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Pledge the pounds to feed Waco's hungry

Jan. 26, 2010

Weight loss challenge helps local food banks

By John Elizondo

There is now a way to lose weight and help the community at the same time, thanks to the Pound for Pound Challenge, which is being sponsored for the first time by the Baylor fitness department to help serve Waco food banks.

The Pound for Pound Challenge organization will donate 14 cents to Feeding America, a national food bank distributor, for every pound pledged to be lost. Feeding America will then donate and distribute the money to local food banks, Caritas and Mission Waco. According to its Web site, 14 cents is the amount of money deliver one pound of food to a food bank.

"The Pound for Pound Challenge will donate a pound of food for every pound of weight pledged to be lost and it is going on now until June 30 of this year" Crystal Brewster, campus recreation graduate assistant, said. "So what we are trying to do as Baylor's fitness department is to get the whole Waco and Baylor community involved because our community does have a dire need for food in our food banks, and we could all get fit."

This is the first time the challenge is taking place at Baylor, and the visionary of the event, assistant director for campus recreation fitness Van Davis, believes it is the perfect source of motivation for people who want to lose weight.

"Most people put together a weight loss goal, they stop [working out] two or three weeks into it, but hopefully this will serve as more of an incentive to do it for a bigger cause than just themselves," Davis said.

According to the organization's Web site, the state of Texas has 7,701 pledges and more than 240,000 pounds of weight pledged. The Baylor Pound for Pound Challenge only has 40 to 60 participants right now including from students, faculty and Waco residents.

Mansfield senior Lauren Novak is participating in the challenge and thinks the event is a great idea that will provide an opportunity for fellow Baylor students to help serve the community.

"I thought it was a good incentive to maintain health and lose a little bit of excess weight so that it is better for our bodies and then give back to the community, especially those that are in need," Novak said.

Novak said some of her friends have signed up for the challenge already and encourages others to do so too.

"It is easy [and free] to join the Pound for Pound Challenge," Brewster said.

To join all people need to do is to go to the Baylor fitness Web site, click on the Pound for Pound Challenge link, state the amount of weight they pledge to lose and then e-mail the fitness department at to let them know how much weight and how many pounds they pledge to lose.

Davis said there will be many events to help people who join the Pound for Pound challenge ,including a Body I.Q. forum at 7 p.m. Thursday in Bennett Auditorium, which will allow students and faculty to ask questions regarding health, wellness and body image.

Prospective participants of the Pound for Pound Challenge may also receive free fitness assessments that will help participants find out body fat percentage, body weight and BMI (Body Mass Index) at 2 p.m. Saturday in the McLane Student Life Center.

Every month, the Baylor Pound for Pound Challenge will hold fitness events, such as a Bingo Walk; Beach Blanket Bash; Walk, Bike and Rock event and a Kickball Fun Day, to help keep participants active and fit.

Brewster suggested for students to utilize the facilities at the SLC or get involved in any of the campus recreation programs, such as Bearobics and Bear Cycle.

"It is a great opportunity to help set a healthy lifestyle, and it doesn't have to mean losing weight if someone doesn't have any weight to lose," Brewster said. "But just so you could be part of the community and help the community with the food donations that they receive."

Davis thinks the challenge is the perfect way to help the community and one's health.

"You have nothing to lose, except for the weight, but you get to feed the hungry; it is a win-win situation," Davis said.