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March 6, 2008

Tales From the Scales: Rami's Roundies

The weight race team of computer science staff members from the 6th floor of Sennott Square have had mixed results so far, according to team captain Karen Dicks, who also is a Fitness for Life champion.

“The team is still enthusiastic,” Dicks said. “Our team is No. 110 in the latest rankings, but since some of us have high weight loss goals, we are not discouraged.”

Other team members are Kathleen Allport, Bob Hoffman, Kathy O’Connor and Terry Wood.

“Kathleen has lost 10 pounds so far, and we are really proud of her,” Dicks said. “I have lost seven, one team member is averaging losing one pound a week, one is averaging a half-pound and the last member has gained weight. We have a scale at work and everyone weighs in on that scale in private so that our numbers will be consistent for the [official] weigh-in.”

As incentive to the team to keep up their weight loss efforts, Dicks started taking pledges from nearby employees to benefit the American Cancer Society. “We are raising money for breast cancer research by getting faculty and staff to sponsor us based on the weight the entire team loses. So far, we have pledges totaling $4 per pound and we have some other flat contributions. We hope to raise around $250.”

The idea for the pledging came to Dicks because Allport is a breast cancer survivor, she said.

Allport said, “The cancer society really has helped me with money toward my wig, treatments and medication, so money does go toward helping breast cancer patients. This gesture on Karen’s part has tremendously blessed me.”

Dicks said two of the team members say pedometers have been helpful. “For example, Terry usually gets between 8,000 and 12,000 steps per day,” Dicks said. “Kathleen reports that she forgets to use the pedometer but walks as much as she can. She says that radiation treatments have damaged her lungs and that sometimes walking is difficult for her, but she says she can walk a little better” since the race began.

The team still plans to take up the offer of learning yoga techniques from a fellow staff member in the department, Dicks said. “The yoga class has not started yet due to bad weather and crazy schedules. We are trying to get on track next week. We still feel this would be helpful,” she said.

Allport also keeps a food journal. “It helps to see what is actually going into your mouth and makes you stop and think before eating those goodies,” she said. “I am trying to eat healthy, not diet, but be more cautious and aware of what I am eating — trying to eat more vegetables and fruit, making sure to follow the food groups. As we know, diets don’t work — it is changing your lifestyle that does.”

She says she is approaching the weight race by taking it one day at a time and one week at a time, rather than trying to do too much too fast.

—Peter Hart

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