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February 22, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

New program fights holiday weight gain

The holiday season is here and for most Americans, that means some weight gain.

The University’s Wellness Connection program is offering a solution for faculty, staff and students who are looking to maintain their weight instead.

Maintain, Don’t Gain is a program focused on maintaining the same weight as the holidays pass, schedules get busier and food starts getting passed around more.

Health Educator for the Wellness Connection, Karyn Smith, runs the program. She said the program’s goal is to let people enjoy their time with their families, but still keep health in mind.

Smith said the couple of pounds that many Americans gain during the holidays can be a struggle to lose later on. When these pounds build up year after year, people begin to struggle with obesity, Smith said.

The program is geared toward behaviors that cause holiday weight gain as opposed to strategies for how to lose it. Smith said that if people knew what behaviors were harming them, it would be easier to stop these habits.

The program started with a pre-Thanksgiving weigh-in and will end the first week of the spring semester when the participants come back to be weighed again. Participants can also request mid-program weigh-ins to track their progress.

Smith said anyone who has gained no more than two pounds over their original weight meets the goal. She said that approximately 90 percent of participants reach this goal each year.

“The positive feedback that I get from [the program], is that [participants] like the accountability of it,” Smith said.

Senior Katerina Virostko said it’s “really important” to have maintain programs like this. She said that some programs that promote weight loss might also unintentionally promote unhealthy habits to lose weight.

“[The Wellness Connection’s] whole goal is to create a culture of health and wellness on this campus,” Smith said.

If someone didn’t want to do the program alone, teams were also welcome to participate, Smith said.

Prizes are available for people who successfully complete the program’s maintain challenge. Smith said the final decisions haven’t been made yet, but one of the confirmed prizes is an Ergotron WorkFit-P desk. This is a device that attaches to any desk and lifts up so the person at the desk can choose to stand or sit.

Smith said that local businesses often donate prizes for the Maintain, Don’t Gain program.

Sophomore Mark Ebel said “it’s better than nothing” for people who are trying to maintain their weight.

“Losing might be better,” Ebel said, “but not everyone wants to lose weight.”

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