|Biggest losers: Lunchtime group helps shed pounds
Losing weight may not sound like fun, but a 20-pound-lighter Diane
Marie Thorpe said she had a blast.
Diane Marie Thorpe
and Ken Bowman celebrate their success in MUSC's Lunchtime Losers
The administrative specialist was one of 20 people to participate in
the last Lunchtime Losers program. The 10-week, lifestyle-change
program offered by MUSC’s Weight Management Center uses people’s lunch
hour once a week to promote healthy eating, exercise and behavior
changes. Since its start in fall 2008, 138 participants have gone
through the program. The program caters to a wide range of needs, from
participants who just want to get healthier to those wanting to lose
substantial amounts of weight.
The next session begins in January, with registration open through the
holidays. Employees may use payroll deduction for the $98 program. A
night-time session also may be added soon to accommodate the different
work schedules, according to Joshua D. Brown, Ph.D., director of
clinical services for the Weight Management Center.
Thorpe, who has tried many other weight loss programs that didn’t work,
said she didn’t hold out much hope for MUSC’s Lunchtime Losers. “I
wanted to lose weight, but had given it up as a lost cause.”
It was a gift from a friend, though, so she decided to try it. When she
heard mistakes were expected and accepted, she got excited. She also
liked that the group was placed on teams and developed friendly
rivalries with each other. Discussion periods during meetings included
covering how to find alternatives for what was sabotaging their weight
loss efforts, a part she found helpful.
The other top loser in the class was Ken Bowman, manager of desktop
services in the Office of the Chief Information Office. Bowman said he
was shocked to lose 30 pounds, and that his wife, who was not doing the
program, lost 10 to 15 pounds just by supporting his habits. He still
weighs himself each morning and is proud that he’s maintained the loss,
One advantage of the program is that by the end of 10 weeks, people
learn to change their habits, he said. Bowman was running and going to
the gym, but not addressing his eating habits. His blood pressure was
high, and he didn’t want to be on medicine, so he was motivated and
serious about following the program, he said. He attributes his
success, in part, to that.
“It’s well worth the 10 weeks,” said Bowman, who’s had to buy all new
Thorpe was motivated by health issues, too.
Having arthritis, any gain in weight increases her pain level, she
said. “I hurt all the time, and I didn’t want to hurt all the time.”
What worked with this program that didn’t with the others for her is
that it wasn’t a one-size-fits-all formula. They all were given
different calorie counts, and the registered dietitian for the group,
Tonya Turner, reviewed their personal food journals.
Brown, a psychologist for the Lunchtime Losers program who covers
behavioral and motivational issues, said participants benefit from
having access to a variety of experts: registered dietitian, exercise
physiologist and psychologist.
“It’s the next best thing to us going to their homes. It’s a
straight-forward and simple program and convenient for them on their
The goal is to provide employees and their friends a way to learn about
weight management that doesn’t extend their day at all. Turner said
another goal is to keep it affordable, providing an option for
employees who may not have the money or time to do the more extensive
programs offered by the center.
The program provides structure, yet is tailored to each individual’s
needs. Turner encourages participants to keep food journals. With teams
named everything from Drop-a-Lots to Wasting Away, the program keeps
the mood light and constructive, she said.
Team spirit is one factor that kept Thorpe going. Thorpe said she found
it to be a really good educational experience all the way around, and
enjoyed how everyone shared success tips.
“I’m going to do it again. I feel awesome. You want to continue that
feeling,” she said. “I’d like to lose 20 more.”
Want to try it?
For more information, call 792-2273 or visit http://www.MUSChealth.com/weight.
Weight Management Center offers a wide array of weight-loss
programs and free consultations for people interested in finding out
what their best option might be.
Friday, Oct. 29, 2010