LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - $40 billion a year: that's how much money Americans pour into the business of weight loss as they try desperately to shed the pounds. This week's "Biggest Loser,: though, shows us that shaping up can be done on the cheap.
Like many moms, 46-year-old Dianna Piper put herself on the back burner while raising a family. "I got married at a very young age, started having children," says Dianna, "taking care of my kids and not worrying about me."
It didn't take long for the weight to pile on Dianna and to begin affecting more than her physical health. "Being on the heavy side," she says, "it plays with you mentally - it makes you feel like nobody really likes you, they're only talking about you because you're big."
When Dianna found out that she was going to be a grandma again last year, she decided that she had to make some changes. So, she enrolled in the Calcasieu Community Clinic's free weight management program with clinical director, Linda Jones. "The clinic itself focuses on the concept of not dieting, but lifestyle change," says Jones.
Dianna quickly learned that to have real weight loss success, there were several factors in her life that she would have to revamp. "Diet, exercise, education, making the right choices," she says, "and lifestyle change!"
It's been nine months since Dianna began the Clinic's program and she's now dropped an amazing 147 pounds. "I can't believe I've lost this much weight," she says.
If your budget is tight, like Dianna's, she says to utilize free facilities and services like she is doing. "There's a walking track in Sulphur that I go to every morning and I ride a bike every morning - so it doesn't cost me anything," she says.
Support is also key in a successful weight loss journey. "I hope one day to be able to help someone else in the future lose weight," says Dianna, "and to have a healthier lifestyle."
*The weight management program at the Calcasieu Community Clinic is on-going at no cost to eligible residents. Click here to find out if you meet the qualifications.
*This clinic is Southwest Louisiana's way of stepping up to fill a gap in health coverage for the working uninsured, students and recently unemployed. New patients are screened every Thursday evening between 4-6 p.m. at 550 Sale Road in Lake Charles.
Executive Director Kayla Rigney says since the Clinic opened its doors nearly 10 years ago, hundreds of local residents have been offered medical care that would have been unaffordable on their own. "Many people don't have money to pay for health care and so the dollars that go into the Clinic provide primary health care services, dental services and pharmaceuticals for those patients," says Rigney.
As its name states, the Calcasieu Community Clinic operates only through community volunteers and funding. Your chance to help raise money for these services and have a great evening doing so is coming up Saturday, March 6th at L'auberge with "A Black Tie Affair." The evening will offer a silent auction, dinner, music and dancing with Vince Vance and the Valiants. Click here for ticket information.