Check out some of the success stories from previous Arconic Weight Loss Challenge Participants!

Tetsuji Tsuneda Cuts Calories, Gains Confidence

Tetsuji Tsuneda lost 11.48 percent of his body weight during the Lighten Up Challenge.

You may try something, and you may fail. But if you don’t try, then you will never know if you could or couldn’t. No matter what the situation, there is always opportunity.

Although Tetsuji Tsuneda, sales manager with Arconic Japan, knew the saying, it was only after participating in the Lighten Up weight-loss challenge that he truly believed it. Tetsuji was one of the top five international finishers for Arconic, losing 11.48 percent of his body weight over the 12-week challenge that ended in May 2017.

Tetsuji’s curiosity about Lighten Up combined with a desire to lose weight spurred him to join the challenge with coworkers.

“I’ve done weight training and cardio exercise for a couple of years, so I added calorie control to my program for the challenge,” he said. “If

you ask me which is more important for losing weight—exercise or diet—I would definitely recommend diet. However, exercising allows you to eat more food, even when dieting.”

Recognizing the difficulty in tracking caloric intake, Tetsuji used a calorie-counting app on his phone. He was also motivated by the progress of his teammates, who kept in constant contact throughout the challenge.

“I have more confidence in myself because I achieved my weight-loss goal,” said Tetsuji. “My new goal is to maintain my weight.”


Lighten Up Winners Leave Nothing to Chance

From walking and eating healthy lunches together to jokingly offering to buy their top competitors donuts, members of team Fat Chance left nothing to chance in their journey to become the US$10,000 grand prize winner in the Lighten Up weight-loss challenge.

The $10,000 winners before and after the Lighten Up Challenge are (left to right)

Kristin Ulm, Greg Ulm, Andrew Martin, Tim Kappler and Tom Sheperd.

Located at Arconic Wheel and Transportation Products’ Cleveland, Ohio, USA, location, the team achieved an average weight loss of 16.59 percent during the 12-week challenge that ended in May 2017.

“We got the idea to join the challenge when four of us were eating a rather unhealthy lunch,” said Andrew Martin, senior process engineer. “We put on the weight together, so we decided we could take it off together.”

They overhauled their diets, incorporating more vegetables and reducing carbohydrates. Each stepped up the exercise, with group walks during the lunch hour a common occurrence. They also kept in constant contact via group texting, sharing their good food choices and exercise achievements.

“Losing weight was easier than I thought it would be once I made some commitments to diet and exercise,” said Tom Sheperd, automation engineer and team captain. “The hardest part was dealing with those one-off cravings. My maintenance strategy is to be really good 80 percent of the time and allow myself to indulge 20 percent of the time. I’d go crazy if I didn’t do this.”

Added Andrew, “I had never set a goal for my health. I would think that I wanted to make better choices and be healthier, but that’s not a goal. You’ll never get to where you want to be with passive attempts to make changes. Set a goal, but don’t make it an audacious one. Break it into smaller goals that you can focus on and achieve. That’s why the Lighten Up challenge worked well for me.”

Steve Lowes’ Lighten Up Journey: Maximum Effort, Maximum Weight Loss

Steve Lowes joined his son and three coworkers from Arconic’s Kitts Green location in the United Kingdom on team Scran Nowt n Nash Aboot in the Lighten Up Challenge that ended in May 2017. He lost 17.8 percent of his body weight during the 12 weeks, exceeding the 16.59 maximum established for the challenge.  

Here, he talks about his journey in his own words.

Why did you lose weight? At 49 years old, I believe my greatest achievements are still ahead of me. However, in health screenings run by the Kitts Green Wellness Team, most of my health metrics were red and worsening. The implications were worrying, so I decided to make a permanent change.

Why did you join the Lighten Up Challenge? I’m extremely competitive, and I like a near-impossible challenge to motivate me. I cannot just count calories.

I also had unfinished business. I had been in the Lighten Up Challenge twice before. On both occasions, the teams’ efforts had petered out.

What is your formula for weight loss? I grew up in one of the most beautiful areas of England near the Lake District, but I’ve spent the last 25 years living in a big city. I’ve gotten my enthusiasm back by going back to nature.

I now eat lots of fresh vegetables, and I’ve eliminated processed foods. I’m not keen on gyms, so I’ve been on lots of walks and bike rides. In doing so, I’ve discovered that even in cities with 2 million people, there is plenty of nature and wildlife nearby.

Steve Lowes before (left) and after losing more than 38 pounds (17 kilograms) during the Lighten Up Challenge.

Did you have difficult moments in the challenge? I plateaued at 12 percent weight loss but thought “it’s now or never” and pushed on to exceed the maximum allowed. I started losing again by increasing my walking, including walking some 16-mile (26-kilometer) stages of the Heart of England Way.

Why was your team highlighted for outstanding engagement? We had very strong team spirit. At the start of the challenge, we set individual goals of 10 percent loss but made a covenant between us of “no regrets.” We would approach the competition as if we were going to win it. We would all make every weigh in, take part in every competition and fight for every ribbon. If at the end we had all done our best in terms of both weight loss and participation, then we had won.

I am very proud of the team. Everyone tried to the end, and our engagement ribbon count was highest in the competition—higher than the overall winners.

Do you have regrets? No. There are only 14 people in Arconic who achieved the maximum weight loss, so credit to the two winning Cleveland teams who between them had 10! It’s really tough.

I’m happy that everyone tried hard and we won our personal journeys. As a father, I’m also proud of my son, who used his new athleticism to lead his badminton team to a league championship and was awarded university colors for sporting achievement.

I would advise anyone to join the Lighten Up Challenge. I had lots of fun.

Eat Less, Eat Healthier, Eat Often Leads Viktor Nemeth to Lighten Up Success

Viktor Nemeth ate less and healthier to lose 12.27 percent of his body weight during the Lighten Up challenge.

The secret behind Viktor Nemeth being one of the top international Arconic participants in a recent

Lighten Up weight-loss challenge? Eat less, eat healthier and eat more frequently.

Knowing he had to lose weight, Viktor joined four similarly minded colleagues at Arconic-Köfem Kft. in Hungary for the 12-week team challenge.

“I didn’t follow any special diet before the challenge but made some changes once I started,” said Viktor, a laboratory technician. “I stopped eating snacks, ate five times a day, cut my portions but ate more fruits and vegetables and didn’t have any food after 6 p.m. I also tried not to use sugar or white flour.”

He and his teammates researched recipes and kept each other on track. As a result, Viktor lost 12.27 percent of his body weight during the challenge.

“I feel more fit, and I move easier now,” he said. “Since the challenge ended, my good habits remain, but I’m not as strict. I’m trying new foods and recipes, which make my diet more varied and interesting. And since it’s summer, I’m trying to increase my physical activity.”

He adds, “Lighten Up helped my teammates and me change our lives in a positive way, but it required strength and courage. It’s much easier to succeed if you have partners to help.”

Lighten Up Winners Reveal Weight-loss Secrets

What does it take to be a winner in the Lighten Up weight-loss challenge? Trim the Flash team members, who placed second in the global challenge, share their experiences and insights. The team is from Arconic Forgings and Extrusions in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Why did you join the challenge?
Michelle Weisman, controller: I had two babies in the past four years and hadn’t gotten around to losing the weight from the pregnancies. I was immediately excited when I heard about the challenge, because I work best in a team environment where you have people depending on you.

Shane Ferguson, senior EHS engineer: I knew that I needed to lose weight to become healthier. This seemed like a fun way to achieve that with the potential of winning some prizes.

What value did you get from being a member of a team compared to doing it alone?

Greg Goga, EHS manager: The support from and comradery with my teammates helped keep me on track and push me to lose more weight faster than trying it on my own.

Spencer McFern, EHS engineer and team captain: The value I got was motivation. You see the results of your team members and don’t want to let them down. All members on my team lost 16.59 percent of their weight, and that’s the maximum allowed during the challenge. My team did great staying motivated and keeping everyone on track.

How did your diet and exercise routine change?

Greg: I changed my diet from primarily meat and potatoes to a low-carb diet. I didn’t realize how many carbs I was eating daily, and it was shocking when I started to track them. I also began working out three to five days a week. I changed my lifestyle so that I could get up and work out in the morning.

Spencer: For my diet, I focused on low carbs. My workout routine was five to six days a week. I would get to the gym at 5 a.m. during the week and focus on high-intensity cardio.

Trim the Flash team members before and after the Lighten Up challenge are (left to right) Shane Ferguson, Greg Goga, Michelle Weisman, Spencer McFern and Meagan Huff. Lance Tritschler (far right) served as the team cheerleader.

What was easier than expected? Harder?

Meagan Huff, EHS engineer: It was a change. I made the conscious decision to participate and change my lifestyle. Most of the days were easy. You just stay on the course. I was never hungry. Some days were hard, such as during social events when you want a piece of pizza or ice cream. The changes in the scale made those decisions a little easier.

Shane: Initially, I was surprised with how fast the weight was coming off. I did hit several plateaus the last month and a half that I had to break through to continue losing weight.

What is your plan post-challenge? 

Michelle: I’ll listen more to my body—when I’m hungry versus eating out of habit. If I eat a big lunch, I’ll substitute in a small dinner with smart choices, which I never did before. I’ll also monitor my weight more closely and adjust if I get out of my targeted range.

Greg: I’m reintroducing some carbs into my diet, but overall I’m going to continue to monitor how much I’m eating. I’m also planning to continue working out in the morning, because I’ve found that it helps wake me up and prepare me for the day without being the energy drain that I thought it would be.

What did you learn through Lighten Up?

Shane: The key to my success is blocking out a weekend morning to prepare meals for the entire week. I did a lot of cooking throughout the process, which I enjoyed.

Michelle: Eating right and working out gave me so much more energy to keep up with my little kids at home! It surprised me the impact it made. I was sleeping better (and less), eating less, and burning energy working out. Yet, I was more energetic all day.

Meagan: I learned to be more conscious about my food choices. I chose healthy foods that are right for my body. When you eat less processed foods, it makes everything feel better. I have more energy and have become more active. I’m impressed with the strength I’ve gained from working out.

Dual Motivation Leads Lupita Santillan to 35-pound Weight Loss


Motivation to lose weight takes many forms. For Lupita Santillan, it was twofold—frustration at always finishing at the back of the pack when running marathons and not finding nice clothes in her size during end-of-season sales.

Lupita, travel expense coordinator at Arconic’s Global Business Services Mexico office, participated in the Lighten Up Challenge to jumpstart her weight loss. She focused primarily on changing her diet (see box below) since she already was jogging regularly and even had trotted—not run due to her weight—through three marathons.

Boosting her running to around 25 miles (40 kilometers) each week and eating heathier were key to Lupita losing 35 pounds (16 kilograms) between February and August 2017. She finished her most challenging marathon yet after losing weight, beating her personal record despite the difficulty of the course.

Lupita Santillan lost 35 pounds (16 kilograms) with the help of the Lighten Up Challenge.

“I feel so much lighter when running now and much better emotionally and physically,” said Lupita. “I finally learned the secret formula where I exercise and eat food that I like yet lose weight. I love it when people tell me how skinny I look when before I was considered chubby.”

She encourages Arconics to sign up for the Lighten Up Challenge.

“Do it for your health and also the excitement of the competition,” said Lupita. “Seeing the standings encourages you to strive every day to reach your personal goal and, above all else, compete with yourself.”

Lupita’s Changing Diet

Typical Diet Before Now
Breakfast Coffee with cookies Strawberry smoothie with amaranth and almonds, turkey and avocado sandwich, or cereal with low-fat milk
Lunch Tacos or hamburger with French fries Salad with chicken or fish
Dinner Flour tortillas and eggs with potatoes or sausage Toast with tuna or two quesadillas with lettuce
Snacks Corn fritters, cookies, sweets or bread Almonds, walnuts, cranberries, fruit and low-fat gelatin.

Heart Surgery Prompts Lifestyle Change for Frank Allen

Frank Allen left the operating room a changed man in September 2016. Not only did he now have four stents in his heart, he also had a strong desire to get healthy.

“According to my doctor, my triglycerides were off the charts,” said Frank, foundry manager at the Kitts Green, United Kingdom, location. “I was very lucky to have the operation when I did.”

Frank is serious about losing weight. He avoids food high in salt, fat, simple carbohydrates and sugar and instead loads up on vegetables and lean protein. He always checks the labels while shopping, and he plans his meals two days in advance. He never misses breakfast and drinks a minimum of 1.5 liters of water a day.

Frank before (left) and after starting on his journey to a healthy lifestyle.

“I also make the gym part of my everyday life,” said Frank. “When I fancy a treat, I just have an extra gym session.”

Frank weighs himself at least once every two weeks and has his key biometrics—blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose—checked on a regular basis. Before changing his lifestyle, he weighed 324 pounds (147 kilograms). As of September 2017, he had lost 65 pounds (29 kilograms) and reduced his total cholesterol by 12 percent and triglycerides by 27 percent. He also saw his blood pressure drop from 128/90 to 107/74.

“My advice to others who would like to get healthy is to start slowly and build up your exercise program,” said Frank, who participated in an Arconic 2017 Lighten Up weight-loss challenge. “If you want to eat or drink something outside of your normal diet, have it in moderation and then put in extra effort at the gym.”