| team lean | helps create a healthier lifestyle by Katie Ketchum I t’s the holiday season and the last thing anyone wants to think about is losing weight. We just want to enjoy our favorite holiday treats and worry about weight loss in January. Vowing to lose weight is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions. According to a Cornell Univer- sity study, holiday weight gain is real. On average those extra pounds put on between Halloween and Christmas can take more than five months to lose. That is where Team Lean plays a vital role in helping people become healthier and stay account- able with weekly weigh-ins. Since its inception in 2007, the program’s goal is still the same, provide a platform for participants to create a healthier lifestyle. Team Lean is a proven program to help peo- ple lose weight and kick start longer term habits. The team concept provides accountability and motivation to work hard to achieve results, both for individuals and teams. Cash prizes provide that extra incentive to reward the teams and individ- uals that have the most success. Participants are allowed to decide what exercise and nutrition pro- gram is best for them. As the lead sponsor, the YMCA organizes the program. Weigh-in sites are set up around the community to make it convenient for everyone. In addition to the Y’s role, numerous businesses and restaurants support the program in various ways. Several local restaurants even offer special “Team 38 December 2018 - January 2019 Thomasville Scene Lean friendly” items on their menu. “Team Lean is truly a community effort. It’s been fun to see the community rally behind the program,” said Tom Everett, Thomasville YMCA CEO. This year will be the 11th season of the weight loss challenge. On average, each year over 600 health seekers begin the program in January. Ad- vantage pounds are a key component for Team Leaners to participate in healthy community ac- tivities to earn extra credit. Activities range from health screenings to boot camps to a community stair climb. There is even a “Couch to 5K” run/ walk program that is free for Team Leaners. “Ad- vantage pounds motivate participants to step out- side their comfort zone. With the added incentives, participation has increased and teams are holding each other more accountable. We want it to be more about community and less about the compe- tition,” Everett said. This will be the third year Team Live Better has been offered to Team Lean participants. This second phase is a three-month maintenance pro- gram for Team Lean participants to continue their journey towards a healthier lifestyle. Goals for the program range from those who want to continue losing weight to those who simply want to main- tain a current weight. Team Live Better includes individual goal setting for the purpose of creating long-term healthy habits.