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SMC starts Weight Watchers program

Kelly Davis | Thursday, September 25, 2008

“Stop dieting. Start living,” is the Weight Watchers slogan, according to the weight loss plan’s Web site. Saint Mary’s senior Kelly Gasior, who started a Weight Watchers group on the College’s campus this year, said 22 Saint Mary’s students, staff and professors hope to do just that.

Gasior worked with Saint Mary’s Director of Women’s Health Catherine DeCleene to start an “At Work” program. The program lasts for 17 weeks, with breaks for academic year recesses, so they will meet until the end of February, Gasior said.

DeCleene told The Observer that other students had contacted her over the summer about starting the program on campus. She said Weight Watchers “is a tried and true program which has proven itself in the long run.”

According to WeightWatchers.com, the program has two different diet plans. First, the “Flex Plan” allows participants to eat anything, so long as the “Points Values” for each food are tracked. Each person has a specified number of “points” they should stay under for a given day. The “Core Plan” requires no tracking of “points” because members eat foods specified on a list provided by Weight Watchers. The plan also takes into account daily activity and exercise.

Another crucial aspect of Weight Watchers is the weekly meeting. Meetings consist of confidential weigh-ins, and time for participants to discuss the program, as well as individual struggles or accomplishments, Gasior said.

Motivated by her mom’s loss of 35 pounds on Weight Watchers, Gasior joined last summer and did not want to stop attending the weekly meetings “because the support from the group is really important and it makes a noticeable difference,” she said.

“Even though there are several meetings in the area, bringing the program to campus is the most convenient way to keep up with it and to share this great program with students and other members of the Saint Mary’s community,” Gasior said.

Saint Mary’s senior Emily Croft joined the new program “not only to lose weight, but to learn healthy lifestyle and eating routines that work for my body,” she said.

Croft said she is unsure about how she will handle the plethora of options in the dining hall, but Gasior assured her that success is possible.

“It is so easy for me to grab a cookie to munch on while I am browsing the stations to find what I would like to eat,” Croft said. “But one of the great things about Weight Watchers is that there is no food that is completely off limits. Weight Watchers is concerned with portion control and not self-denial, which just sets a person up for failure.”

Saint Mary’s Vice President of Student Affairs Karen Johnson also joined the program on campus.

“It’s a great model for healthy living as opposed to ‘dieting’ all the time,” she said.

Notre Dame also has two “At Work” Weight Watchers programs, sponsored by the Office of Human Resources on campus.