By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – An estimated 800-900 people this week joined the city’s weight loss challenge, pitting teams of dieters against each other for the greatest reduction in pounds.
Trim Down, Tone Up Tupelo lured 139 teams to the cattle scales set up Monday at the North Mississippi Medical Center and Tuesday at City Hall. The average team had about six people, said Hank Boerner, co-captain of the Mayor’s Task Force on Health.
What Boerner did not provide, however, was the average team’s weight. But he said even those who appeared fit joined the challenge.
“I couldn’t believe the turnout,” said Boerner, who also is director of NMMC’s Wellness Center. “I was hoping realistically for 50-60 teams, so this was quite obviously way beyond that.”
The effort is the second initiative of the task force, which was appointed by Mayor Jack Reed Jr. last year to improve the health of residents. Three other task forces also were appointed to deal with the economy, neighborhood preservation and education.
One of the first residents to weigh in Tuesday morning was Martha Webb. She and three friends formed the team “Rolling Strollers” and said they’re all excited about the challenge.
“We really plan to watch our diets, to cut back on eating and increase our exercise,” Webb said. “We walk three miles every morning, but now maybe we’ll add 10-15 minutes a day.”
The women also will attend the free educational sessions available each week on a variety of diet- and exercise-related topics. They’ll be held Mondays at noon at NMMC’s education center and at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall. Each will last about 15 minutes.
Webb and her team will have plenty of competition during the two-month effort. Among the challengers is the Fab Five, a group of four women and one teen who hope to get in shape for the new year.
“My daughter and I were doing it already,” said Jinnie Coleman, weighing in at City Hall. “So we thought it’d be even better to do this. I’m shooting to lose 14-15 pounds.”
Those who didn’t get a chance to join this week have one final opportunity from 3-5:30 p.m. Monday.
The final weigh-in is March 9. The team with the highest percentage of weight loss wins a plaque. Other prizes also will be available.
For more information about Trim Down, Tone Up Tupelo, call Hank Boerner at (662) 377-4143.