YMCA weight loss challenge going strong

Feb 11, 2018

The Gleason Family YMCA’s winter weight loss challenge is about more than dropping a few pounds, said participants. One wants to enter her 70s as fit as possible, another has kicking the need for some medication in her sight.

Donna Forest said she’s stayed motivated through her first weight loss competition, losing six pounds in the first two weeks of the eight-week challenge. Forest's goal is to lose 20 pounds and get off some of her medications.

“The challenge encourages health changes,” said Forest, who has been drinking lots of smoothies to sneak vegetables into her diet.

The weight loss challenge is now in its fourth year and has 30 participants this time around. There are team leaders who lead group exercise classes, weekly weigh-ins and homework assigned to the gym-goers.

“They’re having fun and getting into a routine,” said Lu Brito, the coordinator of the challenge and senior program director at the YMCA. “Our main focus is opening people up to meeting new people and making exercise fun.”

Kerri Sullivan, one of the team leaders, said she gives her members exercises that target all parts of the body. It’s Sullivan’s third time leading a group in a weight loss challenge, and she said weeks two and three (where participants are now) are usually the hardest.

There’s plenty of accountability with the program, as teammates keep each other motivated with their eyes on the prize. The first year of the challenge, participants lost a total of 989 pounds, Brito said.

The competition encourages participants to adopt a new lifestyle, Brito said, implementing small changes in everyday life and educating people on making healthful choices.

Some participants aren’t focused just on losing weight, such as Gail Whittle, who said she’s using the challenge as a way to prepare to enter her 70s at her best.

“I want to be fitter, stronger and have a better sense of balance,” Whittle said.

The YMCA will hold another weight loss challenge this spring, and all are welcome to join. For more information, visit www.ymcasouthcoast.org/locations/wareham.