Low Country Shrinkdown--Part I - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

02/06/06

Low Country Shrinkdown--Part I

Did you make a New Year's resolution to get in shape and shed some pounds? A lot of us did. But January 9, more than 1,200 people throughout Beaufort County took an extra step when they signed up for the county's first ever "Low Country Shrinkdown," a free eight-week program sponsored by the YMCA, local hospitals throughout the county and the University of South Carolina Beaufort.

Through workshops and reading materials, organizers are hoping to defeat obesity and related diseases. The whole idea is to help people build a healthier lifestyle with healthier foods and exercise.

Over the past three weeks, a couple ladies we've been following have really been shedding the pounds. As part of the program, all participants weigh in every Friday, and it seems every week, they both tell us they're not only losing weight, but gaining a lot of knowledge to help keep it off.

Weight is a battle Linda Funk has been fighting most of her life. "This is my motivation to not gaining any more, me to know where I was," she said, showing us a picture of herself at her heaviest. "I was ready for a wheelchair. I was diabetic, turning diabetic. I don't want to go back to that woman."

Four years ago, Linda had gastric bypass surgery and lost 140 pounds, but recently she's gained some of it back. She says this Shrinkdown was the answer to her prayers.

"I knew dieting wouldn't work for me," she said. "I've done lots of diets and I've always failed. I figured, this time I'm just going to do sense."

And since the kickoff, she's been reading up on the program's literature, trying to change her eating habits and making more of an effort to get to Curves to exercise.

"It was hard to get back, so joining this has committed me and motivated me to get back on track," she told us.

But for Linda, it's about getting her whole family on track. Although all her children are grown, they and her grandchildren usually get together for Sunday dinners. "My goal is to change a lifestyle to be healthier and to affect my family with it."

Melody Annis is also taking on the Shrinkdown challenge, but at the kickoff she told us her motivations are a little different.

"There's many factors that are pushing me to be here today," she said. "One of them is my daughter is getting married in October in Las Vegas and I want to be thinner. And I won't see her until then, so I want to surprise her."

Beside shrinking her dress size, Melody also wants to get healthier. "I'm here for obvious reasons, and I want to get healthy," she said. "I want to start the new year outright and this time it's for real."

After making the decision to make these changes, the moment of truth: the weekly weigh-in. Linda lost two pounds, and Melody dropped nine pounds.

"I cleaned out my pantry and stocked it with healthy foods," said Melody. "That's what I'm doing and I'm limiting myself to 1,200 calories a day and it's working."

After the first weigh in, Linda said her eating habits continued to improve, but confessed she hadn't been sticking to her exercise plan like she had hoped. "I didn't go to Curves as often as I'd like, but I pulled out my old 'Sweating to the Oldies' tapes and I'm having fun with that."

Although she didn't lose as much as she had hoped at the next weight-in, Linda was proud of her progress. "I've lost a pound, but I feel like I lost a lot more in inches because my belly feels flat and I have more energy," said Linda.

As for Melody's second weigh-in, she lost another two pounds. "I've done everything the same since the day I started, January the 9th," she said. "I'm learning portion control. I've cut out a lot of foods that I never thought were bad but I'm realizing they were horrible for me."

The third weigh-in also went well. Both ladies continued their losing streak. Linda lost a pound and Melody lost two. The next weigh-in is Friday, so next Monday and every Monday this month, we'll be updating you on their progress.

WTOC's Jaime Dailey is also participating in the Low Country Shrinkdown and reports losing six pounds so far, as well as learning a lot and making it to the gym more often.

You can find more about the program online at:

www.greaterbeaufortshrinkdown.com

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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