More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Lighten Up Programs Use Small Steps
May 17, 2004
By MELISSA TRUJILLO, Associated Press Writer

MILWAUKEE - There are no complicated diets, expensive workout equipment or rigid personal trainers. For participants in Lighten Up Wisconsin, the lifestyle changes are much smaller — drink one more glass of water each day; eat colorful fruits and vegetables; take the stairs instead of the elevator.

The program, similar to those in 15 other states, is teaching people to make healthy choices in a state where almost 58 percent of residents were overweight or obese in 2002, and cheese, beer and sausage are practically their own food groups.

"It's not such a threatening thing anymore," Sandi Tritz said of dieting and exercising since joining Lighten Up Wisconsin. "They weren't so outlandish like I had to run a marathon."

More than 20,500 people are involved in some form of Lighten Up nationally, said Nicole Mueller, director of health initiatives for Wisconsin Sports Development Corp., a nonprofit sports management organization that runs the state's version.

In Wisconsin, more than 1,700 people lost an average of 4.9 pounds midway through the five-month program. That may not seem like much, but health experts say even the smallest improvements count.

"Starting and losing five pounds of weight is better than not starting and gaining five pounds," said Mary Kay Sones, a health communications specialist with the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Lighten Up participants join in teams, which collectively turned in their weights in January and March. A final weigh-in in June will determine the three Wisconsin teams — out of 226 — that lost the most weight, earning them statewide recognition and medals.

"We never see their individual weight," Mueller said. "They don't have to feel so pressured as individuals."

Each week the program sends teams a challenge, such as parking the car farther away from the office or cutting out high-fat salad dressings.

Each challenge eliminates just a few calories at a time, but that adds up, registered dietitian Cathy Alessi said. Changing from a peppercorn salad dressing five days a week to lower-calorie Italian dressing cuts almost five pounds a year, said Alessi, a Nutrition Information Specialist for the Food and Nutrition Information Center within the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"Small changes do take longer, but most of the time people find them more effective," she said.

Melissa Surek has lost at least 10 pounds since starting the program, in part, she said, because she doesn't get discouraged.

"It's something easy enough where you can go, 'Oh, I can do that for a week,' " said the 31-year-old, who works in a Medford health clinic.

Other weight loss programs seemed to set her up for failure, she said, such as requiring 100 sit-ups every day.

"Well, I can never stay with those," she said. "The fact that it's happening little by little, I think it's a lot better."

Tritz, a 53-year-old office worker from Marshfield, appreciates the support she gets from her six teammates, all her co-workers. Her team lost 22 pounds by March, she said.

"I'm finding that we're able to connect with each other," Tritz said. "Sometimes all you need is a glance."

Sones said losing just a few pounds can give people the confidence to exercise more or further improve their diets.

Nowhere is that more evident than in Iowa, said Kim Nanke, special events coordinator for Iowa Games, the nonprofit organization that created the first Lighten Up program in 2002.

Last year, she said, nearly 12,000 Iowa team members completed more 2.6 million miles of activity and lost about 23.5 tons of weight.

On the Net
Lighten Up Wisconsin
Lighten Up Iowa
Food and Nutrition Information Center
 

Attachments

  • depression-and-your-child.w250.jpg
    depression-and-your-child.w250.jpg
    72.7 KB · Views: 41

Similar threads

Jan 31.2008 By Francis X. Brennan, PhD, and Carl J. Charnetski, PhD, Prevention ContentPosting_P : Body & Mind : Health & Fitness : Sympatico / MSN An upbeat outlook can help you prevent colds, flu, and much worse Our friend Bob is probably the most steadfastly optimistic person we've ever met. His hair could be on fire, yet he'd view the blaze as the perfect opportunity to go out for a walk in the rain. Nothing ever seems to get this guy down. He's convinced that everything will turn...
Replies
0
Views
1K
Help Your Kids Lighten Their Load from Americanbaby.com Experts say there's plenty that parents can do to help their kids dial down the stress. Here are some steps you can take right now: 1. Don't force-feed stimulation. Overloading toddlers and preschoolers with structured learning won't make them geniuses, but it may make them anxious, says Indiana University early-education professor Mary McMullen. Instead, encourage imaginative play and engage them in spontaneous activities, such...
Replies
0
Views
2K
These Prescription Assistance Programs May Help You Save Money on ADHD Medication by Devon Frye, ADDitude April 28, 2018 At first, the ADHD symptoms themselves — the distractibility, impulsivity, anger, and shame — were your biggest challenge. But then you secured an ADHD diagnosis for yourself or your child and, after much research and agonizing, you made the difficult decision to try ADHD medication. Though not perfect, this treatment has been a life changer for your family. Then...
Replies
0
Views
6K
When are self-help programs "helpful"? by Srini Pillay, MD, Harvard Health Blog February 02, 2017 For some people, a ?self-help? program can be a useful addition to professional services, or even be enough by itself. Despite the good intentions of the creators of such programs, the degree and quality of research backing up their claims vary. What?s more, people also vary in how well they use such programs. Given the increasing number of books, tapes, podcasts, programs, and apps that...
Replies
0
Views
2K
Anxiety Disorders Association of Ontario: Anxiety and Mindfulness Programs 14-Week Anxiety Management Workshop (Ottawa) The 14-Week Anxiety Management Workshop is offered several times throughout the year in Ottawa, Ontario. The workshop runs for 2 and a 1/ 2 hours on a weekly basis and is facilitated by professionals. 14-Week Program Model ADAO’s approach to supporting people with anxiety is to find ways to reduce and manage their anxiety by offering a tool kit of supportive...
Replies
0
Views
6K
Top