CBSN

Sheriff's department loses 1,047 pounds

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is shedding some unhealthy habits and unwanted pounds as part of a weight loss challenge, which pitted uniformed deputies against office staff.

Sergeant Jessica Brothers, an 18-year veteran of the force, lost 50 pounds over the last 13 weeks.

"When I look in the mirror now or see a picture of myself now, that's the person I always thought I was," Brothers told CBS News correspondent Bigad Shaban. "I was having aches ... and as I'm getting older I just had no idea that all of the weight had snuck up on me."

Healthy meal planning and daily exercise helped Brothers lose about 20 percent of her weight - the biggest drop of any of her uniformed colleagues participating in the 10-week competition.

The Lindora Clinic offered the weight-loss program to the department for free, allowing 43 participants to lose a total of 1,047 pounds--that's an average loss of about 24 pounds each.

Angelica Tzec is the department's wellness coordinator and says about half of the agency's 1,800 employees are obese.

Shaban asked her, "What kind of difference has this made?"

"People just feel good," Tzec said. "They're better workers, they're healthy, they inspire others around them to also participate."

The Sheriff's Department plans to recruit more deputies to compete in the challenge next year. For now, Brothers is enjoying her new uniform, now three sizes smaller than her old one.