by Cindy Abole
Each Friday for the past 10 weeks, two numbered tabs on a poster at MUSC’s Wellness Center have been the center of attention.
The numbers on the glossy poster are interchangeable—one represents
total weight loss (weekly), the other a running total of pounds
lost by individuals involved in the Fall 2009 MUSC Healthy Charleston
The numbers reflect the achievements of some of Charleston’s biggest
losers. There’s no shame attached to this distinction. The numbers
reflect efforts made by approximately 60 people and more than 350
Tri-county residents who achieved weight loss success that makes
Wellness Center program director Janis Newton proud.
“It's exciting to witness the transformations made by many people as
they establish healthy lifestyle habits that will be a permanent part
of their lives through the Challenge,” said Newton. “It isn’t easy to
change a habit—it takes hard work. It’s much easier to put a Band-Aid
on the problem, but these individuals have embraced this process and
traded in their unhealthy habits for newer, healthier ones.”
For the fourth Challenge, these men and women, working in 11 sponsored
teams, committed themselves to collectively lose more than 1,173 pounds
this session and 7,029.4 pounds combined weight lost in the
two-year history of the Challenge.
Team Total Approach celebrate their first place win Nov. 19.
On Nov. 19, teams
gathered for the final weigh-in and learned about this year’s top
teams: first place—Total Approach Wellness & Performance Training
(13.28 percent weight lost and 208.5 total pounds lost); and
second—Louie’s Kids (12.66 percent weight lost, and 194.6 total pounds
Teams achieved this through steady exercise and healthy eating,
accountability, new skills and the guidance of a professional team
which included fitness trainers, dietitians, exercise physiologists and
a program clinical psychologist to assist them in weight loss and
developing healthy lifestyle habits.
The first place team received $100 each, a massage certificate from
Center for Therapeutic Massage, gift certificate from Jason’s Deli and
a gold pass to Charleston County Parks & Recreation (CCPR).
Individual winners for total percentage weight loss: Curtis Acheson
(Jason’s Deli), won a bike from Trek Bicycle Store in Mount Pleasant,
and Blair Christie (Total Approach and Anderson Insurance) received an
autographed NFL football from legendary quarterback Joe Namath donated
by Joe D. Bands.
The teams were: Anderson Insurance Associates, Center for Therapeutic
Massage, CCPR, CADI, Louie’s Kids, Total Approach Wellness &
Performance Training, Charleston Moves, Jason’s Deli, Joe D. Bands,
MUSC Boot Camp and the Ovie Mughelli Foundation.
“Collectively, these participants have lost several tons,” Newton said.
“This translates into fighting several forms of chronic disease. Each
participant has redefined their future and what healthy, active
lifestyles look like.”
Fighting the odds
This weight loss and activity program, which started Sept. 11, was the
right fit for the Challenge participant and business sponsor Kevin
Phipps, 40, owner of Carolina Acoustical & Drywall, in Charleston.
With a history of heart disease, high cholesterol and other chronic
diseases running through his family, Phipps struggled to follow his
doctor’s advice of shedding some weight and exercising. It wasn’t until
he learned that his own children, Marissa and Timothy, were diagnosed
with high cholesterol that he committed himself as a role model for his
Phipps attended two, six-week summer MUSC Boot Camp sessions and was
hooked. He committed to joining the Boot Camp 1 team for the fall
Challenge and emerged 30.6 pounds lighter after three months.
“I loved both the boot camp and the Challenge experience—the education,
team camaraderie, experienced trainers, nutritionists and other
professionals available to me,” said Phipps. “It brought another level
of accountability that really made the difference for me. I feel it’s
one of the easiest ways to achieve weight loss in a life-changing,
habit-forming experience. It was more than I expected it to be.”
College of Nursing instructor Jane Anderson, of second-place team
Louie’s Kids, echoed her satisfaction in the program through team
involvement and measurable results.
“Participants have many lines of support with a team trainer and other
specialists,” said Anderson. “I tried other popular programs like
Weight Watchers, the Beverly Hills Weight Loss Program and my own
attempts to eat healthy, but wasn’t very successful.”
Anderson praised the leadership of team trainer Catherine Stephenson,
as well as MUSC mentors Sheila Smith, Teresa Kelechi and Laura
Cousineau. “Completing the post-test measurements was an exciting event
for me,” said Anderson. “I know the number of pounds lost that I
achieved, awareness of baggy clothes, etc., but to see the drop in my
BMI [body mass index] out of the dreaded obese range and percent
decreases in body fat and inches lost were solid rewards for me within
the 10-week period.”
Challenge seeks teams for Jan. 7 competition
Spring 2010 MUSC Healthy Charleston Challenge is looking for men and women interested in changing their lives.
Starting Jan. 7, anyone struggling with obesity, cardiovascular
disease, and other forms of chronic disease, can take part in the
Tri-county’s version of The Biggest Loser.
The 12-week program features a team approach with regular exercise and
diet programs that lead to healthy weight loss and an improvement to
one's overall health.
The Challenge offers the support of a team of exercise physiologists,
nutritionists, trainers and a program psychiatrist to help people take
that first step.
Enrollment deadline continues through December. Registration can be
found at http://www.musc.edu/hsc or by visiting the Wellness Center
As teams are finalized for this competition, organizers are seeking
participants who’ve undergone bar- iatric surgery to form a six-member
Participants should be at least 25-plus pounds overweight and in need
of a permanent lifestyle change due to increased risk of chronic
The fee for Wellness members is $150 and $300 for non-members (deposit
required). Applications will be reviewed and accepted based on a need
for lifestyle change. Participants will be notified of acceptance.
Contact Janis Newton at 792-4141 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, Dec. 4, 2009