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Jumpstart weight loss resolutions with Group Lifestyle Balance

Kelli KochSoutheastern Med Published: December 12, 2012 12:00 AM
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CAMBRIDGE -- Every year, many people finish up the holiday season with a New Year's Resolution to lose weight -- and for good reason. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two out of every three Americans are overweight or obese.

To help individuals meet their healthy weight loss and exercise goals, Southeastern Med, in conjunction with the Cambridge YMCA, will offer the Group Lifestyle Balance (GLB) program beginning Jan. 8. GLB is a diabetes prevention and education program created to provide a fun and supportive way to learn how to eat healthy and increase physical activity for a lifetime.

"Most weight loss plans are fads that offer short-term solutions to a long-term problem," said Chelsea Masters, RD, registered dietitian at Southeastern Med and a GLB Program Leader. "Many people find these plans impossible to stay on for a lengthy period of time. Group Lifestyle Balance offers a positive change in lifestyle, where permanent weight loss and maintenance is a result of enjoyable exercise and diet. By balancing food intake and exercise, you can achieve your ideal weight."

In 2012, Southeastern Med offered three GLB classes to the community. To date, the 57 participants have lost more than 670 pounds through tracking food portions, calories, fat and physical activity. At the midpoint blood draws, participants who had high cholesterol at the start of the program improved an average of 31.2 points. Those with borderline high cholesterol improved an average of 27.9 points, and those with normal levels improved an average of 22 points.

Kathy Kraizel, 58, of Byesville, joined GLB in March with the support of her cousin, Marie.

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"Marie and I were on our way shopping when she stopped by the hospital to sign us both up for the Group Lifestyle Balance Program," Kraizel said. "I had never heard of the program until she twisted my arm that day to register. I am now extremely grateful to her for pushing me in the right direction."

Since joining the program, Kathy's blood readings and weight began moving in a positive direction. To date, she has lost 46.5 pounds, improved her cholesterol level by 38 points and completed her first 5K by walking in the Cambridge Main Street/Classic Ford 5K Run/Walk.

Each GLB class offered by Southeastern Med is led by a health care professional who completed the GLB training workshop provided by the University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Prevention Support Center. The goals for each GLB participant are to achieve and maintain a weight loss of seven percent, and to safely and gradually increase to 150 minutes per week of moderately intense physical activity similar to a brisk walk.

The group schedule includes 22 sessions during a 12 month period of time. The initial 12 sessions are held weekly with the remaining sessions gradually fading from weekly, to bi-weekly, to finally monthly.

"The weekly meetings with weigh-ins and the expectation that I monitor my own activity and calorie intake was just what I needed," Kraizel said. "The educational materials we received were extremely helpful and pertained to real situations. It's encouraging to be with a group of people whose stories and struggles were familiar. I realized I wasn't alone."

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The new GLB class will be held weekly on Tuesdays from 4-5 p.m. for 12 weeks starting Jan. 8 in the Community Education Room at the Cambridge YMCA.Participants will receive a binder with class materials, a Calorie King and Carbohydrate Counter, a pedometer, an exerband, as well as pre, mid-point and post blood work.

To be eligible for the program, participants must have one the following conditions:

High blood pressure;

Pre-diabetes or history of gestational diabetes;

High cholesterol or triglycerides; or

Overweight with a body mass index (BMI) above or equal to 25.

The fee for the class is $40. Financial assistance is available for those who qualify. Class fee does not include a membership to the YMCA.

A YMCA membership is not required to participate in the GLB program.

GLB is an education and support program, and all physical activity goals will be completed outside of class. For more information about the class, call 740-435-2900.

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