For several years now. H-E-B has been hosting a contest designed to inspire the community in a healthier direction. The Slim Down Showdown event is in its fifth year, and bigger than ever. RDBA interviewed Stacy Bates, MS, RDN, LD, CDE RD Programs Manager, H-E-B Health and Wellness Nutrition Services about the details of the program and how retail dietitians are inspiring and supporting their local communities.
Can you tell us a little about the event?
In 2010, H-E-B made a commitment to our employees, who we call Partners, to help them become healthier and live longer. In 2012, we made the same commitment to our customers and the communities we serve. As a part of this pledge, we began our first community Slim Down Showdown (SDSD), a contest designed to give participants the education and tools they need to lead a healthier lifestyle. The success of the contestants, combined with the excitement generated within the community, showed us we were on the right track.
In 2015, H-E-B has named 35 community members and employees (Partners) from across Texas to participate in the 2015 Slim Down Showdown, bigger and better than ever as it marks its fifth anniversary. The H-E-B Slim Down Showdown is a 14-week contest designed to provide contestants with the education and tools they need to live a healthier lifestyle, and the chance to win cash prizes.
In the Community Contest, 15 community contestants were chosen to compete for a Grand Prize of $10,000 and a Healthy Hero prize of $5,000. Community members will embark on a life-changing journey alongside 15 H-E-B Partners who are eligible for a separate Grand Prize of $10,000 and a Healthy Hero prize of $5,000.
As part of the 5th Anniversary Celebration, H-E-B has selected five “Second Chance” Partners (employees) who have previously participated in a past season of Slim Down Showdown. The Second Chance winner will receive $2,500.
What were some of the major learnings over the years?
We have learned that this program can provide sustainable health changes within our employee population. Tracking year over year we can see the value in total health improvement from programs, such as the Slim Down Showdown Challenge & Contest.
We have also learned that there is a great need and desire from other companies in Texas for us to share our learnings and provide insight and structure to help them build similar programs as they work to improve the lives of their own employees.
What are some of the ways you get the entire community involved?
This year marks the first time the SDSD community challenge and contest have overlapped. The community SDSD challenge provides Texans (and even those beyond Texas) with the ability to follow-along with the SDSD contestants and take part in the health improvement journey. This challenge is offered online at no cost to community members and really allows contestants families, friends, coworkers, and communities to rally around them and support their contestants in this journey.
Our contestants also host community events to engage community members to be more active and to choose health. These events can range from group exercise to walking groups, in-store educational tours, free second Saturday health screenings, cooking classes and more.
How are the H-E-B retail dietitians involved?
The H-E-B retail RDs are the backbone of the SDSD educational component. The RDs serve as health coaches for the contestants in their 14 week journey and beyond. H-E-B RDs also attend Fit Camp, and Midpoint educational session and trainings to help build and grow the knowledge of each of the contestants to fuel them for success.
They have also been imperative in developing, refining, and maintaining the educational content that is SDSD.
What are some of the tools available to contestants that make this so successful?
Educational presentations/slides; facilitators guides for those wanting to teach the content to coworkers, schools, etc.;, fitness plans, weekly menus, and recipe plans with complete nutritionals; activity sheets, nutrition tip sheets, and videos.
What do you think makes the event so successful?
Slim Down’s success I think relates back to the credibility of the information being provided. It is a whole-health approach to wellness and truly engages and inspires community members to get involved. The history and outcomes of the program speak for themselves in regards to how they have improved the lives of those who have participated in the program through education, empowerment, and inspiration to choose to live a healthier lifestyle.
Stacy Bates is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with over 7 years of experience in nutrition communications and education. A dynamic presenter with a diverse background in adult education, clinical dietetics, and nutrition marketing, Stacy brings a broad range of professional experiences to enhance her nutrition and communication skills.
As previous owner of Gruene Nutrition LLC, Stacy offers a background with strong skills and experience in medical nutrition therapy implementation and direct to patient education. Stacy has served as a food & fitness blogger, healthy cooking coach, and spokesperson, offering ways to quickly and confidently help individuals and families improve their healthy lifestyles. Stacy has also worked with food companies as an ambassador, spokesperson, and leader in health innovations. Stacy demonstrates with passion how food can enhance health and well-being.
Stacy received her bachelors in Nutrition Science from Texas A&M University and completed her master's degree in Human Sciences with a minor in Adult Education from Texas A&M University in Kingsville. Stacy currently resides in New Braunfels, TX with her husband, Colin, and two sons, Luke & Clay.