School and work can make it hard to keep up a healthy lifestyle. To cope, USF has offered Weight Watchers to employees and students looking for a little help in the health department. Weight Watchers is an international company that supports weight loss through dieting meals plans.
According to Brenda Jaquith, assistant in the Office of Publications, Weight Watchers has been available on campus for several years now.
Jaquith said the Wellness Program brought on Weight Watchers initially for staff and faculty only. After two years, however, the program became open to students.
Weight Watchers is made available on campus as long as a minimum of participants sign up. At least 15 participants are needed from semester to semester. The average cost per meeting is $12, with the full series being paid in full at the first meeting. Weight Watchers has extended a discount to USF.
According to Kelly Kirk-Nissen, a coach in the Weight Watchers program, USF is giving 20% back to the first 15 staff, faculty, or students who join. This semester, the program will run for 12 weeks. The main requirement is a ‘minimum joining weight’, which indicates that all participants must be 5 pounds or more above Weight Watchers minimum weight.
Weekly sessions at USF are facilitated by Kirk-Nissen. She has been a Weight Watchers member herself for nearly 25 years and has been a Weight Watchers leader for a year and half now.
This is the fourth series being offered on campus. Kirk-Nissen has led sessions since September 2009. Weight Watchers fits easily into people’s already busy lives, and that is one of the main reasons the program was made available at USF.
Kirk Nissen said, “At Weight Watchers, we feel that if the meeting is brought to you, rather than having to schedule it into your already-busy day, your success is that much more likely.” The meetings provide weekly books and weekly mini-magazines that cover various topics discussed. Kirk-Nissen also brings various products to the session that are offered in regular Weight Watchers meetings.
Although Weight Watchers runs under the Wellness Program, USF Wellness has been renamed the WellCall Program, accessible to USF employees and their dependents only. Jaquith said, “There are several benefits, including learning about eating healthy foods, making smarter choices, changing habits, moving more, eating less unhealthy foods, getting and staying healthy for a lifetime.”
Also, she said, Weight Watchers provides “a great support team and we can do it on our lunch hour instead of taking time on the weekend or after work or classes.”
Senior and entrepreneurship major Anna Katrina Belda is one of the few students in the know about the program on campus. Belda said, “I first heard about the program last year. I think it’s great that USF is offering a support for those that need it, I believe that to be successful you need to be fit, healthy and on top of your game. Losing weight is not easy and a program like Weight Watchers could be a real help in boosting the process for some.” Belda noted that she has known of others who have participated in the program outside of USF and the effectiveness of the program, from helping others to shed many pounds to making it a life changing experience.
With people having busy schedules, the ability to have a program working on campus really eliminates the effort of getting to a center at another location. Sophia Martinez, a senior business administration major, was informed of the program via the school email. Martinez said, “If there is a large percentage of a student interest in this program, why not? I think it’s great that the program is located on campus, it’s so convenient. I believe that weight and being healthy is very important, so I do think that this program would be a great and accessible way for students to learn how to gain a more healthy and active lifestyle.”