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Chris Sonnier, a shelf edge process manager at H-E-B headquarters in San Antonio, won the H-E-B Slim Down Showdown Challenge for Employees.
Sonnier lost 53 pounds and nine inches, and won the $10,000 grand prize.
Over the 12-week challenge, the 12 contestants lost a total of 460 pounds and 58 inches and showed off their healthier frames to hundreds of supporters in a dramatic makeover reveal ceremony at Pearl Stable.
Contestants were allowed to choose buddies — husbands, wives, friends and family members — to cheer them on and accompany them on the journey. More than 25,000 H-E-B coworkers followed along via blogs and videos. In addition, H-E-B distributed a “Lunch and Learn” Slim Down Showdown toolkit to all its employees to embark on their own eight-week challenge. More than 4,500 participated, losing a total of 23,000 pounds.
Sonnier’s “buddy,” wife Donna Muth, received a $3,000 prize for helping her husband succeed, and each contestant received $1,000 for participating.
Veronica Diaz, a customer service specialist in San Benito, won the $2,500 Follower Favorite prize, and Albert Moreno, a team leader at the Weslaco Retail Support Center, won the $2,500 Wellness Wonder award.
The contest started in January with a weeklong wellness program at Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas, where contestants learned what foods to eat, how to control portions and how much exercise their body needs to stay healthy. Back home, H-E-B provided them with a therapist, nutritionist, life coach and gym membership to help them stay on the program.
The supermarket chain started the Slim Down Showdown as an internal competition last year, but is taking it public this year in its first-ever community Slim Down Showdown, a 16-week competition beginning in June.
Earlier this year, H-E-B invited Texans to apply online at heb.com and received more than 500 applications. On May 14, H-E-B will announce the 25 customers selected to compete for a $10,000 grand prize and a $5,000 fan favorite prize.
H-E-B operates more than 335 stores in Texas and Mexico and has more than 76,000 employees.