Family Y offers programs for sustained success


January has come and gone. For many people, this prompts the unfortunate realization that their New Year’s Resolution to get into shape fizzled out like the fireworks on the night that they established it.

However, Petal Family YMCA is offering several specialized long-term programs to help those aiming to maintain healthy lifestyle choices for more than just the first few weeks of the new year.

One of these programs in particular is an eight-week “Eat Smart” accountability program that primarily focuses on healthy eating. Health and Wellness Director Catherine brown explained that the program kicked off earlier this month, and is specifically structured in a way that promotes a lasting healthy lifestyle long after the eight weeks are over.

“We are able to take a look at what we should eat and what we should do exercise-wise to make this a lifestyle and not just a short-term diet or fad,” Brown said. “We’re putting the pieces together to ensure that the people in the program are setting realistic goals and are able to consistently build on them over the years.”

The YMCA is offering another long-term program for qualifying members seeking to achieve and maintain a healthier lifestyle-free of charge.

The six-month program is titled “Group Lifestyle Balance,” and is especially geared toward those with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 and above, or those at risk for developing diabetes.

Brown said that this program was one of her favorite health and wellness programs overall.

“We are able to take people who may not know much about nutrition, activity or stress coping mechanisms, and give them a way to meet and have accountability every week,” Brown said. “Because of the length of the program, we have been able to see some truly remarkable results.”

Brown explained that group members participate in weekly weigh-ins, with the hopes that each participant will lose approximately seven percent of their body weight over the course of the six months.

“We have found that people find some ownership with it because they have to be accountable to the scale,” Brown said. “Also, afterwards we are able to give them some tangible information to take home that would further help them reach their goals.”

If this program is not necessarily for you, Brown explained that the YMCA always has a variety of programs that challenge to people to maintain their health goals.

Brown said that this year, the YMCA is conducting an “Olympic Challenge” to go along with the 2018 Winter Olympics.

“We’re encouraging participants to exercise, whether it be joining a class or hopping on treadmill and moving,” she said. “Participants are able to earn points for every different exercise that they do.”

 “We are encouraging them to not only exercise, but to try new things as well,” she said. “Participants won’t be able to earn a gold medal unless they have tried at least something in every category.”

Brown explained that a primary goal of the YMCA organization is to strengthen the community. She believes that the organization’s role in helping others commit to healthy lifestyles is ultimately a way to do just that.

“If we can be a part of our community’s health journey, then that truly means a lot to us,” she said. “In order to reach our goal of strengthening the community, it’s always better to have healthier residents in the community that you live.”

“We are able to meet these people and invite them into a community that allows them to feel welcome, and allows us to meet their needs.”