"Commit To Be Fit" with Howard Ballou - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

"Commit To Be Fit" with Howard Ballou

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

As a state, Mississippi does not have a lot of statistics in our favor and there's not a lot we can do about them, individually, except for one and that is obesity.

I decided to take the challenge and shed a few pounds, but after a check up, my annual New Year's resolution turned into a mission to Commit To Be Fit

My wife, Deborah, and I had already decided we needed to shed some pounds.

There are many great diet programs out there and the one we found was at St. Dominic hospital, called Healthy Weight Advantage.

Experts say weight loss is usually more effective if couples do it together.

I met with Nurse Nancy Jones for a program overview and a physical.

She led me to the scale.

It didn't take long for me to discover that it wasn't just a few pounds I needed to shed. 

"That means on my chart, my BMI chart, you fall into the obese state," Jones said.

I never thought of myself as obese; although others may have, but based on the Body Mass Index, or BMI scale.

 I had become a statistic, obese, in the state that leads the nation in obesity. 

"You're not in the extreme obese, so that's good," Jones said. 

But not good enough.

Dr. Ralph Sulser is medical director for St. Dominic's Healthy Weight Advantage program.

I asked him what are the potential risks? 

"One of the biggest risks is the development of diabetes, of adult onset diabetes, which we're seeing a rapid increase in that in the south. Used to be known as the Bible Belt, now we're known as the diabetes belt," Dr. Sulser said. "Also, other factors, including hypertension, lipid abnormalities, heart disease and if you look at statistics, overall mortality increase from all causes as you gain weight, particularly as become obese." 

Fortunately, I haven't developed all of these health problems and I don't plan to.

It was time to get busy in the classroom with registered dietician, Blair Wright, and Commit To Be Fit.

Mississippian Patrick House did it on NBC's 'The Biggest Loser'.

State Representative Mary Coleman did it along with other Mississippi lawmakers.

I'm doing it, too.

We'll tell you more about that in upcoming reports. 

I've already had a prominent Jackson resident join the Commit To Be Fit team.

Popular editorial cartoonist Marshall Ramsey contacted me through Facebook saying he needs to lose a few pounds and we are going to be tracking each other's progress on WLBT, his radio show, and on Twitter and Facebook.

I want to hear about your progress, also.

Just email me at hballou@wlbt.com

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