Photo by Cindy Mason
Virginia Calame demonstrates exercise using resistance bands, with the help of Pastor David Clewell.
‘Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you, and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.’ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NLT)
By Cindy Mason, Contributing Writer
Oklahoma ranks seventh-highest among all states for the rate of obesity in adults, according to a report from the Trust for America’s Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The report lists Oklahoma’s obesity rate at 31.4 percent. Also, 16.4 percent of Oklahomans younger than 18 are obese, placing the state 17th nationally for childhood obesity.
How can we move beyond these statistics and become healthier?
OKC-Quayle Springs United Methodist Church took steps to answer that question. The church put a wellness plan into action in January 2011. The program begins its second run this month.
Church member Virginia Calame believes in the value of exercise for improving health. "It is obvious to me that people have to move!" she stated. "We all need to realize the importance of assuming the responsibility of our own health. It is very exciting to be a part of this innovative program."
She said she dances tap six hours weekly and works with a trainer two hours.
During a workout session, Calame learned from Warren Jones, a certified personal trainer, about a research study conducted at a United Methodist church in North Carolina. A church-based wellness program was a key component. Calame and Jones decided a similar program needed to be offered at Quail Springs Church.
Calame talked with Pastor David Clewell, then she and Jones developed plan specifics and a schedule. A grant from the Margaret E. Petree Fund covered one-third of the costs. Other personal and private contributions made it possible to offer the program at no charge to participants.
The FAN Club – Faith, Activity, Nutrition—was on its feet, with 46 people engaged.
Calame said the program’s purpose is to help people learn to engage in better wellness activities—physically and spiritually.
In January 2011, the 12-week program launched, with eight group sessions at Quail Springs UMC and participants on their own the last four weeks. Each session featured a motivational opening, lecture on the metabolic syndrome, nutrition tips, exercise led by Jones, and closing by Rev. Dr. Clewell, focusing on spiritual discipline. Healthy snacks were offered.
Each member was provided a heart-rate monitor, a set of exercise bands, and the book "Mayo Clinic Diet."
They set personal spiritual and physical goals and shared in smaller accountability groups. Everyone weighed-in weekly and received helpful handouts.
Both at the beginning and conclusion of the program, blood tests assessed cholesterol and glucose levels for each participant. Weight and height were noted. Waist and hip measurements were recorded, as well as blood pressure, body mass index, body composition, and resting heart rate.
"The program was very well received. We all saw significant improvement as far as physical measurements," Clewell said.
A total of 38 people took part in the final weigh-in. Of those, 35 lost weight, approximately 11 pounds each. The majority lost inches at their waists and hips. Nineteen saw blood pressure improve, and 21 saw improvements in triglyceride levels.
"I thought of myself as being healthy before this program," said Clewell. "I learned that my cholesterol was high and my weight was high. In fact, I had all five components of the metabolic syndrome; the result would be shortened life span and quality of life. At the end of the program I no longer had the syndrome!"
The FAN Club 2012 kicked off Jan. 22 and will run eight weeks. "Being good Methodists, we will start each session with a meal—healthy, of course," Calame said.
Scheduled speakers include three dietitians, as well as Jones and others in health fields. The group exercises will vary, too. YMCA teachers will lead three routines; Jazzercise and Pilates will be introduced.
Prayer time with Pastor Clewell remains the exclamation point for every session.
And for the second year, The FAN Club is a free opportunity, "because of some very generous personal/private contributions and (now) the program is in the church budget," said Calame.