BY JOE KUHN
The ShopRite of Tallman recently concluded its annual “Biggest Winner Challenge,” a series of nutrition and wellness trials that encourage employees to make healthy lifestyle changes.
Guided by the Registered Dietitian Johna Mailolli – a full-time employee of ShopRite Tallman, available for consultation to the public free of charge – eight participating employees took part in the 3-month challenge. The eight winners worked to improve their eating habits, put time in working out and vowed to get in better, healthier shape.
All told, the eight employees lost a combined 84 pounds, with the two biggest winners by far losing the bulk of those 84 pounds.
This year’s Biggest Winner was Greg Ingham, a dairy manager who has worked at the store for eight years. With guidance and support from hMailolli, Ingham made minor life changes that compounded into major results. All told, he lost 45 pounds in three months.
“I did simple things, like using Portobello mushrooms as bread when making a sandwich,” Ingham explained. “I also switched to a high protein diet and tried to avoid carbs.”
The program also helped him fix his sleep schedule and drastically reduce his calorie intake. “I used to eat between 3 – 4,000 calories a day. That numbers is down 1,000 and I feel just as full.”
Cathy Sweeney, another participant in the challenge, credited the program with improving her health and energy levels.
“I love Shop-Rite,” declared Sweeney, who lost 29 pounds by improving her diet and following a tough workout regimen recommended by Mailolli.
Sweeney praised Mailolli as “an awesome addition to the store.” She believes the dietitian has had a “tremendous” positive impact on the business and the community.
Mailolli has been with the company for over a year and a half and was the first registered dietitian to be hired at the Tallman location. Her nutrition philosophy is simple: “Nutrition and health are about what you do in the long term; you need to look at lifestyle improvements as long term investments.”
Whether it’s providing healthy meal plans, cooking nutritious lunches or running the “Biggest Winner Challenge,” Mailolli has played a growing role in keeping her coworkers and the community healthy. She is one of dozens of retail dietitians to have been introduced at various ShopRites throughout the region as part of the supermarket’s public initiative to support healthier living.
Mailolli, like other dietitians in the ShopRite program, provides free planning sessions for any customer looking to overhaul their diet. She also reserves one day every month to help her coworkers set up plans for healthy eating.
Mailolli has been a dietitian for seven years and recently was honored for her work by the nonprofit Produce for Better Health Foundation. The dietitian congratulated all of the participants in this year’s competition, asserting that “there is no better prize in life than your health.”