As Old Man Winter finally loosens his grip on the thermometer, the faculty and administration of one metro Detroit school district are ready to preview their sleeker summer selves.

More than 125 Oakland Schools’ employees slimmed down during the district-wide Let’s Lose a Ton Challenge, shedding more than 1,000 pounds in just three months. The competition, which kicked off just after the New Year, was hosted by the district’s Wellbeing Committee in conjunction with Ulliance, a Troy-based provider of human resources services that includes the Life Advisor Wellness offerings available to Oakland Schools’ staff.

While participants lost eight pounds on average, those with the greatest percentage of overall body mass loss at the final late-March weigh-in were challenge champs. Montez McDonald, who works in campus security, took individual honors by dropping 14.57 percent of his body mass, while a female duo took team honors for shedding 8.10 percent.

The Let’s Lose a Ton Challenge was born out of Oakland Schools’ pledge to Get Lean in ’18 and featured individual goal setting, team support groups and lunchtime sessions featuring nutrition tips, weight loss science and recipe exchanges. Videotaped presentations were shared with participants across the district’s eight buildings. Ulliance supported the effort by providing access to a registered dietician, regular e-mails with encouraging messages, a dashboard that enabled participants to easily track progress and prizes to reward mid-way progress as well as final results.

As someone who had never tried to lose weight, McDonald found the competition challenging, “I learned a lot about myself mentally and physically,” he said. He coupled his diet with daily walks up to 10 miles and a regular regimen of sit ups, planking and bench pressing at home. He found the experience to be beneficial. “I learned the importance of discipline, teamwork and encouragement from co-workers to keep me focused and on track.”

“I have so much more energy and am definitely more ‘on’ than I’ve been in a long time,” said another top placing finalist. “I am in it for the long haul.”

Those and other responses from challenge participants reinforce the 13-member Oakland Schools’ Wellbeing Committee’s mission. The team of ambassadors from all district departments – led by Stephanie Mattei, the district’s benefits and leave coordinator – meets monthly to set and facilitate plans and challenges to guide employees not only through the physical, but the emotional and financial aspects of wellbeing with the ultimate goal of a happier, healthier and more productive workforce.

About Oakland Schools
Established in 1962, Oakland Schools is one of 56 intermediate school districts (ISDs) in the state of Michigan. ISDs are regional service agencies offering support services to school personnel that are best delivered regionally, as measured by cost, size and quality advantages. Oakland Schools is an autonomous, tax-supported public school district governed by Michigan General School Laws. The mission of Michigan’s educational service agencies (ISDs, RESAs, RESDs) is to provide visionary leadership and quality services to strengthen teaching and learning for all citizens. In Oakland County alone, 28 local school districts and a growing number of public school academies and nonpublic schools serve more than 211,000 students. Oakland Schools works with these districts and schools to help each one preserve its unique identity, respect its special needs and deliver quality educational programs to every student in Oakland County.

About Ulliance, Inc.
Ulliance, Inc. (Ulliance) is an international service company headquartered in Troy, Michigan. For nearly 30 years, Ulliance has been providing human resources services including employee assistance programs (EAP), wellness programs, training programs, organizational and leadership development, coaching, career transition services, and crisis management to more than 260 organizations across the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America and Europe serving nearly one million people. Since 1990, the Ulliance team has assisted organizations of various sizes to greatly reduce behavioral healthcare costs while increasing employee productivity and retention. For more information about Ulliance, please visit www.ulliance.com or call (866) 648-8326.
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