Dropping the weight, getting healthy

The 2015 Top-10 Slim Down Challenge finalists for the Soza Clinic in Prairieville were rewarded last week for their achievements.

The Soza Clinic in Prairieville is a life changer, and perhaps even a lifesaver. Just ask 10 individuals who were named finalist for achieving the most out of a 60-day Slim Down Challenge program. For the second year in a row, the Soza Clinic has started the new year with a resolution that tests faith and perseverance. And for the second year in a row, results have been proven.

Karen Sigur, owner and consultant of the Soza Clinic, said the 2015 60-day challenge started with 26 people and ended with 16. However, only the top-10 would be recognized for best achievement of lifestyle change via results of weight loss.

“Believe it or not, but the hardest thing for people in Louisiana to give up is alcohol,” Sigur said. “To go 60 days without alcohol is asking a lot for us down here.”

Sigur said Louisiana has become the number one obese state in the nation, and just the fact that she has ten finalists is a “big accomplishment.”

The 2015 Top-10 Slim Down Challenge winners were: first place Jerri Breaux with a 12.71 percent body fat loss; second place Haley Guidry with 12.08 percent; third place Martin McConnell with 12.02 percent; fourth place Kelli Firmin with 11.24 percent; fifth place Carolyn Collins with 10.55 percent; sixth place Lynelle Johnson with 10.45 percent; seventh place Lexie Breaux with 10.33 percent; eighth place Monica Nickens with 9.27 percent; ninth place Tiffany Bordelon with 8.35 percent; and tenth place Connie Bourgeois with 7.64 percent body fat loss.

As a group the ten finalists combined to drop a total of 194.2 pounds and knock off 167.75 inches, which is “pretty amazing” Sigur said.

Jerri Breaux, the first place said, she came to Soza Clinic because “I needed to lose weight and I read up on it and heard it was a good program.”

“It’s great. The people here help you a lot,” Breaux said. “They give you ideas on food to cook and how to cook them to eat healthy. It’s a lot to eat so you’re never hungry.”

Breaux said she definitely learned to eat healthier and make choices to eat more vegetables and fruit versus cake and ice cream.

“The food they teach you how to cook is good. It’s not hard to follow,” Breaux said, who won a prize package valued at $2,130. “You can still eat out, and it’s not impossible to do.”

For third place winner, and the first male to finish in the top-10 McConnell it wasn’t just about dropping the weight.

In November at his annual doctor’s visit, McConnell learned his level cholesterol was at 202 and doctors prefer it under 200. Well, after completing the 60-day challenge with the Soza Clinic, his cholesterol was down to 161.

“From November to now, it dropped 40 points,” McConnell said. I’ve had a history of moderately high cholesterol, not real high. But I’ve worked over the past few years to bring it down without medication and I brought it down and my last physical in November it was at 202 and last week I had a health screening and it was down to 161. Since November, it came down 41 points. That’s phenomenal. I’ve lost 30 pounds and it was all done naturally. I’m 58 years old and it was time to clean up my act and this was a great way to kick start it.”

McConnell added: “It really has been a pretty easy diet and pretty program to follow. The staff here is really supportive and very helpful. It was tough not having booze for two months, but honestly what I think I miss most was pork. It worked really well for me though. The toughest part was for my wife figuring out how to prepare for me all the time.”