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Losing weight means gaining healthy lifestyle
Ms. Flynn, left, records an initial weight reading for Linda Stockstill, 403rd Wing, who is entering the “I Lost It at Keesler” weight loss competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)
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Losing weight means gaining healthy lifestyle

Posted 1/5/2011   Updated 1/5/2011 Email story   Print story

    


by Steve Hoffmann
81st Training Wing Public Affairs


1/5/2011 - KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- It's here. You knew it was coming. The first week of 2011 has arrived and all the fat and calories from the tail end of 2010 are stacked up like a freight train behind you hauling chins and spare tires. It's hard. It's heavy and your little engine that could would if it just had some help.

Fortunately, Keesler's fitness facilities have devised a little competition to help lighten your load. It's a weight loss competition called "I Lost It at Keesler."

Registration began on Monday and ends Jan. 13. The competition runs for eight weeks, Jan. 13 to Feb. 27. The competition is open to anyone who is 18 years of age or older who has access to the fitness centers at Keesler. This includes all Keesler employees, spouses and retired military and their spouses.

Initial and weekly weigh-ins as well as registration is being conducted at the Dragon Fitness Center. Winners are determined by the total percentage of weight loss. The male and female losing the greatest percentage of weight will be announced and contacted on March 1. Ironically, what's gained is more important than what's lost, according to CSC fitness director and competition creator Bill Jinkse.

"I'm less interested in the pounds lost as I am helping people adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle," he said. "In the end, it's about improving your quality of life."

As part of the registration process, each competitor must complete a health history profile. This three-page questionnaire is designed to shine a light on the junk you've got in your trunks, closets and pantries. It's used to determine alcohol, tobacco and sleep habits. What are your dietary habits? What are you eating and how many times a day are you eating it? What medications are you taking and do you have any issues such as high blood pressure or cholesterol? Some competitors might need to obtain medical clearance before starting the competition. Once this information is gathered, there'll be personal trainers available, as well as a registered dietician on hand to help design a program that will best suit your needs and fitness goals.

Event coordinators offer these tips to help you achieve your fitness goals and perhaps win the competition. Watch what you eat

"If you put garbage in, you get garbage out," emphasized Mr. Jinkse. "A sensitivity and awareness of what you are putting in your mouth is 80 percent of the battle."

"It's not about dieting either," added Donna Flynn, CSC fitness manager and event coordinator. "It takes daily maintenance to lose weight, to exercise and watch what you eat. Would you leave for work without taking a shower or getting dressed?"

Registered dietician Stephanie McCann with the health and wellness center is on board for this competition for those who are looking for guidance on how to change their diets. To schedule a dietary consultation, call 376-3170.

Work the program

As part of the competition, personal trainers are available to help design a workout routine that fits your abilities and fitness goals, and it's free. In fact, if you choose to take part in the competition, you are strongly encouraged to consult a personal trainer before starting.

"Many people who come to this competition wanting to lose weight have been what we call 'de-conditioned,' meaning that they have been inactive for more than 10 weeks. It takes time to get back up to speed and there is a right way and wrong way to perform this in order to prevent injury to the body," said Mr. Jinkse. "For those whose bodies have been de-conditioned, we recommend they work at 60 percent of their heart rate for the first 30 days, 70 percent for the second 30 days and 80 percent after that.

"Unfortunately, so many times we have people with all kinds of enthusiasm and they immediately want to work at 85-90 percent of their heart rate and the next thing you know, they start getting shin splints or some other type of injury," he pointed out. "It's just like running a marathon. You don't just wake up one morning and decide to run a marathon. You have to train and build up to it."

Following the guidelines set forth by the American Council on Exercise and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, the event coordinators are recommending no more than two pounds of weight loss per week.

Exercising at least four times a week is also being recommended.

"Once again though, people want instant gratification and want to lose 5-10 pounds per week," said Mr. Jinske. "It just doesn't work that way. Losing weight is hard work and it takes time. If you do it the way we say to do it and work the program that the personal trainer designs, you will be in great shape."

The right motivation

"Basically what it comes down to is two words -- lifestyle modification," Mr. Jinkse emphasized. "Those who have the will power to change what they eat and make time to exercise are the ones who will do well in this competition and beyond."

"Your goal should not be to lose a certain amount of weight to pass a PT test or even to win this competition but to make a lifestyle modification that will enhance your quality of life of which weight loss is simply a byproduct of that decision."

"But the motivation must come from within," said Mr. Jinkse. "You can create the best environment to lose weight but if you're not willing to change your eating and exercise habits, it won't do any good."

Use the buddy system Finding a friend or coworker, someone whose schedule is compatible with yours, to work out with and hold each other accountable will increase your percentage of success by 20 percent, Mr. Jinske said.

Keep it interesting

Varying workout routines by running, biking, lifting weights, swimming or taking a fitness class keeps them interesting and is an important step in maintaining your motivation in the long run.

Lt. Col. Karen Castillo, 81st TrainingWing inspector general, was last year's female winner. She lost 30 pounds over the course of the competition and offers her own advice on how to lose weight.

"I was raised in a food-oriented family where even our pets were foodies so this was a big challenge for me," Colonel Castillo said. "But when I decided to lose weight, I focused the rest of my life around that goal. I purged the house of junk food and bought only healthy food. I worked out every day and did yoga, pilates, zumba and spinning classes at the gym. I brought five containers to work every Monday for my week's lunches. I treated myself. I used the personal trainers and had friends and coworkers hold me accountable. I am very competitive and I wanted to win. But the biggest key to losing weight is your mindset -- stay focused on your goal."

For more information on this year's weight loss competition, call the Dragon Fitness Center, 377-4409.



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