Free community weight management program

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - We all know how it works: there's the healthcare debate going on in Washington, which is tough to follow - and then there's real life. In real life, millions of Americans are badly overweight and many just don't know where to start to shape up. Here in Southwest Louisiana, one community weight management program is boasting its 100 percent success rate.

37-year-old Carla Douglas and her family call a ship currently docked in Lake Charles home.  Her heart is in the missions she participates in as a Friendships volunteer, but just last year, a lingering health issue began impacting her service.  "I had gotten to my largest weight ever and I just actually didn't even feel like I could even do some of my jobs," says Carla, "physically, I was starting to have problems."

At 271 pounds, Carla took the step of enrolling in Calcasieu Community Clinic's Weight Management Program.  "For a long time, I knew I needed to do something about my weight," says Carla, "and I just didn't know what to do."

Carla was in good hands with CCC Clinical Director Linda Jones, who had her own weight battle before dropping over 70 pounds.  "Our mission for this program is that there are no true diets," says Linda, "there are lifestyle changes, so we teach you how to make healthy lifestyle choices."

CCC Executive Director Kayla Rigney says unhealthy choices aren't just bad for the person making them - but for the economy as well.  "25 percent of health care costs are spent treating diseases that come from patients being overweight," says Kayla, "diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and osteoarthritis."

Since the weight program kicked off in February, 100 percent of the 30 participants have met or exceeded their goals - dropping 790 pounds in total! "I saw a new me emerging," says Linda, "not just physically, but emotionally."

Carla says, "I feel tons better. I am just so much more energetic than I was before."  With 73 pounds less to carry around, Carla says she can once again focus on what matters most to her.  "Now I feel physically fit and able to do what I love to do," she says, "which is to help others."

There is no end date for participants enrolled in the weight management program.  These are the requirements:

*Ages 19-64
*People working a minimum of 20 hours a week and earning less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
*People who are unemployed for six months or less and actively seeking employment
*Self-supporting full-time students working toward their education

The Calcasieu Community Clinic is located at 550 Sale Rd. Suite 217 in Lake Charles.  Call 337-478-8650 for more information.

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