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Alexander House helping seniors slim down

May 22, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

Phyllis Shedd is happily working her way back down through her wardrobe, thanks to the Alexander House Achievers.

"I've lost 14 pounds so far," Shedd said. "I wanted to lose weight so I could fit in my clothes."

The class, which attracts six or more seniors each Tuesday at 10 a.m., is informal and that's the way Audrey Tebbs like to keep things.

An assistant manager at the Alexander House, Tebbs is employed by the Washington County Commission on Aging. She started the class last fall and has been pleased with the results.

"We even give out prizes each week as incentives. The biggest loser gets $1 for each pound lost," Tebbs said.

Eva Marusak has lost eight pounds but her big concern is lowering her cholesterol. For an 80-year-old in good health, the class is a way to keep the weight off and enjoy good company at the same time.

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Tebbs stresses that the weekly hour-long sessions do not perform miracles but when considering the ages of most of the participants, the results are promising.

The senior citizens are encouraged to exercise at least 10 minutes every day, especially by walking, Tebbs said.

Bernice Jackson, 70, lives in Elizabeth Court down the street from the Alexander House but she volunteers at mealtime and thus attends the sessions.

"I've lost 10 pounds and I did it because of the encouragement," she said.

A borderline diabetic, Jackson said she finds that when she eats a heavy meal, she feels tired. Through the class she has learned to eat lighter.

All participants are encouraged to attend the weekly meetings, make a small donation of $1 if possible, walk three to five times a week, drink water regularly, plan menus in advance, set goals, celebrate accomplishments and not get discouraged, Tebbs said.

"I used to go to Weight Watchers and I lost but I gained it all back," said Coriene Jackson, 73. "I need to go down so I look good in my clothes and feel good in my joints."

Anna Kery, 71, quit smoking and began to gain weight. "I only want to lose five or 10 pounds and then maintain my weight."

Tebbs she wants the seniors in her group to have fun and to make the best choices about what food they put in their mouths each day.

All seniors in the community are invited to attend the group.

For more information, contact Tebbs at 301-790-0275, ext. 212.

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