Scales tip toward BES in fitness challenge

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 16, 2002

They happily stood on the scales and watched as the pounds cameoff in recent months, and a winner was declared Friday.

Brookhaven Elementary School faculty celebrated a sweet victoryover the staff members at Mamie Martin Elementary School when NurseRosie Oates let it be known that BES participants had lost the mostweight .

“It’s over, but they don’t want to quit. They want to keepgoing,” said Oates of the participants.

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More than 50 people joined in the fun effort to get in shape andstay in shape. The BES team lost a total of 312.25 pounds, whilethe Martin team shed 141.50 pounds.

Each found a plan they could live with in order to cut somepounds. Some chose diets, healthy foods and exercise on their pathto success.

“One of my secrets was a lot of prayer,” said Sharlene Banks,who lost 31.5 pounds. “I also tried to make sure I ate every meal,but I did not eat a lot of carbohydrates. I drank plenty of waterand I exercised.”

Oates pointed out that most of the teachers and faculty membersat the schools chose similar regimens. She was pleased that so manymade the switch to healthy lifestyles.

Despite the sting of defeat, Martin Principal Danita Hobbs wasexcited about the overall turnout of the competition.

“We had lots of people who lost weight and lost points in bodyfat,” she said. “If even one person changed their lifestyle, it wasworth it.”

She agreed with other participants that the most beneficial partof the fitness challenge was how much they were educated abouthealthy eating habits and exercise.

Linda Payne at BES has asked for a whole new wardrobe forChristmas after losing 28.5 pounds and going from a size 12 pantsto a slimming size six the last few months.

“I wanted my weight to be down when I hit 50 and my birthday wasSaturday,” said Payne with a smile. “I know it’s harder to loseweight when you’re older, so I’m glad I did it now.”

She really enjoyed giving some of her old clothes away to familymembers and even making a few dollars at consignment shops thismonth.

The most important part about losing the weight for Payne wasthat she didn’t have to give up her favorite foods, she simply atesmaller portions. Her average of 10 miles a week on the treadmilldidn’t hurt either.

“I can’t stick to a diet. I consider that a four-letter word,but this I can stick to,” she said.

Payne, like many others, planed to continue her fitnesschallenge even after the contest ended Friday.

Participants agreed that if they continued to give and receivethe same support for each other, they could accomplish anygoal.

Even though the first few weeks were marked with defensivestrategies, such as sending donuts, bear claws, cookies andcinnamon rolls to the opposing team, the participants found it wasbest to stick together to reach a common goal: livinghealthier.

Banks, a central office employee who joined the BES team, saysher weight loss is just the beginning of her switch to a healthylifestyle.

“I plan to continue weighing each week. I want to reach my goalbecause I want to be around for a while longer. I want to behealthier,” said Banks, who plans on losing at least 100 morepounds in her quest.

Some of the participants know they will take some slides overthe holidays, especially during their victory supper. The losingteam will cook a meal for the winners later this month or nextmonth as they all get together to celebrate an overall triumph.