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Scaling back!

Local participation in the statewide weight loss initiative, Scale Back Alabama, was heavy – pun intended.

Monday marked the Andalusia kickoff to the 10-week program designed to encourage Alabamians to lose weight and exercise. The goal is for each participant to lose 10 pounds in the 10-week period. Participants will compete on teams of four for statewide recognition and prizes.

W.D. and Debi Henderson are among the locals signed up for the statewide weight loss initiative, Scale Back Alabama.

By lunch, 14 teams had signed up on the first day of registration at Andalusia Regional Hospital. Registration will continue today from 7:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the classroom across from the dining hall.

“That’s 56 people who have taken up the challenge,” said ARH’s Valarie McCalman. “Last year, we had 25 teams, and we’re hoping to top that number this year.”

Among those signing up were W.D. and Debi Henderson, who, along with Susan Varner and Julia Swain make up the “Biggest Losers.”

Debi said her goal is to lose 50 pounds.

“I know it won’t be in that 10-week period, but I’m going to do it,” she said.

When asked why she and her husband elected to join Scale Back, her answer was quick.

“Because we’re fat and chunky and really out of shape,” she said with a laugh. “But I need to do this. I’ve got health issues like diabetes, and I need to get healthier.”

W.D. said he’s already started his weight loss plan.

“I’ve lost 24 pounds already, but I still got 20 more to go,” he said.

The couple said the key to their weight loss was “lots of salads and lots and lots of walking.”

To help participants understand the keys of exercise and healthy eating, ARH will sponsor nutrition classes on Wednesday beginning Feb. 1 at 3 p.m. in the hospital dining room.

Weigh-outs are scheduled for Mon., April 9, and Tues., April 10, from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.