Free Orange Weight Loss Classes Teach Healthy Living Tips – Orange Leader

The Texas A&M Agrilife Extension is hosting free HOPE Initiative Weight Loss Classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays through April 21 from 6-7 p.m. at the Orange County Convention and Event Expo Center.

At the end of the challenge, those who lose the most weight will win first, second and third prizes. This class is open to the public.

“The HOPE initiative means helping every day on purpose,” said Fallon Foster, MPH, County Family & Community Health extension worker. “We review simple exercises, a healthy cooking demonstration, recipes, accountability and calorie goal setting to make realistic healthy choices based on an individual’s lifestyle with the goal of creating a diet plan that can be followed for a lifetime.”

Fallon teaches the classes and says she is passionate about helping others strive to achieve their goals with exercise and nutrition.

“Teaching others that it can be a fun journey to be healthier and make them feel better about themselves is what motivated me to pursue this opportunity for the community,” she said.

Foster began teaching weight loss classes on March 15.

“We go over nutrition and healthy alternatives before we hit the gym and do a two-minute stretch, and then we start our workouts,” she said. “The list of exercises can consist of a 20-minute walk and a 10-minute strength training at four training stations. The first station is dedicated to walking side by side in a squatting position. The second station is light weights that help target the armpits. The third station is for leg raises and the fourth station is a chair assisted abs workout. This is where someone will sit on the end of the chair and lean back on the seat and do crunches.

The weight loss contest challenges contestants and their desire to win prizes at the end of class, motivating them to train before and after class.

“My goal for this challenge, I don’t know if it’s terrible to say, is to make money,” said Christine Gartner, assistant administrator of the Orange County Flood Plan. “First prize is $100 and a health basket full of workout stuff. Second prize is $50 and third prize is $25. We weigh each other every Tuesday and I’ve already lost three pounds in one week.

Gartner said the classes inspired her to change her lifestyle.

“I walk a mile on my lunch breaks, five miles on weekends, and replace my lunches with meal replacements,” she said. “I’m also aware of the type of food I put in my body, and that motivates me to make better choices.”

Maria Hernandez, assistant clerk for the Orange County district, wants to focus on healthier eating and weight loss.

“Outside the basket, I plan to win,” she joked. “I hope my competitors can hear it.”

Hernandez said the classes motivated her to eliminate soda consumption and replace it with water.

“I cut out fast food and took the time to cook healthier dinners,” she said. “My salt intake is another challenge that I’m trying to eliminate from my food. I’m getting red and bloated. My water intake along with healthier eating is helping me with that struggle. I just want to get rid of the weight and keep it off.

Helping others may be the secret to living a life that is not only happier, but also healthier, richer, more productive and more meaningful.

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