Health & WellnessLifestyles

Shedding COVID weight gain

Lequel Pratt sheds 3.83 percent of her starting weight to win NIB employee wellness initiative

Like most people, uppermost in Lequel Pratt’s mind is losing a few pounds and pre-COVID, she went out there and exercised. Then the coronavirus hit, and she was at home, cooking and eating, and gained weight on top of the pounds she already wanted to shed. Those extra pounds were a motivating factor in her joining her workplace “Biggest Loser” competition.

Pratt, 49, lost 3.83 percent of her body weight beating out 88 New Providence-based participants in the National Insurance Board (NIB) eight-week wellness competition.

“I needed to get rid of that COVID weight,” said Pratt.

“Losing weight just makes you feel great internally and externally. You look better in your clothes, you get a boost of confidence, and you feel better, holistically.”

Winners were selected based on percentage of weight lost. They also had to attend at least one health and wellness session per week. They also were only allowed to participate following a battery of tests – blood pressure, glucose, weight and body mass index (BMI) health screenings.

Knowing that she wanted to shed a few pounds, Pratt said the fact that the initiative was a company collaborative effort was motivating and there was the added fact that she wanted to get back into the jump.

“I wanted to lose some weight, and it was free, so I just decided to jump on, but literally, I was a week late into the competition because initially, I didn’t think I could fit it in. They came by, did the weight and tests, and I thought about it some more and decided I would do it.”

The timing, as far as the time selected for them to engage in workouts, also worked for Pratt. So, after work each day, she would drive to wherever their session was being held to participate, including the Saturday sessions.

“Everyday I went in, I worked super hard; I adjusted my diet and ate very clean for the duration of the competition. Actually, I had fun in the classes, so that helped. I just put my game face on and made it happen.”

Having different trainers offering different workout routines that featured aerobics, weight and resistance training, high intensity interval training (HIIT), core and CrossFit programs, also helped to keep Pratt interested. She most enjoyed the routines by Olympic and World Champion gold medalist Tonique Williams-Darling, which worked no matter what level you were at, in which she said she worked non-stop for 45 minutes.

“When I was finished with her class, I felt like I literally did the hardest work ever, but it felt really good,” she said.

Today, Pratt said she feels “absolutely fantastic” even though she had not gone into the competition thinking she would emerge as the winner.

The mother to a teenager, Gabrielle Pratt, 15, who plays golf and runs track, Pratt said her daughter was excited for her and would sometimes accompany her to her workouts as her scheduled permitted, and would push her mom.

With the program now finished, when Pratt’s daughter is at her practice sessions, she now goes to the track and exercises while her daughter trains.

“I would go out and run the track while she is at practice, so the exercising with NIB gave me the jumpstart I needed and I just kept it going thereafter,” said Pratt.

Shovonia McKinney finished second to Pratt with 2.70 percent lost, and Bonnette Knowles was third with 2.59 percent lost.

Shovonia McKinney, second place finisher, lost 2.70 percent of her starting weight. NATIONAL INSURANCE BOARD

The top three also earned gift cards in the amount of $300, $200 and $150, respectively, in addition to a trophy, medal, and certificate of participation. Pratt was awarded a one-month membership to Outdoor Fitness Bahamas.

Pratt is planning to treat herself to something nice with the gift card. She just has not decided what that treat will be yet.

NIB’s Biggest Loser Challenge was launched during April as part of NIB’s overall employee wellness program under the theme “Healthy, Wealthy and Wise” to promote healthier lifestyles with focus on mental, physical and emotional well-being.

Grand Bahama and Andros-based employees also hosted and engaged in initiatives on the islands.

Grand Bahama’s LaShandra Simmons, Karen Campbell and Shandi Missick lost 16, six, and five pounds, respectively.

Andros participants Lilymae Fowler, Miesha Johnson-Hinsey and Vanria Hanna-Woodside participated in health screenings and walked regularly to successfully complete that island’s Biggest Loser Challenge.

NIB’s Central Benefits Department were the winners of the departmental prize. They earned it by having the most participants attend the various activities incorporated in the wellness initiatives.

Pratt was appreciative that NIB held the wellness initiative for its staff and can’t wait for them to do it again.

“It was a great program.”

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Shavaughn Moss

Shavaughn Moss joined The Nassau Guardian as a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor. Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics. Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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