SmartWeight: 8 weeks to transformation

The SmartWeight program is a coaching program that focuses on nutrition and setting individualized goals for the enrollees, according to Carrie Levesque, Wellness Coach, who, along with Donna Poe, runs the 8-week program.  Participants attend classes for 2 hours each week and do exercise on their own in between the group class.

Carrie explains that the course provides an introduction to exercise and its role in losing weight, but mainly focuses on nutrition education now.

“In a one-on-one evaluation, we look at their nutrition and exercise goals, we do an assessment of their weight,” Carrie said. “Then we focus on behavior change.”

Carrie explains the participants are encouraged to look at the long-term changes that are needed to change their lives.

“We identify how that person can be successful at meeting his or her goals. That might be through stress management techniques or, say, if they are very unhappy, we talk about the need for counseling or psychological help,” Carrie said.

SmartWeight programs have been running with 12 to 16 participants per class lately, Carrie says, and she finds the participants love it.

After the 8-week program, about half of participants stay on as Wellness Center members because they’ve learned to make exercise a habit.  “We find it’s really hard for them to maintain their progress if they try to go it alone.  Some people need motivation from others to stick with it,” she said.

“It’s a training program, but it uses the tools and techniques of counseling. We don’t look at the past and how they got here, but we look ahead and how can they achieve what they want to achieve,” Carrie said. “If it’s time management that keeps them from reaching a goal, we explore their values and what they’re doing with their time.”

Since the program began, Carrie has seen quite a number of people who have made significant transformations in their lives.

“I’ve seen a few who went from total inactivity and were making very bad food choices, but who have now done a complete 180.  They have re-arranged their life and their schedule and I’ve seen two people who have worked for more than two years to lose 70 to 100 pounds,” Carrie says. “One participant said she just made changing her life ‘her hobby’ and that approach has worked for her.”

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