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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
1:59 AM Wed, Sept. 26th

Do I want to live my best life? How will I achieve it?

Gaile Harden, a champion senior citizen swimmer, is a regular at the Prescott YMCA pool. She is shown swimming laps in September 2017 to get in shape for matches. (Nanci Hutson/Courier)

Gaile Harden, a champion senior citizen swimmer, is a regular at the Prescott YMCA pool. She is shown swimming laps in September 2017 to get in shape for matches. (Nanci Hutson/Courier)

To sign up for the “Total Lifestyle Change” program to begin on Sept. 17, call 928- 445-7221. The cost is $250 for the 12 months of sessions.

A year ago, Faith opted to enroll in a diabetes prevention program at the Prescott YMCA.

In 12 months, Faith lost 22 pounds, dropped two dress sizes, and connected with a group of eight other folks fighting the same battle to stay healthy.

The emphasis was not just on counting calories and clocking steps, the program was about developing a healthy lifestyle so as to prevent disease that evolved around good nutrition and targeted physical activity, not just calisthenics or the treadmill. The final, but vital, component to the program was the emotional support shared between members for the times when they face obstacles to their weight loss and exercise goals, said Mary Byrne, the Prescott YMCA’s health and wellness director. For Faith, the program kick-started a new way to live, and introduced her to friends struggling with the same weight and health issues she faced so they all worked on getting healthier together, she said.

“I am thankful for the encouragement and sense of community I received during my class sessions,” Faith said. “Here’s to living my best life.”

The 100 percent success of the Centers for Disease Control project prompted the YMCA to broaden its reach by crafting its own 12-month “Total Lifestyle Change” program focused not just on one population, Byrne said. Rather, this effort will be for men and women eager to lose weight while developing better health and nutrition habits so as to thwart the potential for disease that will inhibit their plans for play, travel and family activities, she said. Part of the goal of the revitalized program is to offer options that enable people to have an active, fulfilling life that does not revolve around medication and doctor’s visits, she said.

Staring on Sept. 17, YMCA staff member Deana Lohman will serve as the coach for the classes that for the first 16 weeks will be meet every Monday at 6 p.m. for an hour, Byrne said. The classes will be focused on increasing people’s activities with 150 minutes a week with the goal of losing 7 percent of their body weight, she said. After the initial 16 weeks, the class will meet bi-monthly for two months, and then go to monthly Monday night meetings. The last six months will be focused on maintenance, she said.

Though this program will still benefit those in the pre-diabetic phase, Byrne said this is for all willing to drop some pounds and step up their exercise so as to avoid long-term illnesses that can diminish their abilities to do whatever it is they wish to do while in their working years and in retirement.

Fifteen people can participate, and so far Byrne said they already have six people who have signed up for what will be a $250 program.

“It’s pretty popular,” Byrne said.

Byrne is excited about the evolution of this program because it is gives people a reason to not only just lose weight, but to do so and keep it off with good nutritional habits that will enable them to avoid various metabolic issues than can weigh them down with otherwise preventable diseases.

The class last year had a range of people between 50 and 70.

Class participants do not need to be YMCA members, but if they do sign up and are not a member, they are eligible for a four-month membership where they become familiar with all the various classes and equipment that is offered at their Whipple Street facility. Class participants who meet their weight and activity goals in those first four months will then get to continue the membership for the rest of the year.

“This is geared toward the big picture,” Byrne said. “And a really nice thing that the previous class experienced was that as people start talking, they create a cohesive group who are very supportive of each other. They helped make the success of the class what it was.”

Each week, Byrne said, the coach will “get the ball rolling” with different topics related to health and wellness.

“It’s crazy. People already know what the answers are,” Byrne said. “But when they can see it (through the eyes and of others) they can resolve their own problems.”