(Photo courtesy of

by Fallon Witte

Seventy Mount Saint Mary College (MSMC) students, faculty members, and staff are participating in a 10-Week Weight Loss Challenge, which runs through Apr. 11.

Health Services is hosting the challenge to give participants support and incentives to become more conscious about what types of food they consume and to be aware of portion sizes. Participants are also encouraged to increase daily exercise.

Health Services is impressed with the amount of students, faculty, and staff that wanted to take part in the Challenge.

The program is set up for two different winner brackets. There will be a winning team of students and a winning team of faculty and staff. The contest winners will be determined by the highest percentage of weight loss after the 10 weeks are complete.

Health Services has provided many incentives for competitors. The winning student team will receive various gift cards and merchandise from the Campus Store and the faculty and staff winners will be provided with a healthy lunch from a local restaurant.

Participants work together in teams of four with a few teams even naming team captains.

“The people that are doing it are definitely into it,” said Doreen Bischof, director of Health Services. “It is designed for teams for a purpose, and that is because teams motivate themselves from within.”

Health Services has promoted many of the Kaplan exercise programs. They hand out a weekly newsletter titled “Making Smart Munching Choices,” consisting of healthy recipes, workout tips, and a website of the week.

Participants are encouraged to download free apps on their smartphone to keep track of daily caloric intake and exercises.  Some of the free applications include My Fitness Pal, Spark People, and Fooducate. The weekly newsletter also provides a list of songs for participants to listen to while exercising.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the benefits of regular physical activity include weight control, prevention of health conditions and diseases, mood improvement, a boost in energy levels, better sleep, and positive effects on one’s sex life.

This is the first Weight Loss Challenge at MSMC.

“I believe it is a really good program to help people get the jump-start they need or just the boost to stay healthy,” said senior participant Courtney O’Day.  “This program has definitely given me more motivation.”

There will be a midpoint check at the end of week five. Students weight will be taken and the percentages of weight loss will be determined to tell which team is in the lead.

To calculate the percentage decrease in weight loss, first subtract the current weight from the previous weight and then divide it from the previous weight. After this, multiply the answer by 100.

“I know that I am part of a team and I don’t want to let the team down with not losing weight,” said O’Day. “I don’t want to let myself down either. We are all contributing and we do not want to disappoint.”

O’Day’s team goal is to become healthier and reach their individual goal weights.

MSMC’s 10-Week Weight Loss Challenge is free to join for students and $5 for faculty members and staff.