County to participate in Scale Back Alabama

This Saturday, Alabamians will collectively step on the scale and vow to change their lives as part of Scale Back Alabama, a 10-week statewide weight-loss contest.

Now in its third year, Scale Back Alabama kicks off Jan. 10.

Locally, health clubs and businesses are urging participants to help the state lose 500,000 pounds in 2009.

Tine Hoffmeister, general manager of LadyWorks Fitness for Women in Pelham, said this is the first year LadyWorks has participated in Scale Back Alabama.

“It’s wonderful to see the state say, ‘You know what? We need to do something about this,’” she said. “There’s no excuse not to do this. I just want people to get out and get healthy. It’s a big toll on your health and expenses not to be healthy.”

A report released by the Trust For America’s Health concluded 30 percent of Alabamians are obese — the third-highest adult obesity rate in the nation. The report also stated that lifetime medical costs among the obese are $10,000 higher than among the non-obese.

In Shelby County, at least 22 percent of adults are at risk of becoming obese, according to the Alabama Obesity Task Force Strategic Plan.

People interested in participating in Scale Back Alabama must first form a team of only four people, decide on a team name and appoint a team captain, according to guidelines. Next, the team must weigh in at an official weigh-in site to qualify. Each team member must lose at least 10 pounds to qualify in a drawing for one of 50 state prizes of $100 each.

Hoffmeister said an individual who wants to participate, but doesn’t have a team need not to worry.

“We do offer to put teams together, which I think a lot of people have found very helpful,” she said. (Losing weight) is a very personal matter a lot of times. It’s very emotional.”

Teams who complete the 10-week challenge with each member losing 10 pounds or more will qualify for a drawing to win one of three grand prizes. The first team drawn will win $250 per team member, the second team drawn will win $500 each and the third team drawn will win $1,000 each.

There are four official weigh-in sites in Shelby County — LadyWorks Fitness, Gold’s Gym in Pelham, the Pelham YMCA and the Alabama Power office in Columbiana.

Weigh-in dates at LadyWorks Fitness are Jan. 10 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.; Jan. 11 from 2-4 p.m.; Jan. 12 from 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Jan. 13 from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., Jan. 14 from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., Jan. 15 from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.; and Jan. 16 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Weigh-ins at Gold’s Gym are Jan. 10-11 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; and Jan. 12-16 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Weigh-ins at the Pelham YMCA are Jan. 10 from 10 a.m. – noon; and Jan. 12-16 from 7-9 a.m. and 5-7 p.m. Weigh-ins at Alabama Power are Jan. 14 from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.; or by appointment.

All team members must weigh-in at the same time at the same site. At the end of the contest, March 14-20, team members must weigh-out at the same site.

Contestants must be age 18 and older, and anyone who’s undergone weight-loss surgery is ineligible to participate.

Classes will also be offered at LadyWorks Fitness beginning Jan. 17. Hoffmeister said the eight-week class will address various topics such as setting goals, portion control and simple exercises.

For more information on Scale Back Alabama, call Hoffmeister at 664-1112, Gold’s Gym at 358-1330, the Pelham YMCA at 664-9622 or Alabama Power at 226-1374.