Originally created 05/02/00

Motivated to lose



LaSaundria Walker says she's getting more attention from the opposite sex these days.

That may be because the 21-year-old has slimmed down from a size 22 to a size 18. She has gone from 230 pounds to 219 in two months. Miss Walker's goal is to reach 160 pounds.

"I was at Taco Bell a few nights ago with my sister, and she said a whole group of guys were looking at me," Miss Walker said.

It's that type of response that helps motivate the young Weight Loss 2000 participant.

"The last couple of weeks I got real focused on my weight loss," Miss Walker said.

The weekly updates on Weight Loss 2000 participant George Ball Jr., who lost 25 pounds in a month, has made Miss Walker more committed to her task.

"He is doing such a great job," she said. "It's going to be hard to catch up to him."

Miss Walker said she is on the road to weight loss with the help of the trainers and staff at Powerhouse Gym West on Bobby Jones Expressway.

"All of us are pulling for her," said gym manager Al Hunter. "I think that she got off to a slow start, but now she is very motivated. She is seeing some weight loss results, and now she is committed to a new lifestyle."

Mr. Hunter said Miss Walker's biggest challenge is to stay on a steady course of healthful eating and regular exercise.

"She cannot afford to get off track," he said.

In addition to working full time at Sitel call center, Miss Walker has taken a second job at a Long John Silver's restaurant.

"I'm not going to lie and say I don't eat the food," Miss Walker said. "It's hard, because I love that food. But I don't order the dinners, and I take the batter off."

Miss Walker said she tries to go to Powerhouse Gym at least four times a week. Some weeks, she makes it in five times.

At the gym she walks five miles, which takes about 90 minutes. She has started adding toning exercises to her routine. She is working on her abdominal muscles and will begin weight training with very small weights in a couple of weeks.

"It's kind of like AA," Miss Walker said. "I wake up in the morning and say, `Today I am going to do the best I can do."'

About the series

The Augusta Chronicle is following four people who volunteered to go public with their battle of the bulge by participating in weight-loss programs. We offer an update on one participant's progress every Tuesday.

Today is our third follow-up with LaSaundria Walker, a 21-year-old mother of one. She has lost 11 pounds. She is working with Powerhouse Gym West on Bobby Jones Expressway. As we follow our participants' progress each week, we'll provide information that you can use in your own battle to lose weight.

Health tip

The following advice is from the book The LEARN Program for Weight Management 2000 by Kelly D. Brownell. Dr. Brownell offers advice for a more healthful lifestyle. Broken down into 16 lessons, this book chronicles possible problems to weight loss, such as barriers to physical activity, the myth of spot reducing, eating away from home, coping with lapses and preventing relapses.

TIP: Most Americans fall short in their daily consumption of fruit. This is particularly true is children and adolescents. Dinnertime is an excellent time to review your fruit intake for the day. If you missed a serving or two during the day, add a glass of fruit juice to your evening menu.

Health pledge

More than 50 people have committed to the Weight Loss 2000 project. Here are a few more contract signers who have declared their intent to lose weight and live a more healthful lifestyle. To add your name to the list, sign the contract on page 2B of The Augusta Chronicle, or go to www.augustachronicle.com.

Phyllis Pollard-Henley, Augusta

Sherrill LaTasha Pollard, Augusta

Amy Bailey, Hephzibah

Jonathan Crumps, Edgefield, S.C.

Reach Barnini Chakraborty at (706) 823-3332 or barnini.chakraborty@augustachronicle.com.