Monday, April 11, 2011

Weight loss program teaches students healthy habits

Weight Loss
Sharayah Lewis, 17, pushed the pedals on the elliptical machine at a breakneck speed, chatting about her boyfriend and school and weight loss just a little bit faster.

She’s slashed her pop consumption to two to three cans per day. She’s cut portions and slowed down while eating.

“When you’re eating too fast, it makes you still think you’re hungry,” Lewis said, explaining a nutrition fact she learned a few weeks earlier. “I’ve cut back on the ranch too.”

She paused and took a long sip from her water bottle.

“And make sure you drink water when you do.”

After weeks of working out and watching what she ate, Lewis hadn’t lost weight. With only a few weeks left of the Take It Off program, Lewis wanted to make her effort count.

The program connects students at Kelly Walsh High School with a personal trainer, a registered dietitian, a counselor and a gym membership. Students voluntarily commit to the 10-week program with doctor approval. Those services would cost about $550 per week, but a grant and memberships donated by the Flex Complex fitness center allowed Kelly Walsh students to participate at no cost.

Kelly Walsh piloted the program in fall 2010 with great results: all participating students lost weight, one girl lost 4 percent body fat, school attendance increased. Eight students are participating this semester. One has lost at least 25 pounds, a requirement of her goal to join the Air Force.

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