AUBURN, Ala. — Wendy Thomas arrived at the Harris Center in Auburn on Wednesday, decked in her purple and black exercise outfit and prepared for her afternoon workout. First, Thomas hopped on a scale, an added step to her usual workout routine.

For the second year, Thomas weighed herself on the first day of weigh-in week for the statewide weight-loss contest Scale Back Alabama. Though she kept off pounds lost during last year’s contest, Thomas said she recently found out she is borderline diabetic and is working to improve her health.

“My goal actually is just to stay active and, at the same time, lose weight,” Thomas said.

Others joined Thomas across the community and state Wednesday as weigh-in week kicked off for the annual program. Scale Back Alabama, now in its 11th year, began to help Alabamians drop pounds and reduce the number of cases of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.

This year the program has been shortened from the usual 10 weeks to eight, challenging participants to lose 10 pounds during the contest. Those who reach the goal will be entered to win local and state prizes.

Auburn Parks and Recreation, the East Alabama Medical Center and Opelika Parks and Recreation serve as local weigh-in sites for the program, along with other local businesses and organizations.


Get out, get active, get healthy

The three, along with both Opelika and Auburn chambers of commerce and the hospital’s Parish Nurse Program, make up the Lee County Committee for Scale Back Alabama. The committee was formed with the help of Alison Hall, community and special programs director with Auburn Parks and Recreation, to help promote the contest in Lee County.

“We’ve seen our participation increase each year at our public weigh-in sites,” Hall said. “And, again, we just want to encourage people to get out, get active, get healthy and hopefully utilize our programs and facilities to do so.”

The committee will host several events until the program ends in April to help participants get moving and maintain their fitness goals. The second annual Zumbathon is set for Feb. 18 at the Boykin Community Center’s gym. Walk With a Doc will be Feb. 28 at EAMC where participants will have a chance to talk, walk and ask area doctors questions. The Hands on Nutrition program is set for March 27 at 6 p.m. at the Harris Center.

Auburn Parks and Recreation will also host other fitness programs throughout the spring including the Walk With Ease program, Love Your Heart Run, Fit as a Fiddle and an Exercise Egg Hunt.

Whitney Morris, aquatics and special events coordinator for Auburn Parks and Recreation, also said a new yearlong program, Active Auburn, is set to kick off once Scale Back Alabama ends in April.

“We’re going to kick it off with Scale Back events and then move into this year-long campaign to promote a healthier, more active community that both encourages people to get out and get healthy and exercise, but also allows them the opportunity to get to know parts of town that they may not know about like Town Creek or some of our smaller parks,” Morris said.

Weigh-in week began Wednesday and will run through Jan. 18. Public weigh-in sites are available across Lee County and can be found at www.scalebackalabama.com/sites. For more information about Auburn Parks and Recreation programs, visit www.auburnalabama.org/parks.