UCSB’s Maintain Don’t Gain Challenge

February 23, 2016

An Eight-Week Weight Management Challenge

Weight management is a challenging issue for many of us. The average American gains one to five pounds over the holiday season and usually doesn’t lose that extra weight. In November 2014, with the goal of encouraging and supporting weight maintenance and healthy habits over the holiday season, H&RS hosted the first Maintain Don’t Gain Challenge at UCSB in the Santa Rosa Main Lounge. This program has been designed and is supported by Kaiser Permanente. 48 participants (UCSB Faculty, Staff and Retirees) signed up to receive a weekly email with helpful weight management tips and to track their weight for eight weeks. H&RS hosted this program again in November 2015, and this year Kaiser provided our 78 participants with backpacks filled with various tools to help stay on track with eating over the holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year.

Kaiser Permanente provided weekly emails, and H&RS wellness staff scripted a personalized introduction to provide participants with the tools, motivation and education to stay active, eat healthy and maintain their weight from Thanksgiving through the New Year. We also hosted three official weigh in/outs for the Challenge in which attendance was encouraged, but not required. The three face-to-face weigh-ins also included three different presentations from Gerri French, a local Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. Kaiser was the main sponsor for this Challenge throughout the UC system and provided most of the incentives, including a mountain bike to be used as a prize in a drawing at the completion of the program in January.

The good news? Both years a majority of participants either lost weight or did not gain over the holidays: 73% in January 2015 and 90% in January 2016! This year, only 5% gained weight, but not as much weight as they had expected to gain.
Interested in participating in November 2016? Watch for announcements on HomeBase and in the fall edition of the H&RS Wellness Newsletter. Or, mark your calendar on November 1st and contact Ginnie Thomas (gthomas@housing.ucsb.edu or call x5520) to sign up. Read the feedback below for some inspiration!                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   By Ginnie Thomas

Participants shared the following about how they felt the program affected them and what they learned by participating:

  • "Know your plate size and separate your plate as it definitely makes you more conscience of how much you are eating of what…. I am eating healthier."
  • "I really enjoyed the maintain program this year. I thought the dietary information that was presented by Gerri French was fabulous."
  • "I had started riding my bike to work and home sometimes (one way 8 miles) and try to walk around Campus Point each day (2.5 miles). I started this in the “Campus Movement Competition,” which I won. I have continued that, but realized I needed to change my eating habits. In support of this program’s information and consultation with my diabetes doctor, I used the South Beach Diet which contributed to the weight loss."
  • "A great reminder in our busy days to slow down when eating. Two bites is what the taste buds register. After that the taste effect is gone. Cutting down my (homemade) desserts to two bites."
  • "I write down everything I eat and drink daily, I walk a lot more and I’m up to 20 pushups each morning (when I started I had trouble with 10). I cut out milk (other than some cheese- gotta have a slice now and then). I’m eating more whole grains, and I cut way down on breads – if I do eat bread it is 100% wheat. I’m eating more fruit and vegetables and less red meat and pork."
  • "Yes, how many calories are in a margarita!!! YIKES! And other helpful hints to do on Thanksgiving to avoid overeating and feeling like I’m in a food coma! Being a little more conscious of my calorie intake and getting out to exercise more."
  • "I liked the idea of maintaining and being realistic that during the holidays there are so many treats. It helped motivate me to be mindful of what I ate and drank even if I ate and drank. I added even more greens to my diet."
  • "Learned that even with encouragement, it’s difficult to avoid temptation. Being more aware of my choices."
  • " …be mindful in the food choices and eating the right snacks. It just works so well for me just because my work area is always full of unhealthy snacks."
  • " ...(Learned the) need to identify obstacles, to learn what gets in my way of succeeding. This also would go a long way to maintaining or continuing when I do accomplish my goals. I am now cautious of my sugar intake."
  • "I was introduced to the concept of trading foods, little facts about foods and weight loss, e.g., it is safe to lose two pounds per week, etc. I am carefully considering what I eat, is it good for me, how much am I eating, when, etc. I guess you could say I am more “mindful” of what I am doing."
  • "(Learned about) the “3 hour” diet idea where you can recommit to your plan every 3 hours. That might seem a bit excessive, however, I tend to lose willpower in the evening, so I think a similar strategy could be helpful. The holidays are always a difficult time of year for weight maintenance, and while I did gain a bit, knowing that I had signed up for this program helped me refocus when needed."