Incredible Shrinking Staffers 

Last fall, Boise Weekly got an interesting offer to put together a team of four for an eight-week fitness and weight-loss challenge pitting us against teams from other media outlets. Participating teams would get personal training sessions from A2O Fitness, as well as diet counseling and, in exchange for a lot of hard work and sacrifice, they would earn bragging rights and, hopefully, the need to buy some smaller clothes.

When the offer was presented, it was a near-stampede to get to our publisher's office to get on the team. As it turns out, working a stressful job in which you spend long hours hunched in front of a computer, on the phone or sitting through meetings while making meals of whatever happens to be around isn't the healthiest lifestyle.

So, braving public weigh-ins, our soon-to-be-svelte team donned their workout gear and headed for the gym. Proudly representing BW against two teams from Fox Channel 12 were Arts and Entertainment Editor Amy Atkins, advertising account executives Jessi Strong and Meshel Miller and Office Manager Shea Sutton.

The results? Well, they kicked ass while losing their own derrieres. The proud BW team not only won the team challenge­—losing an average of 12.9 pounds and 9.06 inches with an average change in body fat percentage of 4.2 percent—but Atkins took the individual weight-loss title.

She managed to lose 19.1 pounds and 12 inches in just eight weeks—a time period that happened to include the dreaded Christmas and New Year's holidays. The rest of the team was right behind her, with Strong dropping 19 pounds and 12 inches, Sutton taking off 15.1 pounds and 8 inches and the already-thin Miller dropping 1.5 pounds but losing 4.25 inches.

And while they were the ones sweating it out at the gym, returning with tales of physical tortures that haven't been seen since the Spanish Inquisition, and diligently counting every calorie and fat gram, a funny thing happened to the rest of the office.

At first, it was just a matter of no one wanting to flaunt comfort foods or tempt them in any way. Then, we actually started thinking about our own diets and lifestyles. As the team members became noticeably smaller, we started hitting the gym more often and gathering to take walks around the block.

It was fitness by osmosis—or possibly guilt.

Whatever it was, the trickle-down effect of their new healthy lifestyle affected us all in some way, giving many of us that little extra kick needed to get serious about living better.

It's a battle millions of Americans face every day. Despite being barraged by reports of the dangers of being overweight, how most of us will soon be considered obese and how a comfort-food/video-game lifestyle is killing us, we continually find excuses not to work out.

While we know, logically, that the best way to be healthier and lose weight is to eat better and exercise, it just seems like too much effort. We'd rather pop a pill that promises to let us drop those pounds while still eating cake and playing Wii, even if side effects of those pills include the phrase "anal leakage."

Our weight-loss team has led the rest of us by example, proving to be an inspiration each time we start thinking of excuses not to hit the gym: we're too tired, have too much to do or just don't feel like it.

These days, it's more likely we'll suck it up and hit the treadmill or head to yoga class. Yes, it takes a little extra effort and sometimes sacrifice, but in the long run, it's worth it.

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