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Weight loss program kicks off in Greenville

Several dozen community members and business leaders gathered in the gym of the Greenville YMCA Thursday afternoon to learn more about “Scale Back Alabama.”

The free ten-week program is designed to encourage groups of co-workers, neighbors, classmates and others to join together to lose weight, get fit and improve their overall health. It’s part of the statewide campaign, which saw a total of 200,000 pounds shed by participating Alabamians last year.

This year’s goal is 500,000 pounds.

It’s a daunting number, but Angela Green of Pioneer Electric Cooperative believes the citizens of Greenville and Butler County can make a significant contribution to that total with encouragement, enthusiasm and some incentives along the way.

“We decided at Pioneer we’d help jumpstart this program here in the area and we’ve already had a lot of interest shown . . . it’s about more than just losing weight. It’s about getting healthy and bringing the community together while doing it,” Green said.

“There is no special diet you have to follow; you and your teammates will learn what works best for you.”

To participate, each team must have four members, including the team captain, and they must begin and end the contest with the same individuals. If a team member drops out for any reason, the team would be disqualified for the final grand prize drawing. However, individuals who lose at least ten pounds would still be eligible for the drawing for one of 50 achievement prizes of $100 each. Three grand prizes will be drawn from a pool of teams in which all original members have lost at least ten pounds.

Green said donations were being taken from area businesses to offer cash prizes to local wight loss winners.

Steve Harmon, manager of Pioneer Electric, Francine Wasden of the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce, Jan Newton of the Chef’s Table, Amanda Phillips of the Greenville YMCA and Glinda Chancellor of Merle Norman’s all spoke to those in attendance, encouraging community involvement, discussing the importance of good nutrition and getting active to help burn off those calories and drop the pounds.

Newton says she will be offering a “Scale Back Special” luncheon meal for $6 Mondays through Fridays during the contest “and do the calorie counting for you.”

Chancellor, who is a distributor of the liquid health supplement Mona-Vie, will also offer hydrating facials to the members of the local winning team. “We want to help people feel great and look their best as they lose the weight,” Chancellor said.

Phillips reminded everyone of the health and wellness benefits found at the YMCA.

“I promise you, no matter what your schedule is, we have an (exercise) class for you,” she said.

Wasden, who is organizing a team with some of her board members, said an event such as a community walk-run from the Depot was being planned for March 21 as a grand finale for the 2009 event.

According to Green, initial weigh-ins will be conducted from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. January 12-16 at Pioneer Electric at 300 Herbert St. in Greenville. All team members should be present at the weigh-in. For more information, contact Angela Green at 382-4904 or log on to www.pioneerelectric.com.