Joan Almond, Van Osdell, Mary Ann | 10/17/2007 8:51:16 PM
MINDEN – Thirteen associates at the Wal-Mart in Minden who documented their weight at the beginning and end of an eight-lesson LSU AgCenter class on healthy eating lost a total of 32.64 pounds collectively.
“Seven pounds was the most lost, and next was 5 pounds,” said Joan Almond, AgCenter agent who taught the series, which is called Smart Portions. “That is an excellent amount of weight to be lost in such a short time. Now the trick is to keep it off.”
Almond compiled weight loss and body mass index statistics throughout the course. Participants also kept a food and activity journal.
Keeping your weight under acceptable limits helps avoid weight-related illnesses including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure, Almond said.
One of the Wal-Mart associates, Lynn Baldree, heard about Almond and Smart Portions after her husband participated in a similar program and lost 55 pounds. She suggested the idea to Roz Zappa, a team captain of Wal-Mart’s Personal Sustainability Project (PSP), which is a volunteer grassroots effort to bring sustainability to the personal lives of Wal-Mart associates.
Scott Harnden, store manager, said he chose Almond at the LSU AgCenter at the suggestion of the PSP team.
“Thank you from all of us,” he told Almond at the last class. “You don’t have to stop after today. You can come 52 weeks or any time for a refresher.”
Harnden said everyone enjoyed the class.
“She is a real inspiration to a lot of folks. Those aren’t just words,” he said.
He presented Almond with a floral arrangement. “I was going to get cake and ice cream, but…,” he said with a grin.
Almond said she will return and is in the process of obtaining pedometers for the participants.
“I want you to keep up, not go three to six more weeks and quit. Make lifestyle changes,” she said.
Smart Portions is not a diet. Rather, the lesson plan advocates learning healthy weight management techniques.
“If you don’t do anything but change one negative habit, that’s going to be an improvement,” Almond said. “Keep going and keep doing – even if it’s one little thing. Drink water. Walk. Pick a healthy alternative.”
Among the changes some of the associates made were adding swimming to their activities and drinking skim milk.
Her last lesson was on clothing lines for flattery.
“Don’t wear the same things you’ve always worn. If you dress with big clothes, you eat more,” Almond said.
For more information on changing to a healthier lifestyle, go to www.lsuagcenter.com and search for Smart Choices. Also, click on the Chancellor’s Challenge blog on the front page of the Web site.