Panola County Healthy

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Biggest Loser Contest Begins

Last year Panola County ranked as one of the least healthy counties in the state. That didn’t set well with local County Extension Agent Vickie Lacy and she began working relentlessly to create opportunities for a healthier community. Two challenges were initiated with both having successful results—Walk Across Texas and the Biggest Loser Challenge. Walk Across Texas just wrapped up with 20 teams participating. A combined total of 32,983 miles was completed within an 8-week period. That equals 39 trips across Texas! The kick-off for next year is Monday, October 3, 2016, so get your team ready and mark it on your calendar.

The inaugural program of the Biggest Loser began last January and was a huge success with 143 people participating. A total of 632 pounds were lost with Mike McGowan taking the top prize, and Alice Claiborne finishing second. McGowan lost 60 pounds within the 3-month contest and has since lost 20 more. He plans to join the contest again to take off 20 more pounds. Each week participants weighed in and heard lessons from area experts that covered a wide range of topics pertaining to health and fitness. “Mike McGowan said the accountability and the clinical information helped him,” said Lacy. “The weigh-ins are brutally honest, but the support makes it emotionally bearable. We want to see more persons finish the program this year.”

The kick-off for this year’s Biggest Loser contest is Thursday, January 21, in the Lecture Hall of the Panola College Health Science Center. The group will meet each week at 5:30pm to hear information about health and fitness. Weekly weigh-ins will take place at the AgriLife Extension Office at 522 W. College Street beginning at 8:30am or prior to the 5:30pm meetings at the College. Lessons will cover topics such as: eating healthy, reading nutrition labels, what to do about breakfast, the impact of exercise, healthy snacking, making a colorful plate, successful socializing, knowing your numbers, ways to get motivated and setting goals. A list of speakers include Dr. Joel Hill, chiropractor, Ginger Adams, ETMC nurse, Yolanda Williams, RD, WIC, Gene Riggs, Trainer, John Solan, Psychologist, Trainer, Don Cocklin, Licensed Professional Counselor, Sharon Ivey, Educator, and Andrea Oliver, Nurse Practitioner.  Others are also being added.

Registration for the Biggest Loser will begin January 4 at the AgriLife Extension office between 8:30am and 4:00pm. The cost is $40. According to Lacy, “This fee is determined by our state office. A portion of each registration must go for state administration costs. We have cash prizes for those that finish with the highest weight loss.”

Members of the Walk Across Texas and the Biggest Loser Coalition Committees are: Ginger Adams, Amy Allison, Don Cocklin, Susan Corley, Teresa Dennard, Dr. Joel Hill, Sharon Ivey, Joni Reed, Sharon Rivard, Pat Whitaker, and Vickie Lacy. For more information about the above programs, contact Lacy at 903.330.9978 or 903.693.0380 or stop by the AgriLife Extension office on W. College Street (behind Jalapeno Tree.)