Kenneth Worley decided it was time to watch his calories and become active after he learned during a physical exam that he either had to lose weight or else.
"First of all, I started watching what I was eating," said the 46-year-old Beaulieu of America employee. "I was so big, I walked from the door to the parking lot and I was out of breath."
Since going from 356 pounds to 250 pounds, Mr. Worley said he now can walk around the building of the company for 20 to 30 minutes. The support he has received from his co-workers and friends has played a big role, he said.
Beaulieu of America is among several companies participating in the Community In-Motion initiative of the Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership that encourages Whitfield and Murray county residents to report any activity they do, which is then converted to miles.
This year the goal is 3 million miles, up from 2 million last year. Beaulieu challenged its employees to log 2 million, up from last year's goal of 1 million, which they accomplished by October, said Patricia Flavin, senior vice president of marketing for Beaulieu.
The company has a Be your Best team that provides resources for employees to be healthier and designated areas for walking, which CEO Ralph Boe sometimes leads, she said.
Between January and February, Beaulieu employees logged a total of 239,058 miles, according to a news release.
"The best part about it is that anyone can do it and it's free," said Alissa Donahue, marketing coordinator for the Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership. "It doesn't matter what sort of activity you do. You don't have to be an athlete, anyone of any age, any size, health, status can do it."
* Participants can report any type of exercise, from gardening to swimming, which will be converted into miles.
* A goal of 3 million miles is set for 2010.
* Participation is free.
* Call 706-226-9255 or visit nwgahealthpartners.org.
Wendy Jaynes, marketing manager at Beaulieu, said the challenge has motivated her entire family. About four times a week, the family walks around its home for about an hour, reporting seven to eight miles a week.
"Both my husband and I are overweight and we realized we need to be good examples for our daughters," said the 42-year-old mother of girls ages seven and 13.
"I think it's great if you can get everybody to get on board," she said.
Mr. Worley said he already enjoys the benefits of losing weight and being more active.
Last year, he logged more than 1,500 miles and, during his last physical, the borderline diabetes, high cholesterol, enlarged heart and liver problems he had been diagnosed with were gone.
"I feel great," he said.