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One in three adults in Tennessee is overweight. With the rising obesity rate in the U.S., weight loss is a billion-dollar industry selling diets, quick-fix programs and workout plans. A common thread among these one-and-done offerings? Telling a participant what to do, or eat, without establishing long-standing, sustainable habits that fit with their unique lifestyle. That's why we started the YMCA's Weight Loss Program.

Our Weight Loss Program was designed to bridge the gap between setting a goal and staying accountable. As Director of Healthy Living Elizabeth Hughes describes it, the program doesn’t give participants a prescription for what to eat or how much to exercise. Instead, the group encourages participants to make small, healthy changes. “It’s about coaching, and facilitating group discussion, and helping people identify barriers,” Elizabeth says. “We want to see people’s lives changed.”

One participant, Loretta, says the YMCA’s Weight Loss Program helped her think outside of the box of things that hadn’t worked in the past. “I realized that sometimes, even if I have a plan, it may not be realistic. I also learned that some things I already do have me on the right track. [The Weight Loss Program] makes you feel that even though your steps may be small, every step counts! I love how learning different tricks to make better decisions has stuck with me.”

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The 12-week program encourages participants to share their successes with other members of the group and motivate each other when sticking to their goals gets tough. “It made me feel so much better knowing that there are others who struggle with the same battles I face; knowing that I don’t have to face them alone was great,” Loretta says. “Also, being able to hear different options on how to deal with [challenges] and learning new things I can try was a huge help for me.”

She’s learned how to make better choices, how to track her food, and even how to open up to her fellow classmates. And, she lost weight in the process. “Elizabeth helped me feel comfortable enough to open up about personal issues I face daily without feeling judged or shy. I think this was the best part of the class, because if you’re not honest with the facilitator or with yourself, it won’t work.”

Loretta plans on carrying these new skills into her day-to-day life to tackle those issues that once held her back. "[The Weight Loss Program] opened my eyes to a lot of new things that I feel I can do and will continue to do daily,” she says. “I would encourage anyone thinking of losing weight to take this class. It is worth it."

Find a Weight Loss Program class near you at ymcamidtn.org/weight-lossPricing is just $69 for members for all 12 sessions. See below for dates and to secure your spot.

Maryland Farms YMCA

Starts Wednesday, Sept. 4 from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Register now

Brentwood Family YMCA

Starts Wednesday, Sept. 4 from 5-6 p.m.

Register now

North Rutherford Family YMCA

Starts Tuesday, Sept. 10 from 6-7 p.m.

Register now

Clarksville Area YMCA

Starts Thursday, Sept. 5 from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Register now