WALK & TALK: 8-week weight loss challenge begins next week, see how to join

Published 12:28 am Saturday, April 2, 2022

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Texas A&M Agriflife Extension is beginning an 8-week “Walk and Talk” challenge at the Raymond Gould Community Center from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. April 4.

The event will be held every Monday through May 23 and is free and open to the public.

The target audience is 18 years old and up, and attendees are encouraged to bring a water bottle and comfortable walking shoes.

“We will meet at the gazebo in the center of the park,” said Tommy Byers, Agrilife nutrition educator. “During this series, participants will learn the importance of fruits, vegetables and their role on physical activity. I chose this location because it is open with a good-sized walking track. The park has public restrooms, as well as a water fountain. In case the weather is bad, we can utilize the community center, which is on site, to continue our class inside.”

Byers said the hour is broken down by lecture and then the daily exercises.

“We will arrive at 2 p.m. and have a brief introduction, go over the lesson for the day, then go into stretching and a lite warmup, followed by walking around the track,” he said. “Before we leave, we will join back into our group, and I will do a recap of the lesson. Each day will be a different lesson over health and nutrition. If it is raining, then we will meet inside the community center, and the lesson will be modified for inside exercise.”

Byers said at the end of each series, participants receive an incentive item that goes along with that day’s lesson.

The incentive items will be health-related and will help keep track of your steps or promote ways to plan out meals.

“The goal of the program is to provide individuals with the knowledge and skills to create a physical activity and stick with it,” Byers said. “The goal can be small, or as big as you want it. Throughout the eight weeks, those attending will learn how small goals can lead to big goals.”

The challenge focuses on basic health, nutrition and creating permanent healthy habits.

“This will provide participants with the skills to stay independent as they get into their golden years,” Byers said. “The Better Goal of the Better Living for Texans program is to improve the health of Texas, one Texan at a time. These programs are important to me, because it allows me the opportunity to make connections within my community.

“I have lived in Orange County my whole life and through these programs I am able to see the needs within Orange County. I can relate to my audience, because in Orange County, you are family. Learning about food is important because it provides us with energy. If we are constantly eating empty calories, then our body is going to continue running on autopilot. By providing our bodies with nutritional value, then our body will have more energy.”

Byers said his kindergarten teacher, “Mrs. Murphy,” was a major influence on him.

She provided him with the skills to be helpful in the.

“When I was a student in her class, I would participate in the Relay for Life,” he said. “After walking the survivors lap, Mrs. Murphy would be in the audience cheering me on. She was much more than just a teacher; she was a role model and showed me the importance of being a positive influence on others.”

Byers said working in groups keeps you motivated and allows you to create friendly competition to keep each other on track.

“It has been proven if you work out in a group you are more likely to continue,” he said. “You can show up without registering, but I encourage you to register ahead of time. This way I will have a better understanding of how much materials I will need to bring.”

For more information, call Texas A&M Agrilife Extension at 409-882-7010.

— Written by Sierra Kondos