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State of Health

Free Total Wellness Program Helping Oklahomans Meet Health Goals

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

Did you know in Oklahoma, 71 percent of people 18 years or older are overweight or obese. The Oklahoma City-County Health Department offers a free weight loss and disease prevention program called Total Wellness.

"People join the Total Wellness program for all different reasons," said Allyson Drain, Total Wellness instructor.

Mary L. Lee's goals are to lose weight and lower her blood pressure.

"I'm 80-plus, so I want to get myself in shape so my doctor will be proud of me," said Total Wellness participant Mary L. Lee.

 "Our goal for each individual person is to lose about 5 percent of their body weight and to exercise about 30 minutes a day," Drain said.

Teresa Broughton wants to lose weight and sleep better.

"I got tired of doing the weight thing," she said. "You know, the yo-yo diets.

"Joining this, it's going to help me in get fit, help me cook the right foods, cooking them the right way. And I know if you eat right, you'll get more sleep. Right now I'm probably at 3-4 hours of sleep."

"We do offer screenings," said Total Wellness Instructor Allyson Drain. "Where we may test people's cholesterol and blood sugar and blood pressure."

Participant Lesa Wilson wants to lose weight.

"I have not been this heavy since the beginning of the '90s and I've allowed myself to get out of control," Wilson said. "I have high blood pressure, my knees are starting to hurt, it's just time."

"The reason why we focus on weight loss is because that is the number one way to prevent chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease," Drain said.

Each week each person is given homework and in that homework is to keep a food diary and to record how much you're exercising.  

"I have my chopped salad kit, my water, protein shake," Lesa Wilson said. "I'm counting my calories and my carb intake."

"I feel better," she said. "Just knowing that I'm eating healthier, I feel better."

"Along with exercise - I know I can do it, just gotta do it, I know I can do it," Wilson said.

"Whether it's a sport or just walking in nature or gardening - whatever you enjoy doing, that's the activity you're going to continue," said Allyson Drain, healthy lifestyle instructor.

"I'm doing my yard work and doing my chores at the house," said Mary L. Lee. "Keeping my house clean, cooking for myself and just taking care of Mary."

"Feeling wonderful - just more active."

"Each one has kind of changed in different ways," Drain said.

"I go to school every day, I park all the way out," Lesa Wilson said. "And I was huffing and puffing when I first started, you should see me moving now.

"I'm happy with that. I feel much better - my clothes fit."

"I'm doing good," said Teresa Broughton, Total Wellness participant. "I'm beginning to get more exercise in because I take my little puppy for a walk.

"I'm getting more sleep. I usually got maybe 3, 4 hours of sleep throughout the night, so I'm sleeping better."

"My eating has completely changed and that's what I'm happy about," said Lesa, who lost 10 pounds in the program. 

Mary lost 5 pounds and lowered her blood pressure.

"I feel great, I really do," she said. "I have more energy."

"Over 80 percent of our clients that come through the program do lose weight and over 70 percent improve their labs," Drain said.

Teresa has lost weight and is sleeping better as well.

"I've started eating more fruit, I started eating more vegetables," she said. "I have more energy than usual, and I'm sleeping better at night, for sure.

"I reached my goal," she said. "I'm not actually squeezing into my clothes, and I'm actually having to wear belts to keep them up so, yeah, I'm happy."

"That's why we're here, is to help people lose weight and to help people feel so much better," said instructor Allyson Drain.

A total of 250 people graduated from the eight-week course. Together they lost 1,200 pounds.

The Total Wellness Program is in its 10th year with a total loss of 24,000 pounds.

Bill Rice is considered the program's super star. He weighed 245 pounds when he started the program. After four sessions, he lost 75 pounds. With diet and exercise, he's managed to keep it off.

Now, Bill volunteers his time to motivate others who are taking the course.

"It's done so much for me, I actually feel it's added several years to my life. As a result, I try to give back a little it so I work with the program."

The program is offered four times a year and is free to anyone who lives in Oklahoma County.

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