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UTHSC Promotes Wellness on Campus Through ‘Healthy Living’ Program

J. Lee Taylor

J. Lee Taylor,  director of Campus Recreation at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, stood in front of a room of people and asked what seemed like a simple question. “How many of you would like to lose weight?” Every hand went up.

Then, he asked the hard question. “Now, how many of you are willing to do what it takes to lose weight?” He was not surprised when some hands wavered. It’s a normal response, he said.

Taylor was explaining his department’s “Healthy Living” program to UTHSC staff members interested in getting fit in 2016. The program for faculty, staff and students is part of UTHSC’s efforts to promote a healthier campus.

Suzanne Fenech, fitness and wellness coordinator, is teaching the Healthy Living program, which started its second session Monday. The 12-week course meets from 5 – 6:30 p.m. Mondays in the Student-Alumni Center, Room 313. Registration is closed for this session, but a new session begins in the fall.

“The main requirement is that you commit to come,” Fenech said. Those who sign up but miss too many classes will be asked to try again in the fall.

Each Monday night will end with exercise. There will be a weigh-in and waist measurements, but the focus won’t be on the number of pounds or inches lost but on changing habits. “It takes about three months for something to become a habit,” Taylor said. “That’s why the course is 12 weeks.”

Each participant will have an accountability buddy, a classmate to check in with by phone, text or email at least once a week. Accountability buddies encourage one another, Fenech said, and often end up checking in with each other daily.

Besides exercising, the class will get information from a nutritionist, and have the opportunity to test healthful  recipes.

The previous class last fall, a group of nine, lost a total of 67 pounds. A pound or so a week was the ideal, Fenech said. This is a rate of weight loss that can be sustained.

“We’re all pressed for time, and exercising and cooking healthy food take time,” Taylor said. “Those things have to become a habit.

“Losing weight and keeping it off isn’t easy,” Taylor continued. “If being healthier isn’t one of your top three priorities, it’s probably not going to happen. It’s a point everyone has to come to on their own.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the Healthy Living program should contact Fenech at sfenech@uthsc.edu or (901) 448-5416.