Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

January 13, 2013

YMCA, hospital kick off weight-loss drive

VALDOSTA — The kickoff of a ten-week weight loss contest drew a crowd of health-conscious contestants who lined up at scales and blood pressure checkpoints to assess their physical conditions and improve their lifestyles Saturday in the YMCA’s 2013 Team Lean fitness challenge at the organization’s site.

The YMCA and its partner, South Georgia Medical Center, wanted to start the community off with a healthy 2013, according to fitness director Shelly Toth of the YMCA.

The contest’s goal is build communal bonds and better lives as the participants group together into teams and the organizer’s monitor each group’s progress with ten weekly weigh-ins.

“This challenge is a great way to get everyone in the community involved in living better, and not restricted to members of the YMCA,” said Toth. “We want participants to lose weight in a healthy way, so we have nutrition and exercise classes available here for them.”

The Team Lean challenge is complimented by yoga and boot camp class, according to Toth, and trainers are available around the clock. Laura Fiveash, a registered nurse at SGMC, said she feels the two organizations offer the public a better fitness program, as it’s the reason the hospital merged its “Slim Down Lowndes” program with the YMCA’ new year challenge.

“The YMCA proposed that we join forces few years ago,” said Fiveash. “We did and I think the program actually works out a little better now. We believe that if we’re going to sponsor a weight loss contest, we have a responsibility to educate the people that will participate in it. And the partnership between us and the YMCA enables us combine our resources.”

Linda Sermons, of J.L. Lomax Elementary School’s “Team Lomax,” said she felt she was a bit overweight and the Team Lean challenge offered her a chance to lose a few pounds in the company of three of her co-workers.

“I think this contest will be a good incentive for me to lose weight as I attempt it with some of my co-workers,” said Sermons. “The four of us have all set personal goals and we’ll be comparing them with the goals the YMCA has set for us. I’d like to drop down two dress sizes, but I hope this contest will do more than help me shed some weight. I hope it will lead to a lifestyle change for the better.”

The YMCA will hold the closing ceremony in ten weeks, according to Toth. The winners will be announced and the cash prizes will be awarded to the top teams, but Jody MacMillan, of “The G.I. Joes,” may not realize his prize until much later down the road because of where his motivations lie.

“I’m here because I feel like I’m unhealthy and I want to live to see my children grow up,” said MacMillan. “The primary reason I’m here is because I want to live a long, healthy life. If I continue on the way I’ve been going, I might not enjoy that.”

If the thrill of the contest has you on the edge of your sofa seat, but you have reservations about joining the contest, Toth said she would urge you to hop off of the couch and join in on the fitness challenge before its Jan. 17 deadline.

“Come on in, you can meet with a trainer today,” said Toth. “We’d love to sit down with you and work out a program to kick-start you. Once you get off that couch and get into a program, you’ll start feeling better.”

To register, visit the Valdosta or Lake Park YMCA centers to fill out registration forms. The cost is $50 to enter, $10 for the first five weigh-ins, $1 for every pound gained and $5 for every weigh-in missed.

For more information, contact the YMCA’s Shelly Toth or Cheryl Marshall at 229-244-4646.

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