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Lowndes County residents challenged to ‘Shrinkdown’





After last year''s success, Lowndes County YMCAs, in partnership with Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle, will kick off the 2010 Shrinkdown program on Friday, Jan. 8, 2010. 


The Lowndes County Shrinkdown, a free, eight-week community awareness program, is open to the public. 


Early this year -- the inaugural year for the program -- about 250 people stuck with the program from beginning to end. 


Melody Cantrell -- who lost 20 pounds -- was one of them and won the competition for highest percentage of weight lost. 


Kristin Mamrack -- who lost 15 pounds -- won a grand-prize drawing for greatest participation; those who exercised regularly, weighed in every Friday and attended weekly lunch-n-learn sessions at the hospital were eligible. 


"We want to be sure that everyone can take advantage of this important, potentially life-changing, health initiative", said Andy Boyd, executive director of the Frank Phillips YMCA. "Obesity is of epidemic proportions in our state. We hope to provide the support that most people need when altering unhealthy behaviors. 


"Shrinkdown provides an opportunity to put New Year''s resolutions into action to improve health and thus the quality of our lives."  


From 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Jan. 8, participants will be registered, weighed by YMCA fitness instructors and receive a description of the program, which contains the program goals, healthy living tips and weekly recipes. Weekly weigh-ins will be held at all four YMCA branches. Participants should register at the branch where they plan to weigh in each Friday. 


Those who weigh in will be eligible for door prize drawings to be awarded each Monday, and their names will be entered into a grand prize drawing on March 9. The grand prizes will be a year''s family membership to the YMCA and $250 cash, provided by Malachi Financial Group. 


Weekly lunch-and-learns will be available at the Baptist Outpatient Pavilion each Friday, beginning Jan. 15, with a variety of topics, including Benefits of Exercise, Navigating the Supermarket, Understanding and Monitoring Blood Pressure and Cholesterol and more. Participants should bring their own lunch. 


"We are very excited to provide a community program that will encourage everyone to get fit," Barbara Bigelow, YMCA director of community relations, said. "The Shrinkdown is a healthy living awareness program, not an eight-week fix. You have to commit to a lifestyle change."  


Sponsors for this year''s event are Malachi Financial Group, The Link and the United Way Community Volunteer Center. 




YMCA To host Zumbathon  


The downtown YMCA will host its first Zumbathon from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2010. Zumba, an exciting group fitness program that fuses Latin rhythms and easy-to-follow dance moves, will be led by certified, professional Zumba instructors from Memphis, Tenn. 


Zumbathon will offer participants dancing, fun, music, door prizes and more in exchange for a $9 tax-deductible donation to the Frank Phillips YMCA and canned good for local food pantries. Profits from the Zumbathon will be used to ensure the many important programs offered by the YMCA continue to be available to families from the Lowndes County community who need them, regardless of their ability to pay. 


The YMCA Zumbathon is open to the public. Men and women of all fitness levels are invited to participate, as well as children over the age of 12; however, children must be accompanied by a parent. 


The YMCA will offer Zumba classes beginning Jan. 11, 2010 on Mondays and Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 9 a.m. Classes will last 45 minutes. 


"You don''t have to love exercise to love Zumba. It is so much fun and, before you know it, you''ve finished a fun workout, and you want to do it again," said Bigelow. 


The YMCA offers child care opportunities, youth programs and healthy lifestyle programs with a Christian emphasis. 





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