Sometimes a little common sense can go a long way. When the Good Samaritan Health & Wellness Center realized its weight management program was losing participants and money, the hospital-based center decided to reach the community with a practical, yet effective, approach to weight loss that was successful because it was sensible.
Project Shape Up is a 12-week program that relies on small lifestyle changes that incorporate exercise, smart food choices and behavior modification. No rigid meal plans are used and no foods are restricted. Because changes are made slowly, they are easily tolerated, explains facility manager Jan Wolf.
On a weekly basis, participants work toward three goals, generally dealing with both activity and nutrition, such as maintaining fat intake at 20 percent or less and walking 10 minutes a day. Progress, along with a”positive talk” message and “shape-up tip,” is recorded weekly on the participants’ “Yes I Can” chart. And while calorie counting is not advised, the program categorizes foods into green, yellow and red zones, similar to a food pyramid, and offers suggested items to eat in each category. “Clients are able to indulge, simply not overindulge,” Wolf says. “Emphasis is placed upon eating every three to four hours, sensible eating, becoming an educated food consumer and exercising smarter, not harder.”
After marketing the program to the West Palm Beach community, Good Samaritan received 450 inquiries about Project Shape Up, an overwhelming response considering the wellness center had never received more than 200 inquiries about a promotion or program in eight years of operation.
After six months of implementation, Project Shape Up helped 297 people lose more than 2,500 pounds, for an average weight loss of 8.4 pounds per person. These numbers are particularly impressive considering that until Project Shape Up, the wellness center had only served a total of 49 participants in all weight management programs in its previous three years of operation.
The program’s net profit after six months was $13,008 and, to date, indirect revenue associated with Project Shape Up (i.e., memberships, personal training and massage services) exceeds $20,000.