Dawn Robinson of Wittman, a 38-year old mother of three knew she was overweight and headed down the same path as her parents, who both died young. While attending a program with her children at the YMCA of Talbot County, Robinson noticed a flyer about the YMCA’s RECLAIM Program and decided to take charge of her life. She had reached a point in her life where she could not keep up with the hectic pace of working as a nursing technician, attending college, and caring for her family in her current physical shape.
Robinson recalls, “In my application to the RECLAIM Program, I told them I had cried my eyes out because of my weight and was suffering from severe lower back pain. I also told them I needed their help to lose weight and couldn’t do it without them.”
The YMCA RECLAIM Program is a 12-week program designed to help guide, motivate and challenge participants to be the best they can be. According to Tracy Cohee, YMCA Association Wellness Director, “This is not just a weight loss program. We named it RECLAIM because it helps participants reclaim their body, mind and spirit, focusing on their own health again.”
Participants are selected to the program based on their essays/applications outlining why they want to do this program. Once in the program, the YMCA provides three individualized personal training sessions with a certified personal trainer, an individual nutrition consultation, two biometric assessments including body fat analysis, chest, waist, hip circumference, cardio-respiratory endurance, strength and flexibility assessments, weekly weigh-in for accountability, weekly cardio, strength and nutrition challenges, and special group challenges.
Cohee comments, “This program is not a silver bullet. The participants need to put in the hard work to reap the good results.”
For Robinson, this meant facing the shame of failing at exercises initially, committing to a food program where she cut out sugar and carbohydrates, and trying new ways of getting active, like the Zumba class she does once a week. She committed herself to weight training and a cardio-vascular workout at the YMCA three times a week. The results were astonishing. Over the course of 12 weeks, Robinson lost 23 ½ inches, 16 percent body fat, and 28 ½ pounds, earning her awards in three categories in the program.
Robinson explains, “My YMCA trainer Sarah Hutchison Cohoon was with me from start to finish. I had access to her throughout the program. She was so supportive of me.” She adds, “My husband and family have also been very supportive of me and are very proud of my progress. I have gone down three sizes in my clothes, but more importantly, I have more energy and I care more about myself.”
Cohee adds, “Throughout the 12-week process, it’s very interesting to see people get active and find their motivation for the program. Many of the participants had a sedentary lifestyle when they came to us.”
Robinson adds, “I wanted to do this for me. I knew if I did, I could be there for my children in the future and grow old with my husband.”
According to Cohee, the 22 participants in the YMCA RECLAIM program lost a total of 351.71 pounds, with an average loss of 16 pounds per person. The YMCA of Talbot County is accepting applications for the next RECLAIM class through August 28. In order to be accepted into the program, applications are reviewed by the YMCA Wellness staff. The 12-week program runs from September 14 through December 7. The cost is $175 for YMCA members. Financial assistance is available to those with a demonstrated need and who have completed the Open Doors application. For further information, contact Tracy Cohee at 410-822-0566.