said McGuffin. Logging onto and finding information on the site was difficult, the women said.
Those who did find activities on the site participated in some of the classes offered. “I went to a cooking presentation one night,” said Johna Lederhouse. “I like that they provided activities like low-impact aerobics,” she said, but like many, she didn’t have time to get to the early-evening classes.
One activity some of the women found fun — but difficult — was the Meltdown’s Zumba class.
“It was hard even for someone in good shape,” said Lederhouse. Even so, many on the team said they stopped going as the summer season heated up and family obligations took precedence.
The teams admitted they lost motivation for a while.
“I forgot we were in this three or four weeks ago because the hype wore off,” said McGuffin.
Lorie Jarred went on vacation and came back less melted down than when she’d left. “But then I got to walking once I got home,” she said, and began the Meltdown again.
The women suggested ways next year’s Meltdown could keep them on task. Required weekly weigh-ins would help, they suggested.
What else would keep them on task?
“If someone were looking over my shoulder at the scale with me,” laughed Heismeyer.
“Just to be accountable,” said Jessie Morrison.
McGuffin suggested Thrive Allen County (the Meltodwn’s primary sponsor) and the stores on the downtown square work in conjunction to have a weigh-in/sale night.
“If Thrive could stay open one evening, you could come weigh in then go shopping on the square,” she said. And then eat at local restaurants, the women laughed.
In order to renew their interest now, the Chunky Dunkers joined another hospital weight loss incentive program. Modeled after TV’s “Biggest Loser,” a score of ACH employees signed on to a four-week weight loss pool. “We started Monday because we knew this was winding down and some of us needed a push,” said Patty.
“We each put $5 into the pot, so that’s incentive to keep going,” Lisa Griffith said.
For Marcia Holliday, living in Kansas itself is reason to continue on the weight loss path.
“I saw a report on the overall health of the counties of Kansas,” she said. “Out of 105 counties, Allen County was the 94th worst in overall health.”
Many of the women said they needed look no further than around their own table and their own work place for inspiration, though.
Dawn Montgomery “has been so diligent and committed to the cause,” Stefanie Anderson said of her teammmate. She has lost 40 pounds so far, she said.
Montgomery looked to the kitchen crew. “Gayla Thompson in the kitchen, before all this started, lost a lot of weight just by counting calories.” Others mentioned cook Patty Knavel, who began her weight loss program after nearly dying of complications from unchecked diabetes. Knavel and Thompson are still melting down.
As are the Chunky Dunkers. Together, the three teams have lost about 150 pounds. Chunky Dunkers 2 lost 100 pounds, and teams 1 and 3 have lost approximately 25 pounds each, the women said. And they want to lose more.
After their “Biggest loser” poll ends in mid July, “We’ll do it again,” Griffith said. “That’s the plan.”