Jackson Parish Smart Portions

Diane M. Martin, Judd, Cathy S.  |  5/3/2012 9:58:45 PM

The LSU AgCenter just completed an eight week Smart Portions program in partnership with the Jackson Parish Library. Angela Holder coordinated the program with Extension Agent, Cathy Judd. The library provided tools to help participants stay on task: water bottles, pedometers, educational materials and MyPlate. MyPlate is a plate divided into four equal parts. It is a reminder to the participants to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole gains, and lean meat.

The Smart Portions program teaches people how to eat healthy and lose weight. Losing weight can be a challenging task, unless you have great support. Twenty-five Smart Portions participants encouraged and motivated each other to stay on task. They teamed up and supported each other for eight weeks. To verify change in behavior, participants had their body mass analyzed, waist measured, and starting weight recorded on the first day of class. Each week participants weighed in. At the end of the eight weeks waist measurements and body mass was analyzed again.

Participants learned how to change eating behaviors by looking at true portion size. They learned how to eyeball portion sized by looking at familiar items such as a baseball which is equivalent to one cup or a deck of cards that represents 3 ounces of meat. Many times we just accept what is put on our plate. If you eat out on a regular basis you may notice it is hard to maintain your weight because of the huge portion sizes. If you’re from the clean-the-plate club it is hard to leave food on your plate! Participants learned strategies to help them to not over eat when eating out or at home and not to give in to habits. Participants learn to become more mindful of what they're eating and how to enjoy food.

We discussed how stress may induce eating, how to make changes to your favorite recipes, what body mass index says about your health, the importance of exercise, what the best kind of exercise is, and how to read labels. In the Smart Portions class participants also learned how to make healthy food selections when eating out and how to make food tasty.

The Smart Portions program is a great way to start healthy lifestyle changes with the help of other participants. The class helps participants to be accountable for their food actions and exercise. Smart Portions participants implemented the information they learned and lost a total of 80.5 pounds together! Our highest weight loss was 23 pounds, second was 15 and third was 9 pounds.

If you are interested in participating in Smart Portions call our office at 318-259-5690. We will have another class in the fall.

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