Programs available to help women with weight issues, eating problems

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By Stacey Manning, Managing Editor

If you owned a television at all in 1988 you probably remember the scene that played out on countless “entertainment” television shows, and the follow-up images and stories that later came in newspapers and magazines.

That was the year media tycoon Oprah Winfrey rolled a wagon of fat onto the set of her show representing the 67 pounds she reportedly lost. Since then the daytime talk show host has become a spokesperson for many—touting eating healthier and exercising.

Her shows often boast the talents of her personal trainer Bob Greene and all their secrets for eating right and working out.

Sure, I’ve thought, give me enough money to hire a personal trainer to come by and kick my butt on a daily basis and throw in a cook, or in some cases a team of cooks to prepare my delicious and healthy meals, and I’ll be thin, too.

But even having it all, it seems, doesn’t make eating healthy and working out any easier. Apparently the upcoming issue of O Magazine has Oprah revealing all the money in the world couldn’t help her deal with her eating issues, and now she’s facing the fact she has put on 40 pounds since 2006.

Money can buy a lot, but apparently not appetite control, and it can’t make you suddenly have the urge to work out if it’s not something you’re ready to do. That’s something women of all income ranges can relate to.

This holiday season many of us will be worrying about weight and what we put into our mouths. From work Christmas parties to holiday entertaining with friends and families, it’s difficult to control weight gain long before the big Christmas meal gets here.

Follow that up with a New Year’s Eve often celebrated with high-calorie and metabolism-slowing alcohol, and before you know it, everyone is thinking about losing weight at the beginning of the year.

For some of us, it’s something we think about all year long, and it’s only compounded with the holidays.

If you’re a woman worried about your weight and you’re wondering what to do, a free weight-loss program will be available for Brunswick County women in January. And don’t worry, it’s not a quick-fix, gimmick-type diet. No one is going to convince you the way to happiness is eating grapefruit and cabbage soup.

Through the Obesity Prevention Initiative of Cape Fear Healthy Carolinians at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, qualifying women between the ages of 40-64 can be a part in Weight Wise Women.

The program is designed to teach the basics of eating and cooking healthy, exercising and making simple life changes to help fight the bulge.

To join the free program, women must take part in a health assessment and have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher.

The first class begins the week of Jan. 26, but assessments should be made sooner. For more information, call Sarah White at 962-3263 or via e-mail at whites@uncw.edu or call Tamlyn Shields at 962-7964 or e-mail shieldsa@uncw.edu.

You can also go online to www.capefearhealthycarolinians.org and click on Obesity Prevention.

If you don’t qualify, there are plenty of other healthy alternatives in Brunswick County. The parks and recreation department sponsors a number of inexpensive exercise programs.

There are also several gyms, and of course there are plenty of support groups like T.O.P.S. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) and Weight Watchers. Check out our weekly calendars for group meeting and ongoing recreation activities.

Don’t suffer through the agony of weight-worry this holiday season, educate yourself and join others experiencing the same challenges. And just remember, like Oprah, having it all doesn’t make it any easier.