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Avoiding Holiday Weight a Piece of Cake with YMCA Program

Participants of the Holiday Trimmings program commit to maintaining or losing weight from Thanksgiving through early January, with the chance to win several prizes.

While many struggle with weight gain over the holiday season, the YMCA offers a program to help individuals maintain or lose weight during a time when sweets, hearty meals and flowing drinks are just part of the Christmas cheer.

"The accountability is key for me," participant Jean Bieszk said in an e-mail to Patch. "Knowing I need to weigh in with someone after I committed to not gaining weight over the holidays is good motivator for me."

Wellness Program Manager Erica Richman said the Holiday Trimmings challenge is a Milwaukee Association-wide program that also raises money for the Y.

"The average American gains 5 pounds over the holidays, according to the New England Journal of Medicine," Richman said in an e-mail to Patch. "The average Holiday Participant will lose 2.9 lbs over the 6-week challenge, according to our statistics."

Bieszk, who said she loves a good competition, also looks at the program as a good way to start off the new year on a positive note.

"I had triplets 2 years ago, and I really want to take the weight off," she said. "I know losing weight over the holidays will be very difficult for me, but I definitely do not want to gain and start the new year with even more to lose."

Participation in the program is a minimum $10 donation, with all of the money going towards the Y's Annual Campaign, Richman said.

"In 2012, we had 115 members and staff participant and raised $1,370 at just the Feith Family YMCA alone," Richman said. "Across the Milwaukee Association of YMCAs, we raised over $10,000 in 2012, which is double what we raised in 2011."

Participants have a final weigh-in the week of Jan. 1 to Jan. 7, and earn raffle tickets for losing weight as well as maintaining weight. "Prizes included free month membership, free kit locker service for a month, free personal training, free TRX session, and a free photography session for Dawn Geis photography out of Fredonia donated to us by Dawn Geis," Richman said.

Learn more about activities and events at the YMCA on its website.

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