Chester McClora has lost six inches from around his waist. While he had hoped for more pounds lost, he's satisfied with his progress and hopes to continue his wellness journey.
"When you have a big belly sticking out there, and you're a deacon in the church, it looks bad," said McClora, a retired electrician and member of St. Matthews M.B. Church. "I haven't lost a lot of weight, but I am concerned about my health. I don't want to have a heart attack."
McClora weighed 247 lbs. before he took the "Challenge." He's four pounds lighter and one of hundreds from nearly 35 Mid-South churches who have lost collectively more than 1,700 pounds since the official launch by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. He's set a weight goal of reaching 220 pounds.
Those with weight-loss goals are encouraged to participate in the Kids Literacy Walk from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., or the Healthy Church Challenge Literacy Walk for adults from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Douglass Park on Friday (June 15) the opening day of the Juneteenth Freedom & Heritage Festival.
On Saturday (June 16) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the public is encouraged to attend The Obesity Summit at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis, 3700 Central Avenue.
The Summit is free and open to the public. The purpose is to educate participants, disseminate health information and encourage participants to eat a well-balanced diet, exercise and live a healthy lifestyle both spiritually and physically.
There will be wellness presentations sponsored by Baptist Memorial Health Care and topics including "Disease Management," "Effects of Obesity in Children," "Changing Habits," "What is a Well-Balanced Diet," and "How to Prepare Healthy Meals." Health screenings will be available and vendors will be at the Summit with health-related information and products.
Rosalind Kurita, policy advisor to the Tennessee Department of Health, and Donna Richardson Joyner, an internationally renowned fitness expert, will be the keynote speakers for the Summit. Joyner will work out with participants briefly following her address. She worked out with nearly 100 participants in March and led the way in rigorous exercises and dance-like moves.
The finale is Sunday (June 17). The winners of The Healthy Church Challenge 100-day weight loss competition will be announced at 3 p.m., at the Juneteenth Freedom & Heritage Festival. Monetary gift certificates will be awarded to first, second and third-place place churches whose teams lose the greatest percentage of weight, and a $500 gift certificate will be awarded to the person who loses the greatest amount of weight overall.
Along with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, the Challenge is sponsored by Baptist Memorial Health Care, News Channel 3, Hallelujah 95.7 FM, The New Tri-State Defender, and the Juneteenth Freedom and Heritage Festival.
(For more information, call 901-278-0881.)