Even though she's a dietitian at Piedmont Medical Center, Denise Reynolds still thought she could use a little support to jump-start her weight-loss plan last year.
Reynolds lost 12 pounds of baby weight during Shrinkdown -- a 10-week healthy-living program through Winthrop University, Piedmont Medical Center and the Upper Palmetto YMCA. She has kept the weight off since.
"I think that people really do well when other people are watching them," Reynolds said. "Not judging them, just watching and encouraging."
Shrinkdown was comprised of health talks, handouts about nutrition and healthy recipes, and weekly weigh-ins for 10 weeks.
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This year, Shrinkdown has morphed into a yearlong healthy-living program called Activate Upper Palmetto, part of the national Activate America program, which will take its place.
Participants will weigh in weekly for six weeks and then monthly for the remainder of the year at either their local YMCA or, for Winthrop folks, at the Lois Rhame West Center. The goal is to create a healthy lifestyle that involves good nutrition and regular exercise.
"Many people wanted to continue weighing in throughout the year because they were making good progress and they really thought it was important to continue to be held accountable with a monthly weigh in," said Stevie Chepko, chairwoman for the Department of Health and Physical Education at Winthrop.
Activate Upper Palmetto will kick off Monday at Winthrop Coliseum. Participants can sign up for the free program and complete their first weigh-in during the kickoff event.
Anyone can sign up by themselves or with a team of people from their work. Last year, 2,314 people lost a total of 6,770 pounds.
"We consider a huge part of our mission to be prevention," said Myra Joines, hospital communications director. "This offers us an opportunity to reach people before they need us and to encourage them to take their health into their own hands through healthy living and fitness."
Most information will be given out online at www.activateupperpalmetto.org. Participants can sign up online and track their activities and weight loss.
"It's been a very successful program," Chepko said. "It really gets the community cranked up, and it's the perfect time because everybody swears after New Year's they're going on a diet. Everybody's motivated."
Are you ready to get active?
What: Activate Upper Palmetto kickoff event
When: 1-7 p.m. Monday
Where: Winthrop Coliseum
Can't attend? Sign up online at www.activateupperpalmetto.org starting Tuesday