With the holidays behind and the start of the new year just ahead, many are likely making their resolutions for 2014. Per tradition, many of those New Year’s resolutions center around taking better care of one’s self including losing weight, eating smarter, exercising more, and living an overall healthier lifestyle.
For locals with such resolutions, Sampson County’s Cooperative Extension is once again offering a program — the Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less program — that can help community members keep the health-related commitments they make at the beginning of the year.
Offered for over five years now, the program consists of 15 classes which are held every Tuesday from 12 to 1 p.m. at The Center for Health + Wellness, 417 East Johnson St., Clinton, from Jan. 7 through April 15. Interested persons may register for the program for $40 on Monday, Jan. 6 at 11:30 a.m.
Led by Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent Kim Reid with help from partner Robin Palmer with Sampson Regional Medical Center and The Center for Health + Wellness, the program “teaches you how living mindfully can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight, identifies strategies to help you eat smart and move more, and helps you create new, lifelong habits,” according to the local Extension’s website.
“It’s such a wonderful program,” said Palmer, noting that she was thrilled to partner with Sampson’s Extension office to assist with the fitness aspect of the classes. “I believe in it so much that I wanted to jump on board. It goes along with what we (at The Center for Health + Wellness) are all about.”
During the classes, participants discuss a variety of health-related topics including making the commitment to be healthy, how to plan meals and shop for groceries, how to read food labels, how to determine correct portion sizes, ways to be more active, and much more.
This year, representatives from the local Health Department and Department of Aging will be brought in to enhance some of the discussions, Reid pointed out.
According to Palmer, those talks often turn into “round-table discussions” as the 15 weeks progress with participants sharing their own personal experiences and struggles with one another.
“We’ve had some that wanted to sit through it a second time. They just wanted to be with people who were going on the same journey,” she shared, adding that there are benefits to hearing the information more than once. “You just have to keep reminding yourself (to stay healthy) anyway you can.”
During the classes, participants also weigh in, take time to exercise, and cook something healthy for lunch.
“We cook lunch every time plus we give out lots of tools to help them like pedometers, calorie counter books, stretch bands” noted Palmer. “There’s a lot of tools included in that $40 fee.
“It’s just one of the best programs,” she continued. “It’s simple, basic, and not about dieting. It’s about eating less and moving more and then you’ll weigh less. It’s just that simple.”
According to Reid, many in the community have found the help they were seeking through the simple program.
“We’ve had close to 200 people participate,” she shared, explaining that the program provides the accountability that a lot of people need in order to make real, positive changes in their health and fitness habits. “It keeps you on track.”
Extension Support Specialist Cindy Nance who helps Reid plan the program added, “We have had classes as large as 40; it just varies but there’s been lots of success stories and good results.”
In addition to the Extension’s program, The Center for Health + Wellness is also offering a wide array of its own opportunities and services to help locals live healthier lives and keep their well-intentioned resolutions.
Many of those opportunities and services are free including the Center’s Walk-N-Talk, a time when the Center opens its walking track up to anyone, member and non-member alike, who would like to come out and walk Monday through Friday from 12 to 1 p.m.
Free line-dancing classes, held on Monday nights from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., are also open to the public. “It’s such a fun class,” noted Palmer. “Sometimes there are 30 to 40 in the class.”
Other free services include education classes on “Heart Healthy Living,” “Understanding Diabetes,” and a variety of mental health topics.
“Plus we have all of our classes for members,” Palmer added. “Everything from yoga, strength, step to spinning and water classes…The goal is to help people find what they like to do so that they’ll stick with it.”
Those who are interested in becoming members at the Center and participating in such classes can enroll now through Wednesday, Jan. 15 and pay no enrollment fee, an extra incentive for those making fitness resolutions and looking for ways to keep them.
The Center for Health + Wellness will be closed New Year’s Day. Regular hours are Monday through Thursday, 5 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday, 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.
For more information about the Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Lee program, please call Kim Reid at the Cooperative Extension at 910-592-7161. For more information about The Center for Health + Wellness, please call 910-596-5400.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.